Unable to Use Bulleting and Numbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 3, 2013)

1

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

Protecting Tracked Changes

Track Changes is a great tool for editors and collaborators to use when creating documents. An author, seeking changes from ...

Discover More

Unable to Format Cells

If you ever get to a situation where you can no longer format cells in a workbook, you'll realize just how important the ...

Discover More

Creating a Table of Contents from TOC Fields

If you inserted a bunch of TOC fields in your document, you can create your table of contents quite easily based on those ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Noting Formatting Inconsistencies

When you create a document, Word is constantly checking behind the scenes to make sure that what you type makes sense. Tools ...

Discover More

Understanding Strikethrough Formatting

The strikethrough text feature in Word can be used as part of your document or to indicate that changes have been made to the ...

Discover More

AutoFormatting a Document

The AutoFormat feature of Word can be configured to make changes to a variety of conditions in your document. Here's how to ...

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. 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 4 + 2?

2016-11-30 13:44:36

slane

It isn't a virus or a corrupted file. Those are the suggestions of someone who really doesn't know what they are talking about. Word's own formatting often interferes. This is happening to a lot of people. Candace should try removing all special formatting and see if that fixes the problem, first by using the styles tool, and if that doesn't work she could try copying all text then special pasting sans formatting, or pasting into an .rtf than back into a word document.


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.