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: Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering.

Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2018)

1

Steve notes that Word's auto-numbering is not suitable for documents that are to be imported into page layout programs such as Adobe InDesign. He wonders if there is a quick way to replace auto-numbering with manual numbering, in the same way that you can convert field text to plain text.

The answer is yes, there is a quick way. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the document whose numbering you want to convert. (You may want to open a copy of the document so that you don't mess up the original document.)
  2. Press Alt+F11. Word displays the VBA Editor.
  3. Press Ctrl+G. This opens the Immediate window.
  4. Type the following in the Immediate window:
  5. ActiveDocument.Range.ListFormat.ConvertNumbersToText
    
  6. Press Enter.

That's it; all the auto-numbered lists are changed to manual numbering. There are a couple of gotchas related to this approach, however. First, it may appear that your numbered lists no longer line up properly. This is because any custom tab stops set for the lists are deleted and Word reverts to using the default tab stops. This shouldn't be a huge problem, as you are doing this conversion in preparation for importing the document to a page layout program. (The tab stops in that program should take precedence over any you have set in Word.)

The second gotcha is that if you applied the auto-numbered styles using lists, then the numbering isn't really gone. You can apply it again by simply selecting the paragraphs in the lists and pressing Ctrl+Q.

If you would rather not mess with the VBA Editor, then there is another approach you can try out—save your document in RTF format. Many page layout programs (such as InDesign) use a different filter for importing RTF files, with the result that the numbered lists are converted automatically to regular numbers.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10247) 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: Converting Automatic Numbering to Manual Numbering.

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

Creating Custom Underlines

Word provides a wide assortment of underlines that you can apply to your text. If the assortment isn't wide enough for ...

Discover More

Changing the Default Font

If you don't like the font that Excel uses, by default, in a workbook, you can change it. Here's how.

Discover More

End-of-Month Calculations

Don't want to use the EOMONTH function to figure out the end of a given month? Here are some other ideas for discovering ...

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)

Following a Number with Different Characters

When creating numbered lists, the normal characters that follow the number are a period and a tab. Here's how to force ...

Discover More

Stubborn Highlighting

When you make extensive edits to a document and those edits include changing the formatting of numbered or bulleted ...

Discover More

Randomly Resetting Numbering

Have you ever been frustrated by the automatic numbering feature in Word? You are not alone. Fortunately, there are a few ...

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 three minus 3?

2018-03-13 12:20:22

Michael Platl

Hello,
we are struggling a lot with this issue and I hope you can help out.
We can't convert all numbering to text because we are loosing too much information of the document.
We found out that our web tool will interpret a white text in the heading correctly.

What we need now is a script which will check all automated numberings in the headlines and places the same number behind the text in white color.

Is this easy to do?


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.