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: Following a Number with Different Characters.

Following a Number with Different Characters

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 26, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Styles group. Word displays the Styles task pane.
  2. 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.
  3. Click the down arrow and choose Modify. Word displays the Modify Style dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Modify Style dialog box.

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

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

  10. 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.
  11. Change the period to whatever you want to follow the number.
  12. Close all the dialog boxes.
  13. 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, 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: 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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