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: Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering.

Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2015)


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:


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.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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. ...


Breaking Links in Lots of Documents

Breaking document links can be a tedious chore, especially if there are lots of links and lots of documents. This tip ...

Discover More

Strange Tab Settings in Bulleted Items

Getting bulleted lists to look just right can be challenging, particularly if you are using the Bullet tool on the Home ...

Discover More

Making Ribbon Customizations Apply to All Workbooks

Excel allows you to easily make changes to the ribbon, as well as to the Quick Access Toolbar, which is near the ribbon. ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Combining First and Second Numbered Levels on One Paragraph

Want to customize your paragraph numbering in Word? There are a few tricks that can be used to automatically display the ...

Discover More

Automatic Question Numbering

Want to use Word's numbering capabilities to help you number a series of questions? Here's how to accomplish the task as ...

Discover More

Applying Numbers from the Keyboard

Creating a numbered list is often done by using the tools available on the ribbon. With a bit of preparation you can ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 seven more than 1?

2020-03-02 01:34:27



2020-01-21 05:55:24

Ken Endacott

Page numbering uses the PAGE field that is not part of the List numbering. To manually convert a page number to text select the page number and press Ctrl+Shift+F9. If he document contains only one section with single sided pages it will only be necessary to do this once. However, with a complex document it may be advantageous to use the following macro pair which will convert page numbers to text in headers, footers and the text body but not in endnotes, footnotes or in a textbox subsequent to the first textbox:

Sub ConvertPageNumbersToText()
Dim aField As Field
Dim aheadfoot As HeaderFooter
Dim aSection As Section

For Each aSection In ActiveDocument.Sections
With aSection
For Each aField In aSection.Range.Fields
If aField.Type = wdFieldPage Then Call ConvertField(aField)
Next aField

For Each aheadfoot In .Headers
For Each aField In aheadfoot.Range.Fields
If aField.Type = wdFieldPage Then Call ConvertField(aField)
Next aField
Next aheadfoot
For Each aheadfoot In .Footers
For Each aField In aheadfoot.Range.Fields
If aField.Type = wdFieldPage Then Call ConvertField(aField)
Next aField
Next aheadfoot
End With
Next aSection
MsgBox "All page numbers converted to text"
End Sub

Sub ConvertField(f As Field)
Dim s As String
s = f.Result
Selection.Text = s
End Sub

2020-01-21 01:16:15

Jim m

I tried this — but it did not work — any suggestions? — page numbers did not covert to text — thank you

2019-12-01 11:43:01


Dear Allen, this may be simple for you, but it is an absolute wonder for me (and many others, no doubt!). Your tip saved me not only dozens of hours of work, or alternatively a fortune in hiring someone to do this manually, but it saved me an incredible amount of frustration when Word (for reasons I have still to discover) once again decided to "continue numbering" in places where I had explicitly told it to "restart numbering". Since these are legal texts, the numbering never changes once it has appeared in print!
Thank you so much for this tip!

2019-11-25 18:47:06

Andrew Nielsen

You are a god. Just saying.

2019-07-02 02:58:28

Ken Endacott

Regina. What you want to do is not easy.

The steps would be:
1. Create a numbered style (or styles depending on your numbering scheme).
2. Apply the styles to your numbered paragraphs. You will then have two numbers against each paragraph. Check that the automatic and manual numbers are the same. I can guarantee that they will differ in places and some editing will be required.
3. Use Find and Replace to delete the manual numbering. You will need to use wildcards to find paragraphs starting with a numeric character then deleting all up to and including the first space (or tab) character. The automatic numbering will be ignored by F&R. The exact “Find what” command string will depend on the format you have used for the manual numbering.

The tedious part will be applying the numbered styles to the relevant paragraphs. Depending on your manual numbering format it may be possible to use Find and Replace, otherwise a macro specific to your scheme might be possible.

