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: Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering.

Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2015)

47

Steve notes that Word's auto-numbering is not suitable for documents that are to be imported into page layout programs such as Adobe InDesign. He wonders if there is a quick way to replace auto-numbering with manual numbering, in the same way that you can convert field text to plain text.

The answer is yes, there is a quick way. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the document whose numbering you want to convert. (You may want to open a copy of the document so that you don't mess up the original document.)
  2. Press Alt+F11. Word displays the VBA Editor.
  3. Press Ctrl+G. This opens the Immediate window. (If you get any other type of dialog box, such as the Find and Replace dialog box, then you aren't working in the VBA Editor; you are still in Word. Close the dialog box, make sure the VBA Editor is active, and then repeat this step.)
  4. Type the following in the Immediate window:
  5. ActiveDocument.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText
    
  6. Press Enter.

That's it; all the auto-numbered lists in your document are changed to manual numbering. If, instead, you want to affect only a limited portion of the document, make sure that portion is selected before you start the steps and then use this command in step 4:

Selection.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText

For those familiar with macros, the difference here is that you are working with the Selection object (the text you have selected) instead of the ActiveDocument object (the entire document).

There are a couple of gotchas related to this approach, however. First, it may appear that your numbered lists no longer line up properly. This is because any custom tab stops set for the lists are deleted and Word reverts to using the default tab stops. This shouldn't be a huge problem, as you are doing this conversion in preparation for importing the document to a page layout program. (The tab stops in that program should take precedence over any you have set in Word.)

The second gotcha is that if you applied the auto-numbered styles using lists, then the numbering isn't really gone. You can apply it again by simply selecting the paragraphs in the lists and pressing Ctrl+Q.

If you would rather not mess with the VBA Editor, then there is another approach you can try out—save your document in RTF format. Many page layout programs (such as InDesign) use a different filter for importing RTF files, with the result that the numbered lists are converted automatically to regular numbers.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10248) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering.

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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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 8Mpixels. 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 4 + 7?

2017-07-31 21:53:33

aryafilan

Superb!


2017-07-17 13:51:36

Tyler

Worth adding for InDesign users:

Depending on your needs, you can check the "Convert bullets and numbers to text" option in the Import Options panel and the numbering will behave like an ordered list without losing the custom numbering or restarts in the Word document.


2017-06-26 14:08:38

Mark Kitzmiller

Very helpful! Thank you so much!


2017-06-13 18:04:53

Nicole

Worked like a charm. Thank you so much.


2017-06-12 19:21:59

HeidiL

This is fabulous! You just saved me a huge headache! Thanks!


2017-04-20 01:25:10

Restiyanti

It's really helpful for me & has saved me so much time!


2017-03-17 05:07:37

Mesut

Hi Allen Wyatt
Please help me
My use microsoft word 2016
How to give a single paragraph double number
example;
01.abcd
02.efgh
03-04.oprst --------- As in this example
05.jklmn

My email : mt8_mt8@hotmail.com


2017-01-11 17:04:08

Anita

i am writing a very long ducument with lots of headings, but the first one is always indenting or hanging, what do i do?


2017-01-09 17:09:39

Janine

Can't thank you enough. Had an urgent contract to deal with and numbering was driving me insane.


2017-01-05 07:51:09

Johann Swart

What happens to hyperlinked cross-references that refer to numbered paragraphs (e.g. "Refer to § 3.2.1) when auto numbers are converted to manual numbers?


2016-12-30 13:09:43

Kevin Pewterbaugh

Thank you. That was painless. Automatic numbering can be annoying. Thanks, again.


2016-11-23 07:47:33

Fred

I am translating a huge patent document with a CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) software - specifically Wordfast Classic. Paragraph numbering was constantly disappearing and driving me mad... This trick solved my problem in a minute!!! Loads of thanks!
Note: do you have some tipping service for sending you a small donation? Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency would be convenient for payment.


2016-11-16 11:26:26

Zoe

Thank you!!!!!!!!


2016-11-01 09:36:50

Huub Stegeman

You're my hero for the day (and many days to come)!


2016-10-24 03:11:29

Amin

Amazing


2016-10-02 17:41:41

Karl Borden

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

You have just saved me ENDLESS hours of frustration on a feature that has plagued me for years!!


2016-10-02 16:02:03

Rusty

This saved me..!! Worked perfectly.


2016-09-03 21:42:46

adrian byram

Hey -- super slick !!

Thank you


2016-07-22 07:30:33

Joan S.

Brilliant!

Thank you! You just saved me hours of work!


2016-07-05 10:15:15

Marc

Worked perfect. Thanks for sharing!


2016-07-04 06:30:36

Max

Thanks so much for this, very helpful.


2016-07-01 20:14:22

David

Absolutely brilliant. This will save me many hours of tedious work and thus much money! You, sir, are a genius!


2016-05-20 09:19:59

Ana Teixeira

This is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much.


2016-05-19 12:39:47

Riyaz Mohamed

Hi
Anyone pls help me to convert automatic list to normal list except bullet lists in a document.

Thanks in advance


2016-04-26 02:23:19

Sethuram

Thanks.
My doc with table could not be sorted as the auto line numbers, which are my reference and unique to the data in the line were not part of the line

I appreciate.


2016-04-22 04:30:54

Rudhra

Thanks a lot!! Saved my time much!


