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Microsoft Word Tutorial - Numbering

Improve Your Writing! Microsoft Style Guide For Technical Publications

What You Will Learn

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Use Automatic Lists

  • Apply and Remove Numbers

  • Continue Numbering from a Previous List

  • Customize a Numbering Scheme

  • Apply Outline (Multi-Level) Numbering

  • Customize Outline Number Formats

  • Share Customizations to Number Formats

  • Combine Numbering with Styles

  • Troubleshoot Problems with Numbering and Apply Common Legal Numbering Customizations

Numbering Overview
Law firms use numbered lists daily to prepare contracts, pleadings, letters and memos. Word makes activating and customizing numbering fairly straightforward. You can create simple numbered lists, such as A, B, C and 1, 2, 3. You can also customize these lists to setup specific numbering styles for your firm and practice group. Multilevel lists such as I, A, 1 are handled through Word's Outline Numbering feature, which is explained later in this chapter. Many firms rely on outline numbered lists to draw up contracts and pleadings. Like numbered lists, outline numbered lists can be customized.

TIP - Microsoft strongly recommends that you link your numbering to styles. The importance of this will be very apparent during the Outline Numbered section. Also, there is more information on the importance of styles when working with numbering in the Styles chapter.

Automatic Numbered Lists
One of the easiest ways to begin applying numbers is by starting to type a numbered list. Word recognizes that you are creating a list and responds accordingly by converting text that you type into numbered items. The number scheme, delimiter characters that mark the beginning or end of a unit of data and formatting are all based on what you have typed.

NOTE - Word does not convert typing to an automatic numbered list if the AutoFormat option is not activated. From the Tools menu, choose AutoCorrect. Select the AutoFormat As You Type tab, and check the option for Automatic numbered lists.

Practice: Apply Automatic Numbers

1. Create a new blank document.

2. Type the number 1 on the first line, followed by a period, and then press the SPACEBAR or the TAB key.

3. Type some text and press ENTER. Word converts the manually typed number into an auto number and adds the next sequential number to the beginning of your new paragraph.

4. Press BACKSPACE to remove the automatic number.

If you start to type in what appears to be a numbered list, Word formats your manually typed ¡°numbers¡± to an automatic numbered list. The main benefit of this option is that you do not need to click any button to start numbering and you can choose your numbering style as well. For example, if you type ¡°(a) some text¡± and press Enter, it starts numbering using the ¡°(a)¡± format.

Unintentional Results with Automatic Numbering
Some drawbacks to this feature are that you lose a little control when you are typing. Word formats for you and some users do not like this. Also, on certain items, you will get a number when you do not expect or need one. For example, you have an attorney whose name begins with an initial (A. George Smith). When you type the name and press ENTER, the first initial A. converts to an automatic number.

Practice: Unintentionally Apply Automatic Numbers

1. On a blank line, type A. George Smith.

2. Press ENTER. The name A. George Smith is converted to an automatic number and the next sequential number (B) is placed on the next line.

3. From the Edit menu, choose Undo (or CTRL+Z). This will undo the automatic numbering formatting.

Simple Numbered Lists
If the list you want is as simple as 1, 2, 3, you'll appreciate how easy it is to apply this type of numbering in legal documents. Simple numbered lists are different in Word 2000 than they were in Word 97. In Word 2000, the default for even the most basic list is multi-level. For example, if you number an item and press Enter and then press the TAB key, Word automatically formats this number as the second level in an outline numbered list format. Single and multi-level numbering are explained later in this chapter.

Applying Basic Number Format
The fastest way to get numbers into your document is to click the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar. This button gives you either Word's default numbering scheme in your document (1, 2, 3) or the last numbering scheme used during this session of Word.

You can also apply numbers by using a menu command. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering. There are different advantages to both. The following exercises show how to use each method to applying basic numbers to a list.

Practice: Use the Numbering Toolbar Button

1. Click the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar. An automatic number appears.

2. Type some text and press ENTER.

3. Type several additional items pressing ENTER after each item. You now have a numbered list in your document.

4. Press ENTER twice to turn off numbering.

5. Click the Numbering button to continue with the next sequential number in the list.

6. Select the list that you just typed.

7. Click the Numbering button to turn off numbering.

8. Click the Numbering button again to turn numbering back on. The Numbering toolbar button acts as a toggle.

9. Turn off Numbering and leave the document open for the next exercise.

If you need more numbering options, you can use a menu command to choose different number formats such as A, B, C.

