Software

Correct a Word document when lists won't renumber correctly

It can be frustrating the numbered list in your Word document keeps starting at the wrong number -- even if you select Restart Numbering from the shortcut menu. Rather than try to renumber, try this tip from Mary Ann Richardson.

You want the numbered list in your Word document to start at 1, but it keeps starting at 4, even if you select Restart Numbering from the shortcut menu. Rather than try to renumber, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the numbered list.
  2. Click Set Numbering Value.
  3. Select the Start New List button.
  4. In the Set Value text box, type 1 and then click OK.

When you set the Set Value text box to a number, your list will start with that number; when Restart does not start with 1, it's best to check and reset the Set Value text box according to the steps above.

The Set Numbering Value will also correct instances where clicking Continue Numbering will not work -- for example, when you want one list to continue numbering from another above it. Follow these steps to correct this situation:

  1. Right-click the numbered list.
  2. Click Set Numbering Value.
  3. Click to select the Continue From Previous List button and then click OK.

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25 comments
lightbooks
lightbooks

There is no Start New List button in the Mac 2011 version (or earlier)

beak.consulting
beak.consulting

What I would like to create is a list that looks like this: 1.1 People 1.1.1 Africans 1.1.2 Europeans 1.2 Jobs, etc. Word 2007 does not appear to be able to start the numbering with two digits like in 1.1 People - which was possible in Word 2003. I have tried to create customised lists but it still does not come out. Can anyone help? I am preparing a document which needs this type of numbering, and I am really stuck.

PhyllisD
PhyllisD

Still a mystery. The frustration is multiplied by finding that your instructions are useless for the 2010 version of word.

albertrt
albertrt

This does not work in WORD2010.

dlclark1
dlclark1

For Microsoft(R) Office Word 2007 (12.0.6015.5000) MSO (12.0.6020.5000) I have a several numbered lists (not multi-level) proceeding down the page; however, each of these lists needs to start with a number other than the number 1. I've followed your tips, but they are not working for me. Meaning, I've used the "Set Numbering Value" dialog box to specify new lists each time and with a number of other than the number 1, but the list(s) still starts with the number 1. Now what do I do?

bkreamer
bkreamer

Can anyone point me to a shortcut method, e.g. a source of a full set of styles, for quickly implementing Shauna Kelly's numbered headings?

heavener
heavener

My problem is that Word won't let me mix numbered lists and bulleted lists in the same document, not even if there's text between the lists. Changing one list changes them all.

melvyn_ingram
melvyn_ingram

Dear Mary Evrey one of your tips, ideas have help me solve me a lot of problems in the past, and present. For which I'm truthfully grateful. Yors Melvyn

kcburke
kcburke

As a tech writer, I struggle with this constantly, and I've found that, in many cases, the easiest thing to do is to remove numbering from the whole list and start over. Sometimes, the problem comes from the formatting style that is applied. Word assumes the style is supposed to be numbered in a certain way every time you use it.

Gonzalo@Sisap
Gonzalo@Sisap

That's nice and helpful But what about the other way around? when you have a list with quantities and components (like a recipe) and you do not want word to consider them as a numbered list?

holmescd
holmescd

Nice tip, thanks! Should we assume that this works for Word 2003 and Word 2007? Would you please include the version of the applicable program in the title or at least somewhere in the text of your tip? Those of us who have to use multiple versions will appreciate it. Thanks.

lightbooks
lightbooks

I have the same sort of problem, wanting to go 1.1, 1.2, 1.3.... 2.1, 2.2, 2.3... If I change the options in the Bullets and Numbering Customization and open the drop down menu options including linking to a Style doesn't help. It's really extraordinary that this isn't solved in all these years. After I've even linked to a Style, and even created a new Style for when I get to 2.1 it still will not go from 1.xx to 2.1, even after setting the options for Restart Numbering and then setting to start at 2.1. What happens then is it changes all those entries 1.1, 1.2, 1.3... above the paragraph I've selected to 2.1, 2.2, 2.3... ALSO!! Even a Bing search doesn't produce a solution that I can see. Yet vast numbers of people need this facility. I seem to remember Word 5.1 had no such problem!