2019-07-01 11:35:01

Regina Killian

Is there a way to do the opposite? I have a manually numbered list in word that I need to convert to a numbered list. Can I do it without having to delete every manually entered number and selecting the Numbering button?

2019-05-28 12:55:22


This worked in Word 2016 as well. Thanks, Allen!

2019-05-12 08:27:11


You saved my day!

2018-11-20 14:43:21


Thank you, this is exactly what I needed!

2018-11-15 12:35:29


Yes!! This has saved me so much manual work!

2018-07-15 16:10:13


Wow! That was bad to the bone!! I just jipped myself out of hours of billable time but it was so worth it to preserve my sanity. Thank you!!!

2018-04-26 01:44:11

Joe Riba

Thank you so much. That is great to know. The autonumbering causes all sorts of problems once I put it into a webmerge but it is very helpful to have it working while the document is being produced

2018-04-10 11:18:11


Thank you so much for sharing this, you've saved me so much manual work!!!!

2018-03-07 08:32:32


Thanks for this piece of wizardry! :-)

2018-01-11 21:04:47

RC Stan

It is easier to suspend automatic numbering by unchecking that option under: Word Options - Proofing - AutoCorrect Options... - AutoFormat as you type - Automatic numbered lists. This way, you can selectively use automatic numbering and avoid it when it complicates formatting a section.

2018-01-11 09:21:37

Eileen Lis

You can also copy the list and paste special, no format, and it'll do the same thing.

2018-01-10 16:43:05

John Moore

Saved a lot of time! Worked perfect - Word 2016. Thanks!

2017-09-19 07:11:38


one simple tip, copy the text, paste it in excel and then copy of it again and paste in Word, it will be in table format, convert the table to text.

2017-09-17 15:57:35



Thank you very much for this tip. I have another problem regarding auto-numbering of captions for illustration in a chapter, for example:
Figure 1-1: Interest Rates, Figure 1-2: Returns, etc. The code you listed works great for hard-coding heading levels, but it doesn't seem so work with reference numbering for references such as figures, tables, etc. Any leads for this? I am submitting a manuscript and I have to get figures separated from the text but I want to have something that can hardcode the numbering for the illustrations intact.

Thank you.

John Tjia

2017-07-31 21:53:33



2017-07-17 13:51:36


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


Worked like a charm. Thank you so much.

2017-06-12 19:21:59


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

2017-04-20 01:25:10


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

2017-03-17 05:07:37


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

My email :

2017-01-11 17:04:08


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


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


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


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



2016-10-02 17:41:41

Karl Borden


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

2016-10-02 16:02:03


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.


Thank you! You just saved me hours of work!

2016-07-05 10:15:15


Worked perfect. Thanks for sharing!

2016-07-04 06:30:36


Thanks so much for this, very helpful.

2016-07-01 20:14:22


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

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


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


Thanks a lot!! Saved my time much!

2016-04-22 03:00:52


Great. Thank

2016-04-07 18:01:42


Saved me again! Can't thank you enough!

2016-02-09 17:24:49


Absolutely brilliant! Thank you.

2016-02-06 20:07:37


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



saved me

2015-11-08 16:51:25

Goober Sto

You're a genius! Thx!!

2015-10-27 07:27:34


Thank you so much... you are a god

2015-10-20 14:18:46


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

2015-10-13 15:21:43



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

Thank you so much in advance.

2015-08-19 06:20:41


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


Thanks a lot! This is great. :)

2015-07-17 11:09:38


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


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


Great worked for me!!

2015-07-07 22:33:22


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
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
If RemoveSW = True Then
Selection.Range.ListFormat.RemoveNumbers NumberType:=wdNumberAllNumbers
Selection.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText NumberType:=wdNumberAllNumbers
End If
jcount = jcount + 1
End If
j = j - 1
Loop Until j < 1

Selection.Start = Selection.Paragraphs(1).Range.Start
If RemoveSW Then
MsgBox jcount & " numbers/bullets removed"
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



2015-04-22 07:45:58


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

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

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.