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Increasing Space between Numbers and Text in a List

Many people like to use the Numbering tool, on the Formatting toolbar, to create numbered lists in a document. When formatting your list, the tool assumes that you are working with lists that have only a few items in them. If you have lists with many, many items, then they may not look right when you view items that have two or three digits in the number. For instance, there may be very little space between a two-digit list number and the start of your text. It may be even worse if you have list items that use three digits.

If you want to change the way that spacing is handled between list numbers and the text in the list item itself, follow these steps:

  1. Select the list items you want to change. (You would normally select all the numbered items in your list.)
  2. Choose Bullets and Numbering from the Format menu. Word displays the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, with the Numbered tab selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Numbered tab of the Bullets and Numbering dialog box.

  4. Click Customize. The Customize Numbered List dialog box should appear. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Customize Numbered List dialog box.

  6. Use the Number Position controls to specify how the number in the selected list items should be aligned, and where it should appear horizontally.
  7. Use the two controls in the Text Position area to specify how far the numbered item should be indented. (For the best effect, both controls in this area should be set to the same value.)
  8. Close both of the open dialog boxes by clicking OK in them.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3455) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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Comments for this tip:

Pablo    11 Aug 2016, 07:40
Thanks chris whitehead and all for your comments and to the author for the article. Very helpful!
Sharon Conway    09 Aug 2016, 12:42
Thanks. This tip was VERY helpful!
Keith J. Baker    12 Feb 2016, 11:08
I have Office 2010 and couldn't find this feature :( I could format the numbered list but theres no text position option. Once my list gets to 10 items, theres no space after the period, so it looks like 10.Item. Any suggestions?
Abu Baker    05 Dec 2014, 08:41
How to increase the space between heading number and the text in word 2013? Please I have to submit my resrach soon.
Abu Baker
chris whitehead    11 Jul 2014, 16:59
The spacing changes because the numbered list is set to include a Tab after the list number. To change this:
1. Click on the number where you are having problems. You will see the list numbers highlighted in grey.
2. Right click on the list number and select 'adjust list indent'.
3. Click More in the bottom left corner.
4. In the bottom right corner, right above the OK and Cancel buttons, a list will appear labeled Follow number with:.
5. Change this to space or nothing. You can also adjust the Add tab stop at:

let me know if you have any questions.
Patrick    31 Oct 2013, 07:46
Try Suzanne Barnhill's pages on numbering:

Word 2003:
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/numberalignment.htm

Word 2007:
http://wordfaqs.mvps.org/NumberAlignment2007.htm
C Dibble    26 Oct 2013, 17:38
In numbered lists, Word seems to line up the left-most digit so that the following appears:
1.
99.
123.

Is there a quick fix so the line-up is "accountant style":
  1.
 99.
123.
 
 

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