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 Bulleted Lists.

Turning Off Automatic Bulleted Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 15, 2020)

One of the automatic formatting features included with Word is automatic bulleted lists. When you enter some text that Word thinks should be a bulleted list, and then press Enter, Word formats the paragraph with a hanging indent and places a bullet at the beginning of it. In addition, Word assumes the next paragraph will be part of the same bulleted list.

For instance, if you type an asterisk, press the Space Bar or the Tab key, and then type your text, when you press Enter, Word formats the paragraph as a bulleted list. If you didn't want the paragraph to be a bulleted list, you can cancel the formatting done by Word by immediately pressing Ctrl+Z. 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. Click Proofing at the left side of the dialog box, and then click AutoCorrect Options. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  3. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  5. Clear the Automatic Bulleted Lists check box.
  6. Click on OK to close the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  7. Click on Cancel to close the Word Options dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11813) 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 Bulleted 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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