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: Following a Number with Different Characters.

Following a Number with Different Characters

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 13, 2017)


Word provides a good deal of flexibility in how you set up numbered lists. By default, the numbers that appear in a numbered list are followed by a period. If you would like to change the character that follows the number to something other than a period, it is best to use a style for the numbered paragraphs (or headings). Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Styles group. Word displays the Styles task pane.
  3. In the list of styles, hover the mouse pointer over the style whose numbering format you want to change. A down-arrow appears at the right side of the style name.
  4. Click the down arrow and choose Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.

  6. Click the Format button and choose Numbering. Word displays the Numbering and Bullets dialog box. The Numbering tab should be selected. (See Figure 2.)
  7. Figure 2. The Numbering tab of the Numbering and Bullets dialog box.

  8. Choose a numbering style from those available. You should click the one that is closest to what you want to accomplish.
  9. Click Define New Number Format. Word displays the Define New Number Format dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  10. Figure 3. The Define New Number Format dialog box.

  11. In the Number Format box, you see how the numbering will appear. You should see the first number of the series listed, followed by a period.
  12. Change the period to whatever you want to follow the number.
  13. Close all the dialog boxes.
  14. Use the style to format the paragraphs you want numbered with your customized format.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7795) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Following a Number with Different Characters.

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 5 + 9?

2017-12-13 11:40:04

Henry Noble

Unless you want the modified numbering format to become a permanent change, don't fuss with styles. Begin at step 5 in Allen's list.
If the list exists, simply right-click in the list and select Numbering from the offered actions.

2017-09-05 22:02:07

Rohn MVP

Hi Allen:
Step #1 seems to be misplaced from another tip. This tip has nothing to do with the Options dialog. First step should be display the Home tab.

Step 2, you might want to include the "proper" MS name for the minuscule icon. (Personally, I think it is a design failure. I think they should have used a standard button included with the rest of the buttons in the tab) It is actually a button, and is called the "Dialog Launcher"... (yes a Task Pane is a "modern" form of Dialog box).

2014-04-22 09:16:28


Thanks for the tip. I followed your instructions but instead of a period, my number had a right parenthesis mark. Did I do something wrong?

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