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: Applying Formatting in Lists.

Applying Formatting in Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2019)

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 (the part you didn't select in step 2, 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 want 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, 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: 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. ...

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