The numbered tab contains seven default gallery positions for numbers, each of which can be customized.

Practice: Use the Menu Command To Apply Basic Numbering

1. Select the list from the previous exercise. It should contain items without numbers applied.

2. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering, and select the Numbered tab.

3. Select the number format that you want and click OK.

4. Close the document without saving.

Turning Off Numbering
You may want to start and stop numbering while you are creating your list. The numbering button acts as a toggle, which means it is used to turn on and off the numbering. All you have to do is click inside the paragraph where you want to turn numbering on or off and click the Numbering button.

To stop Word from numbering additional paragraphs:

With the insertion point in the paragraph that you do not want numbered, click the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar.
Press ENTER twice at the end of a numbered list.

WARNING - Some people like to use BACKSPACE to remove numbering. This method does remove the number but leaves the cursor indented to whichever level you happened to be in, especially in Outline Numbered paragraphs. The two methods mentioned above will remove the number and restore your cursor to the left margin.

Continue the Numbered List
In a legal document, it's rare for every paragraph in the document to be numbered. Usually, you change between numbered paragraphs and non-numbered (plain) paragraphs of text. When Word sees you switching between these types of formats, it usually tries to help by restarting your numbered list back at 1 (or the first value of your list, such as A). There are a few different ways to make the number follow the last number of your paragraphs. In Word, this is called Continue from Previous List.

Practice: Continue from Previous List

1. Create a new document.

2. Click the Numbering button.

3. Type Send Fax and press ENTER.

4. Type File Motion and press ENTER.

5. Type Call Opposing Counsel and press ENTER. 

6. Click the Numbering button to turn off numbers.

7. Type John Smith 555-1234 and press ENTER.

8. Type In the office from 12-3pm and press ENTER. You are now ready to add more numbered items to the document.

9. Click the Numbering button to turn on numbering.

10. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering. The Format Numbering dialog box displays.

11. Choose Continue previous list (at the bottom of the dialog box).

12. Click OK.

Restart Numbering
You can use the same technique to restart a numbered list back at the first number as you did to continue with the previous list. In the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, choose Restart numbering, and then click OK.

Lining Up Non-Numbered Text With a Line Break
If you want to add more lines of text under the first line of a numbered paragraph and you would like to line the text up, one solution is to insert a line break. A line break gives you a new line without a new paragraph. In WordPerfect, this is called a soft return. To get a line break, press SHIFT+ENTER.

Practice: Insert a Line Break After a Numbered List

1. In a new document, click the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar.

2. Type Judge and press ENTER.

3. Type Jury and press ENTER.

4. Click the mouse after the word Judge.

5. Press SHIFT+ENTER. The new line of text is aligned under the text but without a number.

Customizing Numbering
When you choose a numbering format or use Word's default, it not only provides you with numbering settings (1,2,3 or A,B,C, etc), you also receive other formatting as well such as indents and tabs. In order to satisfy different user's styles of numbering, you may need to customize the list accordingly.

Word provides numerous formatting options for numbered lists.

NOTE - Most of the formatting to numbered lists needs to be done from within the Bullets & Numbering dialog box. Otherwise, any change you make will only apply to the one paragraph instead of the entire list. The following table describes each of the items in the Customize dialog box and the function of each feature.

Number Format

Allows you to add text and punctuation to your number. For example, you can add parenthesis around the number or add a period. Even add the word INTERROGATORY if you want.

Number Style

Choose number formats such as 1, 2, 3 or I, II, III.

Start At

Determines what value the list should start at. For example, this document may be an addendum to another document and should start numbering at 25.

Number Position

This affects how numbers line up in a document, whether they are right, left, or center aligned. For example, you may want decimals to align for lists with double-digit numbering and thus would choose Right alignment. Settings in this area do not affect the text however.

Aligned At

This setting defines how far from the left margin the number should be aligned. This is similar to First Line Indent formatting.

Text Position

This setting is where you specify where you want the text on all subsequent lines to align (using the left margin). This feature is similar to a Hanging Indent.

Practice: Change Indents

1. Create a new document.

2. Type =RAND() and press ENTER to put three paragraphs of random text into the document.

3. Select all of the text. To do this quickly, you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+A.

4. Click the Numbering button. Notice that the number appears at the margin and the text is aligned at 0.25 inches.

NOTE - Make sure that your cursor is positioned within at least one numbered paragraph. It is not necessary to have all paragraphs selected for the next step.

5. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering. The Bullets and Numbering dialog box displays.

6. Click Customize.

7. In the Number position section, set Aligned at to 0.5. You can either type 0.5 or increase the number in the spin box by using the up arrow.

8. Under Text position, type 0 in the Indent at section.

9. Click OK to apply the changes made to your numbered list.

The number is now indented and the paragraph text wraps to the margin.

NOTE - When you customize a number scheme, Word replaces the original numbering scheme in the Numbered tab of the Bullets and Numbering dialog box. To return to Word's default numbering schemes, click Reset.

Outline (Multi Level) Numbering
Understanding outline numbering and how outline numbering interacts with styles is crucial to your success in using Word with legal documents. Basic outline numbering can be handled much the same way as bullets and numbering. Seven default outline numbered lists come with Word. Three of the lists format the paragraphs with outline numbers. These lists are in the top row of the dialog box. The remaining four format the paragraphs with outline numbers and apply heading styles to the paragraphs and can be found in the bottom row.

To select outline numbering without changing the formatting of the paragraph, make sure that you select an outline numbered list that is not linked to the Heading Styles feature. Microsoft strongly recommends using numbering that is linked to styles. For more information on using styles in Word, see the Styles chapter.

The seven schemes displayed are in a gallery with each numbering scheme occupying a gallery position.

Word includes seven default outline-numbering styles.

Applying Outline Numbers
In Word 97, outline numbering will not apply automatically as you type. You apply outline numbering from the Format menu by choosing Bullets and Numbering and then selecting the Outline Numbered tab.

In Word 2000, when you begin a numbered list, it is an Outline Numbered list by default. Therefore, you do not need to go into the Bullets & Numbering command unless you plan on changing the default scheme.

If you know in advance that you need outline numbering for your paragraphs, you will want to choose the correct format from the Bullets and Numbering dialog box. Applying one of the preset formats to a paragraph or paragraphs that are already bulleted or numbered applies it to the entire list. There is a specific tab for outline numbers - the Outlined Numbered tab.

Once outline numbers are applied to paragraphs, use the TAB key, or the Increase or Decrease Indent toolbar buttons to advance to different levels within the outline numbered style.

Practice: Apply Outline Numbers in Word 97

1. Create a new document.

2. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering.

3. Select the Outline Numbered tab.

4. Select an option from the top row of the seven gallery positions.

5. Click OK.

6. Type text and press ENTER. A new number should appear.

7. To move to the next outline numbered level, press TAB.

8. Type additional text and press ENTER. Word continues in the same level as the last item you typed.

9. Press TAB again to move to level 3.

10. Type more text and press ENTER.

11. Press SHIFT+TAB to move to the previous level.

You can use the Increase and Decrease Indent buttons to move to different outline levels as well.

NOTE - If TAB and SHIFT+TAB do not work for changing the indents for outline numbering, you probably have the option Tabs and Backspace set left Indent turned off. To change this setting, from the Tools menu, choose Options. Select the Edit tab and check the option Tabs and backspace set left indent. As an alternative to turning this option on, you can instead use ALT+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW to increase or decrease outline numbering.

Practice: Apply Outline Numbers in Word 2000

1. Create a new document.

2. Click the Numbering button to start Outline numbering. Your first level number should appear.

3. Type some text and press ENTER.

4. To move to the next outline numbered level, press TAB.

5. Type additional text and press ENTER. Word continues in the same level as the last item you typed.

6. Press TAB again to move to level 3.

7. Type more text and press ENTER.

8. Press SHIFT+TAB to move to the previous level.

To choose a different numbering scheme, you will need to go into the Bullets & Numbering dialog box.

Unexpected Results With Applying Outline Numbers in Word 2000
Since Word 2000 applies outline numbering by default, as you press TAB or SHIFT+TAB in a numbered list, you are moved to the next or previous outline level. If you are in a numbered list that has outline numbering generated by the method described in the previous exercise, when you choose Bullets and Numbering from the Format menu (or alternate-click a portion of the numbered list), the Numbered tab appears on the Bullets and Numbering dialog box. However, if you first select the entire list and choose Bullets and Numbering from the Format menu, the Outline Numbered tab from the Bullets and Numbering dialog box is selected.

