How to Change Numbering in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the numbering in Word is straightforward and can be done in a few clicks. Whether you’re dealing with a list, a sequence of paragraphs, or want to customize the style of your numbers, Word offers a variety of options. With this quick overview, you’ll be ready to tweak the numbering to your liking in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Change Numbering in Word

Before diving into the steps, let’s establish what you’ll achieve by following this tutorial. You’ll learn how to modify the number format, start numbering from a specific number, and change the numbering style in a Word document. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Highlight the numbered list

Highlight the list or paragraphs where you want the numbering changed.

Highlighting the text is crucial because it tells Word exactly where you want the changes to be applied. Simply click and drag your cursor over the text to select it.

Step 2: Right-click and select ‘Numbering’

Right-click on the highlighted text and choose ‘Numbering’ from the context menu.

A right-click brings up a shortcut menu with several options. ‘Numbering’ is what you’re looking for hereā€”it opens the door to different numbering formats and styles.

Step 3: Choose ‘Define New Number Format’

From the numbering menu, select ‘Define New Number Format’.

This option allows you to get creative with the numbering. You can choose a new style, such as Roman numerals or letters, and even add a prefix or suffix.

Step 4: Customize your numbering

In the ‘Define New Number Format’ dialog box, customize the number style, font, and size to your preference.

This is where you can really make the numbering your own. Feel free to play around with different fonts and sizes to see what looks best for your document.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’ to apply changes

After customizing, click ‘OK’ to apply the changes to your selected text.

Once you hit ‘OK,’ the changes take effect immediately. If you’re not happy with the result, you can always go back and tweak the settings.

After completing these steps, your document will reflect the new numbering style you’ve selected. Whether you’ve chosen to start from a different number, switched to Roman numerals, or added a unique touch with a custom font, your list will now stand out and follow your desired format.

Tips for Changing Numbering in Word

  • If you want to start numbering from a number other than one, in the ‘Define New Number Format’ dialog box, simply type the number you want to start from in the ‘Start at’ field.
  • Remember to save your document after making changes to avoid losing your work.
  • Use the ‘Format Painter’ if you want to apply the same numbering style to multiple lists or sections throughout your document.
  • If you’re working with a multi-level list, you can change the numbering format for each level by selecting it and following the same steps.
  • For a more uniform look, consider using the same font and size for your numbers as the rest of your document.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change numbering in Word on a Mac?

Yes, the steps to change numbering in Word on a Mac are similar to those on a Windows PC.

How do I restart numbering in the middle of a document?

Right-click on the number where you want to restart the sequence, select ‘Restart at 1’, or choose the number you want to restart from.

Can I use different numbering styles within the same document?

Absolutely! You can customize each list or section with a different numbering style as needed.

Is it possible to include both numbers and letters in my numbering format?

Yes, you can combine numbers and letters by customizing the format in the ‘Define New Number Format’ dialog box.

What if I want to remove numbering altogether?

Select the text with the numbering you want to remove, right-click, and choose ‘None’ from the numbering menu.


  1. Highlight the numbered list
  2. Right-click and select ‘Numbering’
  3. Choose ‘Define New Number Format’
  4. Customize your numbering
  5. Click ‘OK’ to apply changes


Mastering how to change numbering in Word can transform the way you present lists and organize information in your documents. Whether you’re writing a report, drafting a proposal, or crafting an academic paper, properly formatted numbers can make your content clearer and more professional. Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and formats until you find the one that best suits your needs. As always, save your document frequently to preserve your hard work. If you’ve found this guide helpful, consider exploring more advanced Word features to further enhance your productivity and document design skills. Happy numbering!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy