When I select a sentence of Normal text in Word and choose the Numbering list icon, to turn it into a list, the style of the text changes to Heading 1. Somehow heading numbering and list numbering have gotten mixed up? How to I properly set heading numbering with affecting normal list numbering?

Also, if I have a bulleted list with a nested level and try to change the nest level from bullets to numbers using the numbering icon, the indent is lost and ends up indented the same as the parent bullet. It doesn't change to Heading 1 here thank goodness. How do I fixed all this messed up Word Numbering?

Microsoft Word for Mac 15


5 Answers 5


Instead of selecting the "Numbering" icon, I selected the down arrow next to it, then "Define New Number Format". I pressed "Ok" on the dialog box that appeared and that allowed me to create numbering without automatically changing the style of the paragraph to "Heading 1".


I'm obviously a little late to the game here, but I thought I'd chip in since this has happened to me as well, leading me to here when I went looking for an answer.

Word will auto-format items where possible, so I have found, in my experience, that if you simply type 1., then hit the space bar, it'll start a correctly formatted number list.

If this issue occurs with bullet lists, you can repeat the same steps, but type * instead of 1..

I made a little GIF to visually explain the above: http://g.recordit.co/9C8a2GBYnz.gif

Truly, a frustrating bug. Hopefully the above helps someone else running into this issue.

  • Ok, but how does this address the issue of fixing the problem of Word auto setting numbered list to Heading 1 style?
    – ruslaniv
    Jun 19, 2020 at 7:06
  • @ruslaniv this is an alternative method of creating a numbered or bulleted list, one that doesn’t run into the original issue OP highlighted. Watch the gif, it demonstrates this pretty clearly. No, it doesn’t fix the bullet list button, but it’s a solution that avoids the problematic functionality. Mar 3, 2022 at 21:58

Disgraceful bug - my only solution was to delete my section, create the header again, copy the previous text to a text editor, then paste back in unformatted. Was able to to what should have happened the first time. Wasted 45 minutes on this and our I.T. are still trying to resolve it as it keeps happening.


Check on issue : right click on 'list bullet' style. If it jumps to 'heading 1' before giving you the popup then your styles box is broken.
Workaround : highlight text that you're applying the style to. Instead of clicking the style as normal, click the little arrow bottom right of the styles box, which gives you a text list instead. Click desired style in this text list and it will be applied rather than the one you didn't want


The easiest workaround I could find was selecting bullets, typing your steps and then change the steps to numbers.

So first type out your steps using bullets.

  • Text 1
  • Text 2
  • Text 3

Now select all text after the bullets and click on the Numbering button in the paragraph section. It should change all steps to numbers without changing the heading:

  1. Text 1
  2. Text 2
  3. Text 3

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