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I am working on a Word document with headings. Under one heading, I would like to create a numbered list. However each numbered item appears as a new Heading, so I end up with a bunch of headings rather than a numbered list. What is going on?

Here are the steps. I'd like to insert a numbered list after the heading named 'Method'. The text after this heading is Normal style.

enter image description here

I choose the numbered list button at the top to create a new numbered item. But it appears as a new heading (#3, no name) instead, even though the style where I inserted the item still appears as Normal on the Style Inspector on the right of the screen.

enter image description here

How can I insert a numbered list after the heading named 'Method'?

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I'm unable to reproduce this. I keep getting numbered list. Could you upload a screen shot. And list the steps you are using? – opsin Feb 9 '12 at 17:38
I added screenshots. Let me know if it is not clear. – KAE Feb 10 '12 at 16:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Try this.

With your new item listed as Number 3 (like screen shot 2).

  1. Highlight (select) it.
  2. Click Normal Style (from the Top Style boxes).
  3. Now click on the Numbering button, it should now be normal but with a 3.
  4. Click increase Indent button (it should become "a" still in normal style).
  5. Right Click it.
  6. Hightlight Numbering (don't click it)
  7. Under Numbering Libray pick 1.2.3.
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Yes, this worked. Thanks so much. This seems like unexpected behavior on the part of Word. Is it a known problem? What is causing it? – KAE Feb 13 '12 at 15:11
I completely agree. I was shocked to see it didn't work. But, now we know. – opsin Feb 13 '12 at 15:32
And the problem isn't consistent. After my original post I re-opened my Word file, but the problem didn't occur! Today it did occur, so I could try your solution. Thanks for the help; I am prepared for when this happens. – KAE Feb 13 '12 at 15:36

Word comes with some predefined heading styles, Heading 1-9. Usually, the definition of these styles specifies the style of the following paragraph. This means that, if you are typing in a paragraph with the Heading N style and then hit [enter], the new paragraph will have the specified style.

Additional paragraph and character formatting can be applied to paragraphs that have a heading style applied to them. For example, it's possible to apply the Heading 1 style to a paragraph and then to turn on bullets or numbering. And if the Heading 1 style had been changed so that the same style was applied to the following paragraph, you would get the situation you are describing.

You could look at the Style Inspector to see what formatting directives have been applied to your headings, which are part of the style definition, and which have been applied directly.

This article gives an overview of using styles in Word 2007.

Hope that helps.

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What is confusing is that the text after the heading is formatted as Normal style, but when I start a Numbered List in the Normal region, a new Heading 1 item is produced instead. I added some screenshots, hope they help. – KAE Feb 10 '12 at 16:17
It took me a while to find (build) a system with Word 2007 to experiment with. I have reproduced the behavior you are seeing. I believe it's an interaction between the automatic numbering that's part of the Heading style you are using and the numbered list functionality. – Geoff Duke Feb 16 '12 at 16:45

I used Word 2007's built-in styles, and created the document shown below. I first created the four headings, and applied the Heading 1 style to them. I then inserted a new paragraph -- with Normal style -- and was able to enable numbering, which changed the style to List Paragraph. The Style Insepctor confirms this.

Word 2007 with Style Inspector, paragraph is normal list

I then modified the Heading 1 style to include automatic numbering. When I turned on numbered list for the subordinate paragraph, Word changed the style of that paragraph from Normal to Heading 1.

I believe this happens because the numberd list functionality tries to keep numbering consistent, and by default, a newly numbered paragraph will join an adjacent numbered list. In the image beow, you can see in the Style Inspector that the new paragraph has changed its style to Heading 1.

Word 2007 with Style Inspector, paragraph is now a heading

Some possible work-arounds:

  • Create a new style for your numbered paragraphs. I have confirmed that this works. (see below)
  • Turn off the automatic numbering in your heading style and just enter the numbers in the headings manually

Word 2007, custom style for numbered list

I hope that this isn't too late to be of any help. It took me a while to build a system with Word 2007 to play with. For what it's worth, the same behavior affects Word 2010.

Good luck!

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Here's an easier fix. This still happens in Word 2013, so this may also work for Word 2007.

Instead of clicking the numbered list button, click the down arrow to bring up the menu and select the format you want. This will cause the Normal style to be numbered, instead of converting it to a heading.


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