Practice: View Bullets and Numbering Tab While Applying Outline Numbers

1. Click in one of the numbered lines from the previous exercise.

2. Alternate-click the single numbered item and choose Bullets and Numbering from the shortcut menu. The Numbered tab is selected.

3. Click Cancel.

4. Select the entire numbered list.

5. Alternate-click the selected list and choose Bullets and Numbering from the shortcut menu. The Outline Numbered tab is selected.

To choose a different numbering scheme, you will need to go into the Bullets & Numbering dialog box.

Customize Outline Number Formats
You can use the Customize button to modify the outline numbered lists to your specifications. When you modify a list, it changes that placeholder's preset numbering format. This is how you save your customizations. You have seven presets and they are stored in the Registry key List Gallery Presets.

TIP - You can always reset your numbering formats back to Word¡¯s defaults by clicking on the Reset button in the Bullets and Numbering dialog box. You will have to reset each numbering scheme individually.

The expanded Customize Outline Numbered List Dialog Box

You are able to customize the numbering scheme at any time: before, during or after you apply it. You can customize all nine heading levels or only the levels you are planning to use. Some fields in the Customize dialog box are the same as the Numbered List Customize dialog box. The fields unique to Outline Numbers are:




Select which level you want to customize before you make any customizations.

Previous Level Number

Word will include the number from the previous level in the numbering scheme.


Click Font to make changes to the font formatting of the number.

Table 2 – Unique customization options to Outline Numbering.




More (Less)

This button toggles and either expands to show additional features in the dialog box, or contracts to show less options.

Link level to style

Attach a formatting style to a specific level of a numbering scheme not only to apply numbers, but to format text as well.

Follow number with

Specify whether a TAB, space or nothing should follow your number.

Legal style numbering

This setting allows you to set up numbering formats that use Roman and Arabic numerals together in the same list. For example, ARTICLE III changes to ARTICLE 3.

Table 3 – Options available by clicking the More button.

Practice: Customize Outline Numbering

1. Create a new document.

2. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering.

3. Select the Outline Numbered tab.

4. Select the second option on the top row. The default is 1, 1.1, 1.1.1, etc.

5. Click Customize. Level 1 should be selected. If not, select level 1 from the Level area. Figure 4 shows the Customize Outline Numbered List that is used to change number formatting, such as indents, tabs, and numbering styles.

6. In the Number format field, type Article before the number that appears in the box.

WARNING - Do not delete the number that appears in the Number Format box. If you do so accidentally, select a number style from the Number Style drop-down list to put it back. If the Overtype feature is active, this will cause the number to be easily deleted.

7. From the Number style list, select I, II, III.

8. Select 2 from the Level list.

9. Click More.

10. Check the box next to Legal style numbering and I.1 will change to 1.1.

11. Select 3 from the Level list.

12. From the Number style drop-down list, select a, b, c.

13. In the Number format field, add and remove the necessary text to have the format appear as (a).

14. Customize any level that you¡¯d like and click OK to apply the numbering within your document. Article I should appear within the document since you added the word article before level 1 through customization.

15. Type Introduction on a new line and press ENTER.

16. Press TAB to change to the next level in the outline.

17. Type Definitions and press ENTER.

18. Press TAB to move to the next level (a).

19. Type Lessee and press ENTER.

20. Type Lessor and press ENTER.

21. Press SHIFT+TAB to move to the previous level (1.2).

22. Type additional text and press ENTER.

23. Press SHIFT+TAB to move to the previous level (Article II).

24. Type additional text.

25. Leave this document open for the next exercise.

Use Aligned At and Indent At to fix the indents if necessary.

NOTE - The number format 1.1, 1.1.1, etc. uses the Previous Level button to ensure that each level changes when the highest level is changed.

TIP - Outlined Numbered Lists give you the option to use numbering and bullets in the same scheme. Select the particular level, and in the Number Style field, scroll down and choose one of the bullet choices for that level.

Sharing Customizations
If you have created great numbering schemes and would like to share them with another person, it is not an easy task to copy your schemes to another machine as the schemes are registry settings and difficult for the typical user to get to. If you open a document with the scheme to be saved, it is easy to add and save the scheme for you to use.

Practice: Share a Numbering Scheme with Someone Else

Send the document that contains the numbering scheme to another person. If you have received a document and you want to save the numbering scheme to your computer, simply open the document.

1. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering, and then select the appropriate numbering tab.