candzgramma
candzgramma

It takes about ten minutes to set up the styles. Read and follow Shauna's directions. They work perfectly.

mslizny
mslizny

(Word 2003 and previous versions) When you choose Format, Bullets and Numbering, there is an option for Outline Numbered lists. You can customize the combination of numbers, symbols and bullets to suit your needs by clicking on the "Customize" button.

bluefilly
bluefilly

May I suggest that people display all the styles in a document, and then choose the one that looks like 1. 1 / a / i Modify it if you want to put bullets in it, or change the numbering scheme. It has always worked ok for me. Another option is to look up Shauna Kelly and view her method of creating numbered headings. A bit of work but more reliable than using Format - Bullets and Numbering, or the numbered list toolbar button.

ray.morgovan
ray.morgovan

The most accurate method of keeping numbering correct is to link a style to numbering. (Format > Bullets and Numbering > Outline numbering > Choose a palette > Click customize > click More. Make sure that the level is linked to each heading correctly. Regardless of using one level or five levels, numbering linked to styles is the only way to go. (2003/XP) Word's numbering button breaks often because it's loosely linked to any style that is currently applied. Once you've set up your numbered headings, create a template that can be used over and over. Use the style linked to numbering and you will minimize frustration.

Thomas Moser
Thomas Moser

You can use Format -> Autoformat -> Options and on the "AutoFormat as You Type" tab clear the option for "Automatic Numbered Lists". This works in Word 2000 through 2003. Simpler is to immediatly type CTRL-Z or click Undo when the first numbered item is autoformatted. Pressing enter after entering something like 1. Cup Milk Causes the autoformat which can be undone. There is also the appearance of an "autocorrect options" popup which gives you the same choices in Word 2003 (not sure about other versions).

Larry3500
Larry3500

Under Tools, AutoCorrect Options, there are several tabs. On the AutoFormat As You Type tab, turn off (uncheck) Automatic Numbered Lists in the Apply As You Type section.

kevin.carbonaro
kevin.carbonaro

In 2007 the option to set the starting value exists in the context menu when right clicking the numbered list. However in 2003, you have to go to the Format Menu/Bullets and Numbering, then click the customise button to set this value. I'm not sure about Word 2000 version.

trainerth
trainerth

i use styles constantly but my numbered list style always continues from previous list. While it is straightforward to restart at 1 this is not permanent. If any changes are made to the document e.g new list inserted, everything below renumbers reverting to continue from previous. Tried all suggestions given and then updating style but no joy

johndoe4024
johndoe4024

I followed Shauna Kelley's approach years ago and have been happily ever after intermingling different lists with no problems. Numeric lists, with embedded alpha lists, with embedded bullets; all is well. Using Shauna's method of programmatically defining numbered lists within the document template is a solid solution. Even if one doesn't want to go through the effort, one should at least read her write-up to gain a better understanding of why Word numbering gets so out of whack.

hsinclair
hsinclair

Hi there, I just wanted to say 'Thank you' for this tip! The problem of numbers not restarting has plagued me for about 18 months at work. Now my team and I know how to fix it! Yay! Thank you again.

Gonzalo@Sisap
Gonzalo@Sisap

Thanks Larry and Thomas As usual, all you have to do is to read and check your options. I plea guilty of not investigating a bit when I was asked about this issue. I love this forums because you get answers for your questions, as well as getting tips. have a nice day

dhays
dhays

I agree a version number would be nice to know right at the start. There are many outh there still using W200, W 2003, etc. I didn't know about right clcking the list to change the numbering scheme, or shortcut to restart numbering either, I had always gone to the format -> bullets and numbering menu. Word 2000, and previous versions all had to redo a list via the format -> bullets and numbering menu where you can set the style of numbers or letters for the list, the indentation (if you don't like what Word assigns), the font, bold or italic.... To start a new list where the revious one left off is nice sometimes as well. that also must be new in W2007, I have it at home, but just upgraded to WXP and W2003 with the new computer last fall at the office.