Troubleshoot bulleted and numbered lists

ShowWhen I make changes to the bullets or numbers in a list, not all the bullets or numbers change.

When you click a bullet or number in a list, all the items on that level of the list are selected. The bullet or number clicked is highlighted in dark gray, while the rest of the bullets or numbers in the list at that level are highlighted in light gray.

Selected items in a list

A bullet or number on the same level that is not highlighted is not a part of the list, even if it otherwise looks as though it is. Changes you make to the bullets or numbering in the rest of the list at that level will not affect the bullet or number that is not highlighted.

To make the bullet or number a part of the list, do the following:

ShowBullet characters show as clock faces or empty boxes.

  • Bullets appear as clock faces Unless you've selected a different font for the bullet, Microsoft Word uses the bullet character from the Symbol font. If the Symbol font is damaged or unavailable, Word substitutes the Wingdings font. In this font, the corresponding ASCII character is a clock face. Try reinstalling the Symbol font, or use the Bullets and Numbering command on the Format menu to select a different bullet character from the Wingdings font.
  • Bullets appear as empty boxes When you create a bulleted list using the Marlett font, instead of inserting a single bullet, Word either inserts at least one box or inserts a bullet and a box character. To use a bullet character from the Marlett typeface, click Symbol (Insert menu), select the symbol you want, and then click Insert. You may need to adjust the text indentations. You can also use a different font to insert a bullet.

ShowEvery line is bulleted or numbered instead of just the first line.

To add text beneath a bulleted or numbered item in a list without adding a bullet or number, place the insertion point at the end of the list item and press SHIFT+ENTER. The new line indents and aligns with the text in the previous line. Add text, and then press SHIFT+ENTER again to create another indented line, or press ENTER to create another numbered or bulleted line.

ShowI want to use different formats for the text and the bullets or numbers in my list items.

You can have bold bullets or numbers and plain text, or vice versa. To change the formatting of the bullets or numbers, click a bullet or number in the list, and then click a button the Formatting toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.) to make changes.

ShowCustom tab characters disappear when I add or remove bullets.

When you add bullets to or remove them from lines of text that contain custom tab stops and tab characters, Microsoft Word removes the tab characters and retains the tab stops.

Do one of the following:

  • Click where you want the tab character to appear, and press the TAB key to reinsert the tab character.
  • Avoid adding or removing bullets from items that contain custom tab stops and tab characters.

 Note   Creating a custom tab is a two-step process. First you set the tab stop, and then you press the TAB key to insert the tab character.

ShowParagraph indents disappear when I add or remove bullets or numbering.

When you do any of the following, Microsoft Word removes existing indents from paragraph text:

  • Add bullets to indented and numbered paragraphs.
  • Add numbering to indented and bulleted paragraphs.
  • Remove bullets from indented and bulleted paragraphs.
  • Remove numbering from indented and numbered paragraphs.

After you apply the bullet or numbering format, you must insert the indents into the paragraph.

ShowThe custom formatting changes I made to my lists have disappeared.

The list formats that appear on the Bulleted and Numbered tabs when you click Bullets and Numbering on the Format menu are based on built-in List Bullet and List Number styles (style: A combination of formatting characteristics, such as font, font size, and indentation, that you name and store as a set. When you apply a style, all of the formatting instructions in that style are applied at one time.). If you create a custom style based on these built-in styles, you might lose the custom formatting when you copy styles between documents or when you restart Microsoft Word.

ShowOutline numbering is on, but my headings aren't being numbered.

Make sure you've formatted the headings with the built-in heading styles (heading style: Formatting applied to a heading. Microsoft Word has nine different built-in styles: Heading 1 through Heading 9.). If the headings in your document are formatted with custom styles, you must link each custom style with an outline numbering level.

Troubleshooting lists that contain LISTNUM fields.

ShowI see {LISTNUM \S 5} instead of the item number.

What you see is the field code (field code: Placeholder text that shows where specified information from your data source will appear; the elements in a field that generate a field's result. The field code includes the field characters, field type, and instructions.).

ShowThe numbering level for LISTNUM field changes when heading style is applied.

If you insert a LISTNUM field into a document and then apply a heading style (heading style: Formatting applied to a heading. Microsoft Word has nine different built-in styles: Heading 1 through Heading 9.) to a paragraph before the LISTNUM field, the result of the LISTNUM field will be demoted by one numbering level below the heading level you applied. To change the numbering level, right-click the LISTNUM field and then click Increase Indent or Decrease Indent on the shortcut menu (shortcut menu: A menu that shows a list of commands relevant to a particular item. To display a shortcut menu, right-click an item or press SHIFT+F10.).

Applies to:
Word 2003