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: Understanding Lists.

Understanding Lists

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 22, 2020)

There are two types of lists commonly used in printed material. The first is a bulleted list and the second is a numbered list. A bulleted list is a nothing but a list of individual items with a symbol to the left side of the first line of each item in the list. For example, the following is a bulleted list:

  • This is the first item in the list.
  • This is the second item in the list. There is more than one line in this item. Notice that the extra lines are aligned with the line above, not with the bullet or the text margin.
  • This is the third item in the list.
  • This is the fourth item in the list.

In the case of this bulleted list, the symbol used as the "bullet" is a small dot. A numbered list is a little bit different. It consists of a series of items, each with a sequential number in front of it. Numbered lists are used extensively in printed materials to describe a sequence of steps to be followed.

This usage points out the primary way you can decide which type of list to use. If you have a sequence of steps, which must be followed in order, then you should use a numbered list. If you have a group of items to which you want special treatment given, but they don't represent a series that must be followed in sequence, then you should use a bulleted 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 (1394) 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: Understanding Lists.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Allowing Sentence Fragments

Grammar, particularly in English, has a perplexing array of rules and exceptions to those rules. Word does a fairly good ...

Discover More

Adding a Dynamic Total in Your Document

You can use a few bookmarks and an equation field to add a dynamic total anywhere in your document. Once in place, you ...

Discover More

Editing Headers and Footers

Headers and footers are a nice final touch in a document. You can easily edit them by using the methods described in this ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Skipping Numbering

Got a numbered list, but you want to add other types of non-numbered paragraphs in the middle of the list? It's easy to ...

Discover More

Resetting to Factory Defaults for Bulleted Lists

If you use bulleted lists a lot in your documents, you might notice that the formats have changed over time. Resetting ...

Discover More

Reverse Numbered Lists

Adding numbered lists to your document is a snap; Word provides tools to add them immediately. What Word doesn't do is ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.