I'm recreating operating manuals that were originally created on Indesign. The figure, table, etc numbering method on Indesign was continuing the numbering across chapters. I haven't yet come to the point where I'm going to merge and continue all kinds of numbering styles (page, style etc) of the documents in FM. Recently I've started to think that maybe I should use a style numbering method of x.y (chapter + numbering specific to the chapter) instead of the current method used on Indesign (just x) which does continue all of these sets across the chapters. My manuals are not the longest ones circulating around. They have something like 8-10 chapters in total, around 100-150 pages and the total number of figures will be around 200, the tables will be around 40-50 and photos will be around 20-30. Is it worth forcing myself to a numbering style of x.y instead of just using a single continued numbering of x? What would be the benefits of using a 2-dimensional coordinate system on numbers?
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From a FrameMaker (or InDesign) standpoint, if you know how to define the numbered lists and how to work with book files, both numbering styles take about the same amount of time to set up. Once in place, both are easy to control through the respective book windows, and are easy to update.
That said, the x.y style offers clarity—when the user sees a reference to Figure 3.4, they know immediately that the figure is the fourth figure in chapter three. If the reference is to Figure 20 (and also the fourth figure in chapter three), they won't have a clear idea where it falls in the book or if they are looking at that figure, where they are in the book.
Is that important to you? Only you can decide. But traditionally, that's how technical docs are numbered in both applications.
Thanks Barb, this was useful. I couldn't express it myself. I know that there isn't a "correct answer" to my question but yours at least gives me some points to present to my colleagues.