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: Underlining Tabs In Numbered Lists.

Underlining Tabs In Numbered Lists

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 6, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Hans wonders how he can underline the tab space between a number and the text in an automatic numbered list. He can underline the number, but he can't figure out how to underline the tab itself.

The short answer is that there is no way to underline that tab that is inserted in an automatic numbered list. The best solution is to skip using automatic lists and, instead, rely on styles. Create a style for your numbered lists and you can define exactly how the tab character should be treated—including using an underline leader, if desired.

Once the style is defined you can apply it to all your numbered list items, and then either use a manual numbering of the items (typing in the numbers yourself) or relying on the SEQ field to do the numbering for you. (How you use the SEQ field has been covered in other issues of WordTips.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6776) 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: Underlining Tabs In Numbered 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. ...

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