Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Fixing Mismatched Bullets and Numbers.

Fixing Mismatched Bullets and Numbers

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 20, 2018)

Sometimes when using the numbering or bullet features in Word, the format of one or more of the numbers or bullets does not match the others. For example, the color, size, or some other formatting could be different. This can be very frustrating to resolve if you don't realize that the format of the number and bullet is actually controlled by the format of the end-of-paragraph marker maintained by Word.

The end-of-paragraph marker is visible when you click the Show/Hide tool (it has the backward P on it). All you need to do is make sure that the paragraph marker of all items in your list are selected when you apply the bullet or numbering formatting or a style that applies such formatting. Word will then make sure that bullets and numbers are formatted the same for each item in the list.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (763) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Fixing Mismatched Bullets and Numbers.

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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