Software

Create a custom number format in Word

Numbering a list is an easy task in Word. But changing how those numbers look is a bit more complicated. Learn how to create your own custom number format.

In Word, you can quickly number a list by selecting the items and clicking the Numbering button on Word's Formatting toolbar. Word even offers a selection of predefined formats that are adequate for most uses. However, you're not stuck with just the predefined formats. For example, you might want to print an underscore in front of a numbered question. You see these types of lines on tests, surveys, and questionnaires. Word doesn't offer a predefined format for that type of list, but you can create it yourself. First, begin as you would any other list by typing the items. Once you have your list, you're ready to create and apply the custom formatting as follows:

  1. Select all the items in the list.
  2. From the Format menu, choose Bullets And Numbers.
  3. In the resulting dialog box, click the Numbered tab.
  4. Select a numbering option that you seldom or never use, because you're going to modify it.
  5. Click Customize.
  6. In the Customize Numbered List dialog box, click before the number in the Number Format control.
  7. Type several underscore characters and a space.
  8. Click OK and Word applies the custom numbering scheme to the selected items.
You can rearrange the list and even insert new items; Word will automatically adjust the numbering scheme to accommodate your changes.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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