Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Creating a List.

Creating a List

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 12, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you want to add lists to your document, Word allows you to do so quite easily. 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 (let the text wrap to the next line automatically).
  2. Select all the items in the list.
  3. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is visible.
  4. To create a numbered list, click the Numbering tool in the Paragraph group.
  5. To create a bulleted list, click the Bullets tool in the Paragraph group.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5917) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating a List.

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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What is 1 + 1?

2020-01-02 08:53:37

Malcolm Patterson

Another option is even better: after selecting all paragraphs of the list, apply the appropriate list paragraph style, e.g., List Number or List Bullet. Even if these styles do not appear in the Style Gallery, they can be accessed through the Apply Styles dialog window (Ctrl+Shift+S) or the Styles dialog window (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S). This way, if you decide that you want to change the indentation or spacing between paragraphs, modifying the paragraph style will apply the change uniformly for every such paragraph in the document.

2017-03-12 08:56:15

Lee Batchelor

Wow, thanks Moray!
- Lee

2017-03-11 12:59:41


Lee asks if someone could write a macro to control numbered and bullet lists. Oh, they have! See
'How to cure Word's List Numbering with a dose of VBA' - now at

The macro you're looking for is at

I've been creating list templates with versions of this macro for years now, and the lists are rock solid. Also, with VBA you can modify a list so easily, and it doesn't create a new list template; when you work with the list galleries, every single change you make creates a new list template. You can't delete a list template, even with VBA, so it's easy to get lots and lots in a document.

Good luck with this.

2016-05-24 07:52:16

Lee Batchelor

Glad to help, Lisa. I know about the Word Uservoice website and have left several comments about bugs and requests for fixes in Word 2010. So far, all requests for any version earlier than Word 2016 are totally ignored--unless something has changed. I guess there's no money in it for MS when they must devote their precious engineering time to fixing past errors. The multilevel lists are more stable but very convoluted to set up.

I've often thought it would be excellent if someone could write a macro that controls numbered and bullet lists. The whole MS code that controls these items is broken. I once spoke with an MS MVP who had sat in on the initial development meetings for lists. The engineers so much as admitted they couldn't get them right.

For me, Word is like the Dodge Minivan. When Dodge first came out with the minivan in the early 80s, the other companies "pushed" out their crappy versions in an attempt to compete. They never did catch up. Honda and Toyota took their time, and when their product was ready, they had a couple winners. I think Word was excellent when it first cam out, but to stay ahead of competition, MS has "added on rooms." They should have copied Honda and Toyota by starting from scratch and building a word processor that works. As a replacement to the typewriter, it's fine. For professional level work, it's way behind the times and full of bugs and issues.

2016-05-23 10:42:02


Lee, thanks for that tip. I have a terrible time with indents changing and with the bullet or number disappearing when I do something as simple as deleting an extra carriage return after that bullet. It's really annoying. At least now I can fix the indents better than before.

There's a site that collects feedback on Word: . I guess it can't hurt to say something there or vote for an entry that's already there.

2016-05-21 08:07:09

Lee Batchelor

You forgot to mention that you can save the list to a style. After you store the list to a style, the indents can be adjusted in the Paragraph modification dialog box, but they don't stick. Heaven only knows why MS has never fixed this most annoying bug. To make indents stick, you must use the list indent tool after right-clicking a line in the list. Then you must re-save the style and hope the indents work. Often they change on their own. FrameMaker and other word processing software don't have this annoying bug.

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