Unable to Use Bulleting and Numbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 12, 2022)

Candace wrote concerning a problem she periodically has with Word. It seems that when she copies one document into another she often loses the ability to bullet and number items--even the tools are "grayed out" on the toolbar. It seems that the condition is only applicable to some paragraphs in the document, and that there is no apparent difference between "good" and "bad" paragraphs when it comes to the problem.

Quite honestly, Candace, Word just shouldn't do this. Since Word is not designed to work that way (to selectively turn off the availability of the bullet and numbering tools), it is an indicator that perhaps something is wrong with the document. The first problem that springs to mind is that perhaps you have a Word virus on your system, but the symptoms do not sound like anything that has been reported in previous Word viruses. (Besides, Word viruses aren't always as benign as the symptoms you are experiencing.)

The other (and more likely) reason the problem is that somehow your Word document--or a template on which it is based--has become corrupted. Corrupted documents can exhibit themselves in any number of random and seemingly bizarre means. Exactly how you recover a corrupted document varies depending on whether you feel the document itself or the template is corrupted, and which version of Word you are using. To learn more information on this topic (and there is quite a bit), refer to the following page at the Word MVP site:

http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/AppErrors/CorruptDoc.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1544) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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

Conditionally Formatting Non-Integers

The conditional formatting capabilities of Excel are very helpful when you want to call attention to different values ...

Discover More

Determining How Many Styles are Available

Got a macro that processes or uses styles? You definitely need to know how many styles Word has available in the ...

Discover More

Moving Text to a New Footnote

For certain types of work, footnotes are a necessity. Word provides an easy way to create new footnotes, but what about ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Formatting E-mail using AutoFormat

If you copy the text of an e-mail message to a Word document, you may notice that the formatting of the text leaves a lot ...

Discover More

Font Substitution Problems

When your document uses fonts that are not available on your computer system, Word substitutes other fonts that it feels ...

Discover More

Creating an Inline Heading

When settling on an overall design for your document, you need to decide how you want your headings to appear. If you ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 seven minus 2?

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.

Videos
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.