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Choosing Where to Start List Numbering

You might want to start a particular ordered list's numbering somewhere other than 1 (which is the default).

To determine the initial value of an entire list's numbering scheme:

Within the ol tag, type start="n", where n represents the initial value for the list.

To change the numbering of a given list item:

In the desired li item, type value="n", where n represents the value for this list item. The value is always specified numerically and is converted automatically by the browser to the type of marker specified with CSS or with the type attribute (see page 218).


  • By default, all lists start at 1.

  • The value attribute overrides the start value.

  • When you change a given list item's number with the value attribute, the subsequent list items are also renumbered accordingly.

  • Unfortunately, the W3C has deprecated both the start and value attributes without offering a CSS alternative. If you need them, just be sure to use the proper (transitional) DOCTYPE (see pages 40 and 56).

  • The start value is always numeric regardless of the numbering scheme. For more on choosing number styles for markers, see page 218.

Figure 15.8. In this example, I've omitted some steps but want to maintain the original numbering. So I start the whole list at 2 (with start="2") and then set the value of the third item to 5 (with value="5").

Figure 15.9. Notice that not only are the first and third items numbered as we've specified, but the third item ("Plug in the lamp") is also affected.

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