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. ...

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