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: Lining Up Numbered List Numbers.

Lining Up Numbered List Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 3, 2015)


You already know how to create a numbered list using the built-in tools provided by Word. If you create a numbered list that has more than nine items in it, you may notice that your numbers for each item do not line up properly. For instance, the numbers are not lined up on the decimal point as you might expect. This condition is easy enough to fix; follow these steps:

  1. Select all of the items in the numbered list.
  2. On the Home tab of the ribbon, click the drop-down arrow at the right of the Numbering tool in the Paragraph group. Word displays a palette of options.
  3. Click the Define New Number Format option. Word displays the Define New Number Format dialog box, and all the options in the dialog box should match whatever was set in the numbered list you selected in step 1. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Define New Number Format dialog box.

  5. Using the Alignment drop-down list, choose Right.
  6. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6003) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Lining Up Numbered List Numbers.

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 six more than 8?

2016-07-15 16:05:31

Mary Jo Koranda

It worked perfectly on one section. When I tried it on another section, the option "define new number format" is greyed out. I tried closing the document and reopening to correct the second section but it still was grayed out.

2016-07-10 03:34:26


Brilliant thanks!

2016-05-23 07:08:00


I was getting frustrated with this, thank you for the answer, it was so easy in the end!

2016-03-29 13:20:32


Thank you!

This was wonderful and so easy and clear to understand!

2016-01-22 19:57:38

Douglas Mossman

Thank you. This was clear and very helpful.

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