2. Click Customize.

3. Click Cancel.

4. Click OK. This tricks Word into saving the numbering scheme into your computer registry.

The next time you go into the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, the saved scheme appears as an item on either the Numbered tab or the Outline Numbered tab.

NOTE - Don't try to understand the Registry. This is something that the typical user should not venture into, as inadvertent changes can cause serious problems with your computer.

WARNING - Making even minor changes to an outline numbering scheme won't necessarily change the initial position you've selected in the gallery, but rather may create a new gallery position, overwriting an existing one. Because of this problem, attaching numbering to styles is strongly recommended. This is covered in greater detail later in this chapter and in the chapter on Styles.

Combine Numbering With Styles
Outline Numbering becomes much more powerful when you attach styles to each level. Styles provide the text formatting while outline numbering provides the numbering format. Together, you can save yourself a great deal of time.

For example, you would like to have your first level of numbering to be Bold and Centered. In the previous section, you experienced that when you used Outline Numbering alone, you had to format each paragraph individually to be centered. When you use styles, the centering takes place automatically once you have defined the style to be centered.

Word comes with some default Outline Numbering schemes that already have Styles attached but that does not mean you are only limited to those styles or those schemes. For more information on styles, see the chapter on Styles.

Practice: Use Styles with Numbering

1. Create a new document.

2. From the Format menu, choose Bullets and Numbering, and then select the Outline Numbered tab.

3. Notice the bottom row of schemes. Beside each level you should see Heading1, Heading 2, etc. These are numbering templates with Word styles already attached.

4. Choose the first option in the bottom row.

5. Click Customize. Notice in the Preview area, there is a style listed beside each level.

6. Expand the Customize dialog box by clicking More.

7. Customize any of the levels as you see fit.

8. For each level, there is a ¡°Link Level to Style¡± drop down list.

You can choose any style you would like to use from this list.

NOTE - You can only use a style once in each Numbering scheme.

9. Click OK. The Article I paragraph number appears in your document, along with the formatting of Heading 1.

10. Type some text beside the number and press ENTER.

11. The new paragraph is formatted with Normal style in case you would like to type a non-numbered paragraph of text.

12. Press CTRL+ALT+2 to put the second level of numbering into the document.

TIP - You can use these shortcut keys, the numbering button or the Style dialog box in the Format menu to apply the correct numbering level. You can also apply numbering that is linked to heading styles by clicking the Style box drop-down arrow.

13. Type more text and press ENTER. Notice the text formatting that applies along with the paragraph number.

14. CTRL+ALT+1 will give you another Level 1 heading/number. Type more text and press ENTER.

15. Continue until you have a variety of numbered paragraphs containing styles.

16. Close the document. You do not need to save.

For information on changing the format of your text, see the Using Styles chapter.

TIP - You can also use ALT+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW and ALT+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW to promote and demote your outline levels, respectively. If these keyboard shortcuts don't work, try TAB and SHIFT+TAB.

Numbering Items Within A Paragraph
If you need to apply numbering within a paragraph rather than to the entire paragraph, you use Word's ListNum feature. Using the ListNum feature will allow you to take advantage of the numbering system you're currently using in your document (it will use the one you implemented most recently if you're not currently using a numbering system).

Practice: Number Items Within a Paragraph

1. Start a new blank document.

2. Type Please include the following information with your application and press the SPACEBAR.

3. Press ALT+CTRL+L to insert the ListNum field.

4. To change the level of the ListNum field, select the number and press the TAB key. Continue to press TAB or SHIFT+TAB to increase or decrease the level of the field.

NOTE - If Tabs and Backspace Set Left Indent are turned off, press ALT+ SHIFT+Right arrow or ALT+SHIFT+Left arrow to change the level of the ListNum field.

5. Press the SPACEBAR after the number and type passport. Press the SPACEBAR.

6. Press ALT+CTRL+L to insert another ListNum field.

7. Press the SPACEBAR after the number, type driver¡¯s license, and press the SPACEBAR.

8. Press ALT+CTRL+L to insert another ListNum field.

9. Press the SPACEBAR after the number and type law degree.

10. Close the document. You do not need to save.

You may wonder whether typing 1, 2, and 3 would be easier than using the ListNum field. Although doing that may be easier initially, the value of using the ListNum field becomes apparent when you cut and paste. When a paragraph contains multiple numbered items that you move or delete, Word automatically updates the ListNum fields. Using ListNum fields assures you of accurate numbering within a paragraph throughout the document.

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