I have a RoboHelp 2015 project that uses multilevel list styles. The original project designer named the styles based on the sequence of styles defined for the level (e.g., "NumberBulletAlpha" means the style was defined to apply a number to the first level, a bullet to the second level, and an alpha character to the third level of indent). Some of the early styles were simply named "FirstLevelBullet", and only the first level was defined for this style. While most of the topics in the project use no more than three levels, many of the topics in the project use 5 levels and a few use 6. To minimize the creation of additional styles (the project already has 14), I have been defining additional styles for existing multilevel list styles.
I also discovered some time back that you can apply multiple multilevel list styles to the same list in a help topic. For example, if most of a list requires number, bullet, alpha, circle, but one part of the list requires number, bullet, alpha, roman, I can apply a "NumberBulletAlphaCircle" style to the whole list, select the part that needs to have roman at the fourth level of indent, and apply any other multilevel list style for which roman is defined for the fourth level of indent (e.g., "NumberAlphaBulletRoman").
To facilitate the process of using the existing multilevel list styles, I began renaming the styles to make them more descriptive when I defined additional styles for the list (e.g. "FirstLevelBullet" became "BulletCircleSquareNumberAlphaRoman"). When I applied the updated-and-renamed style to the topic I was working on, the system updated the topic as expected.
After a while, I noticed that some topics in the help system were using a different multilevel list style than the ones we typically use. What I determined is that, when I rename a multilevel list style, the system updates the name of the style in the Styles and Formatting list but does not update the name of the style in any topic where the style has already been applied. As a result, each time I renamed a style, I was actually breaking the list style formatting in each topic to which the style had already been applied (e.g., if 500 topics included lists to which the "FirstLevelBullet" style was applied (in whole or in part) and I changed the style's name to "BulletCircleSquareNumberAlphaRoman", the system applied the "BulletCircleSquareNumberAlphaRoman" style to the topic I was editing, and the system applied its default multilevel list style to all other locations where the "FirstLevelBullet" style was applied because that style was no longer defined in the system when I renamed it to "BulletCircleSquareNumberAlphaRoman"
That said, first, be aware that renaming a style (at least in RH2015) is equivalent to creating a new style and deleting an existing style. Second, if I still want to rename the list styles (my real question), does anyone have suggestions/recommendations? I didn't see one, but is there an RH list that can be used to report all the topics where a list is used? Thoughts on trying to use a search-and-replace to make the change?
You have answered your question. Changing a style name has always broken things in RoboHelp. Find and replace is the only solution I can readily think of.
Do back up first to avoid any further issues. I always recommend creating the backup as a zip file. That prevents you opening it accidentally and working on it before you realise it was the backup. This way you always have a clean backup that can be used to create a new clean copy time after time.