2016-04-22 03:00:52

Ara

Great. Thank


2016-04-07 18:01:42

Lee

Saved me again! Can't thank you enough!


2016-02-09 17:24:49

Charlie

Absolutely brilliant! Thank you.


2016-02-06 20:07:37

Andrew

Brilliant. Has saved me a ton of time. Thanks.


2016-02-04 09:43:45

Bob Harshaw

My Bad! I had tried the convert the doc to RTF per suggestion (did not work). Loaded the RTF version NOT the Word.doc version. Works like a charm with a native word file. You are the MAN Allen - kudos and thanks!


2016-02-04 09:35:15

Bob Harshaw

I follow the steps as noted: VB opens, Immediate window opens, I type the text exactly as directed (ActiveDocument.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText) BUT... when I press "Enter" it give me a new line in the Immediate window - does NOT run the command! (Using Word 2013). What am I doing wrong?


2015-12-17 06:50:58

Sus

Superb

saved me


2015-11-08 16:51:25

Goober Sto

You're a genius! Thx!!


2015-10-27 07:27:34

Danny

Thank you so much... you are a god


2015-10-20 14:18:46

barrney

This was awesome. Quick and very easy. Thank you so much!


2015-10-13 15:21:43

Wow

Hi,

For me it just moves the cursor una line down.
Any solutions?

Thank you so much in advance.


2015-08-19 06:20:41

Philcasty

That's awsome! You r a Gee....!!


2015-08-01 05:36:39

Lily Riza

Thank you very much. Tremendously helpful.


2015-07-24 06:55:57

Ondrej

Thanks a lot! This is great. :)


2015-07-17 11:09:38

HC

Allen, I hope there is an answer for this. Suppose I want to have this numbering:
1.Top 1
1.1 sub 1.1
1.2 sub 1.2
...
2.Top 2
2.1 sub 2.1
2.2 sub 2.2
...

WinWord does not provide Topic-Subtopic number inheretance.

Anyway to achieve it?

Thank you in advance.


2015-07-13 15:07:09

Sherri

This quick fix worked great for me! I had to quickly renumber 600+ auto numbers to be used in a mailmerge. Beautiful! I am adding it to my bag of tricks.


2015-07-08 07:22:30

PatentGoblin

Great worked for me!!


2015-07-07 22:33:22

Arnie

Extremely helpful, thanks!


2015-05-28 00:46:54

Ken Endacott

The ConvertNumbersToText command is not selective and will convert all types of numbering and bulleting. At times it is desirable to only convert or remove one type of numbering, for example a document may have satisfactory outline numbering but chaotic list numbering.

The macro ConvertOrRemoveNumbering will convert numbering and/or bullets to text or alternatively remove them for all selected paragraphs (to select the whole document press CTRL + A). Set the values of IncludeOutline, IncludeList and IncludeBullets to True or False as required. Also set RemoveSw to False to convert to text or True to remove numbering and/or bulleting.

However, if the style of a paragraph has numbering or bulleting attributes then re-applying the style will re-introduce numbering or bulleting and if the numbering had been converted rather than deleted then two numbers will appear. If you don’t want this to happen then you need to remove the numbering from the styles after the conversion to text. The RestoreStyles macro will re-apply styles for the selected paragraphs.

Removing and re-applying can be used to advantage where a document has a messy combination of style, list numbering and bulleting. It will give a “clean” copy that has only numbering and bulleting from styles.

Sub ConvertOrRemoveNumbering()
Dim j As Long
Dim jcount As Long
Dim k As Long
Dim nP As Long
Dim aRange As Range
Dim bRange As Range
Dim aPara As Paragraph

' ---- set constants for type of numbering -----
Const IncludeOutline = True
Const IncludeList = True
Const IncludeBullets = False

' ---- RemoveSW = True to remove, False to convert to text ---
Const RemoveSW = False

Set aRange = Selection.Range
Set bRange = Selection.Range
jcount = 0
' --- paragraphs in reverse order to preserve numbering ---
k = aRange.Paragraphs.Count
j = k
Do
Set aPara = aRange.Paragraphs(j)
nP = aPara.Range.ListFormat.ListType
If nP = 1 Then
If Selection.Paragraphs(1).Range.ListParagraphs.Count <> 1 Then nP = 0
End If
If nP = (IncludeList And (nP = 1 Or nP = 3)) Or _
(IncludeOutline And nP = 4) Or (IncludeBullets And (nP = 2 Or nP = 5)) Then
aPara.Range.Select
If RemoveSW = True Then
Selection.Range.ListFormat.RemoveNumbers NumberType:=wdNumberAllNumbers
Else
Selection.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText NumberType:=wdNumberAllNumbers
End If
jcount = jcount + 1
End If
nextPara:
j = j - 1
Loop Until j < 1

bRange.Select
Selection.Start = Selection.Paragraphs(1).Range.Start
If RemoveSW Then
MsgBox jcount & " numbers/bullets removed"
Else
MsgBox jcount & " numbers/bullets converted to text"
End If
End Sub


Sub RestoreStyles()
Dim aPara As Paragraph
For Each aPara In Selection.Range.Paragraphs
aPara.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles(aPara.Style)
Next aPara
End Sub


2015-05-18 07:48:02

Avi

10x!


2015-04-22 07:45:58

Cecile

I love you!!! This tip has saved me so much time!


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