Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Understanding and Creating Lists.

Understanding and Creating Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 29, 2015)

There are two types of lists commonly used in printed material. The first is a bulleted list and the second is a numbered list. A bulleted list is a nothing but a list of individual items with a symbol to the left side of the first line of each item in the list. For example, the following is a bulleted list:

  • This is the first item in the list.
  • This is the second item in the list. There is more than one line in this item. Notice that the extra lines are aligned with the line above, not with the bullet or the text margin.
  • This is the third item in the list.
  • This is the fourth item in the list.

In the case of this bulleted list, the symbol used as the "bullet" is a small dot. A numbered list is a little bit different. It consists of a series of items, each with a sequential number in front of it. Numbered lists are used extensively in WordTips to describe a sequence of steps to be followed.

This usage points out the primary way you can decide which type of list to use. If you have a sequence of steps, which must be followed in order, then you should use a numbered list. If you have a group of items to which you want special treatment given, but they don't represent a series that must be followed in sequence, then you should use a bulleted list.

Word allows you to quickly and easily create lists. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Type your list, only pressing Enter at the end of each item in the list. If an item runs more than one line, do not press Enter at the end of each line.
  2. Select all the items in the list.
  3. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click on the Bullets tool or the Numbering tool (both in the Paragraph group) depending on the type of list you want to create.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (741) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding and Creating Lists.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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