Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Applying Formatting in Lists.

Applying Formatting in Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 10, 2015)


Need a quick way to change the font characteristics of a bullet or number in a bulleted or numbered list without affecting the text in that list?

  1. Ensure the end-of-paragraph marker is showing. If it's not showing, simply press Shift+Ctrl+* (asterisk).
  2. Select just the end-of-paragraph marker for the list item whose bullet or number you want to change.
  3. Add or remove font formatting (e.g., size, color, etc.) as desired.

Any formatting that you apply to the end-of-paragraph marker using the above method is applied to the bullet or number only; the text in the list item remains unaffected. Additionally, when new bulleted or numbered items are created by pressing the Enter key at the end of the list item, the text in the new list item will have the same font characteristics as the previous text and the new bullet/number will have the same font characteristics as the previous bullet/number.

If you're not familiar with the end-of-paragraph marker, it's two vertical lines with a half circle at the top left of the left vertical line—it looks like a backwards capital P and is technically referred to as a pilcrow.

You can also apply formatting to the text within a bulleted/numbered list by following these steps:

  1. Be sure the end-of-paragraph markers are displayed.
  2. On the list item you want to change, select any portion of the text as long as your selection excludes the end-of-paragraph marker and at least one other character.
  3. Apply any font formatting to that text.
  4. Select the remainder of the text (but not the end-of-paragraph marker) then apply font characteristics to that text.

Using the above method, new list items created by pressing the Enter key at the end of the newly formatted list item will have the same font characteristics as the last character in that newly formatted list item.

If you just what to apply the same font characteristics to the bullets/numbers and text in a bulleted/numbered list, select the entire list item, with or without the end-of-paragraph marker.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11907) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Applying Formatting in 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. ...


Spell Check Misses Misspelled Words

If you do a spelling check and notice that Word doesn't catch a word that you know is misspelled, it is easy to get ...

Discover More

Automatic Text in an E-mail

When creating an e-mail address hyperlink using the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, Excel allows you to enter a subject for ...

Discover More

Retrieving Worksheet Names

Want to grab the names of all the worksheets in a workbook? Here's how you can stuff all those names into the cells of a ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Removing a List

If you have lists in your document, either bulleted or numbered, you may want to change them back to regular text at some ...

Discover More

Removing a Bulleted or Numbered List

If you want to convert bulleted or numbered lists back to regular text (so they appear just like the rest of your ...

Discover More

Counting Lists

Word makes it easy to add both numbered lists and bulleted lists to your document. If you are working with longer ...

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 8 + 2?

2018-12-13 17:53:20

Richard Fritzler

20 Years ago I was doing a lot in Word, and it was all very easy to implement. After that 20 year hiatus, I find my self needing to deep dive back into word for some extensive formatting of large documents.

I am deeply disappointed in how difficult it is now.

Document complexity has gotten ridiculous. Creating custom filled documents used to be a piece of cake using mail merge, but now. . . ? I can do it but, I don't appreciate all the effort Microsoft has made to encourage me to throw up my hands and hire someone else to do it.

I'm restructuring some old manuals, and policy books, some of which had to be re-digitized through OCR. They ended up as Doc files that looked like the originals, that could be edited. but as I tried to update their styles it became tediously painful.

You saved me, with your macro to find a replace text boxes. The scanning put footer information into text boxes on almost every page. And I spent hours trying to use replace. Your macro did the trick and save me from about 1000 pages of scrolling clicking, then clicking again because I didn't quite get it in the right spot and then deleting. I thank you for that.

I never did find a way to remove the horizontal lines (added for style I guess) at the top and bottom of EVERY PAGE of the 500+ document. And the OCR software is so accurate that it could tell when one of those lines was just a little thicker at one end so it created a second, 1 pixel thick just above it.

My Latest insurmountable hurdle is List Numbering.

Word randomly brings up 2 different formats, either numbers followed by End Parens, or numbers followed by periods. The ones followed by periods have a different indent spacing, and my documents have no consistency.

I've gone into styles in search and replace and tried every style that might work to find numbered lists, hoping that I can then select a specific style to replace it with. Just a single common setup, with optimum indents, that I can setup globally.

I have had no luck. I guess that is my biggest issue with the new word. I intended to create a data set that I could manage globally, but it appears impossible.

But search and replace fails at finding fonts too, Trying to overcome the OCR software's panache for selecting 1/2 point font differences and choosing Arial and then Helvetica, or New Times Roman and some obscure similar font. And of course line spacing, kerning and the like, is more of the fun. I've stripped all the formatting on a moderate file of about 20 pages, then set up some headline pointers, then wanted to customize all of the rest of the text. If I search for a font, some or none of that font will be found. I'd do a replace, Times New Roman 12 point, with Calibri 6 point, so it will be obvious what hasn't changed, I'll go through all the document and format paint the rest of the body text. Then later I'll search a replace Calibri 6 point to Calibri 10 point and it won't find any. I can highlight a paragraph of Calibri 6 point and try to find/replace font. Nothing.

What Am I Doing Wrong?

2015-06-10 10:04:15

Martin Pruimers

A great tip for something I've often been struggling with

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.