Increasing Space between Numbers and Text in a List

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 3, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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.

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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