Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Turning Off Automatic Numbered Lists.

Turning Off Automatic Numbered Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 8, 2019)

One of the ways in which Word tries to help you create documents faster is by automatically applying formatting to your document, based on what you type. One incarnation of this feature is seen when Word creates automatic numbered lists for you. When you enter some text that Word thinks should be a numbered list, and then press Enter, Word formats the paragraph with a hanging indent and places an appropriate number at the beginning of it. In addition, Word assumes the next paragraph will be part of the same numbered list.

For instance, if you type a number or letter, a period, and then the Space Bar or the Tab key, Word formats the paragraph as a numbered list. If you didn't want the paragraph to be a numbered list item, you can cancel the formatting done by Word by immediately pressing Ctrl+Z after the automatic formatting is applied. If the automatic formatting bothers you a lot, you can follow these steps to turn it off:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. Clear the Automatic Numbered Lists check box.
  7. Click on 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 (6008) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Turning Off Automatic Numbered 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Comments in Endnotes

Able to add comments everywhere, except in endnotes? This seems to be a limitation in Word, but here are some ways to ...

Discover More

Complex Searches for Documents

When working with lots of documents, you may have need from time to time to discover which of those documents contain ...

Discover More

Conditional Calculations in Word

Word allows you to insert simple formulas, using fields, in table cells. You can also create simple conditional ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing the Types of Numbers in a Numbered List

Ever want to change the types of numbers that Word displays when you create a numbered list? There are several numbering ...

Discover More

Reverse Numbered Lists

Adding numbered lists to your document is a snap; Word provides tools to add them immediately. What Word doesn't do is ...

Discover More

Underlining Tabs In Numbered Lists

When Word creates an automatically numbered list, it removes some of your formatting flexibility. One thing you can't ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.