Word Numbered List tricks

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Word numbered lists can do a lot more than simple 1, 2, 3 so here we’ll show you some better (1st, 2nd) and maybe unusual options (First Level, Second Place etc).

All these and more are possible with Microsoft Word’s numbering plus a little knowledge and cunning.

Numbering controls are spread across several different dialog boxes accessed from different parts of Word.  It’s quite possible there are options you never knew were available, so we’ll go through them all and what they do.

Selecting some text and clicking the Numbering button on the Home tab will give you a simple numbered list.

The pull-down gallery shows you recently used options plus a gallery of Redmond suggestions.

So far, so obvious but, as is often the case in Word, the fun is in the deeper settings.  Look at the bottom of the Numbering Gallery.

Define New Number Format

This is where numbered lists get interesting.  It has some, but not all, the numbering options.

Number Style aka beyond digits

Pull down the list to see the numbering options available:

  • 1, 2, 3
  • I, II, III
  • i, ii, iii
  • A, B, C
  • a, b, c
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • One, Two, Three
  • First, Second, Third
  • 01, 02, 03
  • 001, 002, 003
  • 0001, 0002, 0003
  • 00001, 00002, 00003

You might have others for different languages at the bottom of the list on your computer.


Sets the font and options for the number text but not the main text after the numbering, which can be quite different.

Number Format

Add text before and after the numbering.

Here’s some examples of what you can do:

(this example shows a problem when changing the numbering format, fix this in the Adjust List Indents dialog).


Numbering in tables

Numbering can be used inside tables.

More about Word’s numbered lists

Hidden Numbering options in Word

Need more Word numbering options?

Faster Numbered and Multi-Level Level changes

Word 2016: how to check for missed numbering or levels

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