WORD: Adding numbered lists into Word

This page gives basic instuctions on how to create a numbered point list in Microsoft Word.  There are more advanced numbered lists but these are not covered here.

What is a numbered list?

Quite simply it is a list of items where it is formatted with numbers – like this:-

  1. Item one
  2. Item two
  3. Blah blah

The above is a correctly formatted bulleted list.  Whatever you do – DO NOT – EVER – try and create it manually by putting in a few “spaces” then typing in a number then a few more spaces.  It really doesn’t work even though it may look correct!  A proper list will ensure multi-line items wrap around correctly and look professional and neat and the numbering is maintained even if you make changes.

How to get a numbered list

(This section is correct for Word 2007, but you should be able to do it similar for other programs)

KEY TIP:  It is MUCH easier to start a numbered list first , then type the contents, then finish off.  Its a bit tougher to type the contents then convert to a list afterwards.

In Word:-


  •  As per (1) Make sure you are looking at the “HOME” ribbon
  • As per (2) click the “numbered list” icon

 Once you do this, a number will appear in your document where your cursor is.

  • Type your contents for the first number, and when finished press ENTER.  You will then automatcially create a new number
  • Type the contents of the second number, and when finished press ENTER.   And repeat until you have finished the list
  • After you have created your last number and press ENTER, you will automatically create a new number.  Simply press ENTER for a second time (so this number is empty) and it will then vanish and close the numbered list for you.

Advanced Tips

Once you are happy creating simple lists, then be aware you can do the following:-

  1. If you click the “down arrow” next to the numbered list icon (2) above, you can change the style of the list and start getting clever such as changing the numbers from 1,2,3 to i, ii, iii,  A, B, C etc
    1. If you want sub-numbers like this line, then when you are about to create a new number you can use the INDENT IN/OUT icons to move the buttons in and out
      1. Like this one indented again
  2. You can use the mouse/cursor keys to move around the list and make changes and delete/insert lines.  If you delete a line and the list “splits” simply go to the “gap” and press BACKSPACE and the list will join up again (e.g. you are deleting the blank)
  3. If you highlight existing text then press the “numbered list” icon then the formatting may be all weird.  You will need to be clever with the “BACKSPACE” and “ENTER” keys to sort it out. It is possible so have a play.
  4. You can right-click any number and make changes, such as “START NUMBER AT” and “RESTART NUMBERING” and even “CONTINUE NUMBERING” to allow the numbers to take into account other lists (if you wish)