I'm writing a long, technical document that uses a lot of ordered lists in Pages '09. Often when I bold or italicize the first bit of text I type for a list item it Pages applies the same styling to the letter or number of that list item. It's been doing this for the first 13 pages I've written and now I've found out that I need to undo that.

Is there any place to change this behavior or easily fix existing list item numbers/letters that are styled?

Screenshot of problem

The only way I've found is to select the whole list item (all of its content) and removing teh styling (un-bolding and un-italicizing) and then going back in and re-applying my stylings to its content. Definitely not ideal.


You can click while holding down alt to select just the list item letter/number and change the styling on it. Unfortunately, it seems that when exporting as a Microsoft Word document some list item letters/numbers get stuck in a certain way despite how they display as a Pages document. Opening the Word document in Pages shows this and with some finagling it can be made to behave. Still, not ideal.

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If your document is intended to be read in Word, you could change this in Word (note that I tried this on an older version of Word, so it might work differently for you):

  1. Open the document in Word;
  2. Normally select the entire list;
  3. Right-click, pick "Bullets and Numbers";
  4. Click the button that says Options or Edit or Advanced to the bottom right (can't see it here atm.);
  5. Click "Font";
  6. Select "standard", or whatever it is called that isn't bold or italicised.

I suspect that Open Office (free and open-source alternative to MS Office, available for Mac) can do the same, so you could try that if you can't get to Word. Incidentally, are you sure a similar function doesn't exist in Pages? I have never used it. Is there perhaps a numbers style to pick that says "custom"?

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  • I have Microsoft Word on my Mac but really would rather not use it. But yes, Word gives more fined grained control over lists. – donut Jan 11 '11 at 3:21
  • OK, you could use it just for the final touch, after the list is complete. – Cerberus Jan 11 '11 at 3:33
  • I've actually tried using Open Office and it failed pretty badly at opening the .doc file, Pages did a much better job. – donut Jan 20 '11 at 16:49
  • @Donut: So have you tried what I suggested for Word? P.S. In my experience, Open Office has never failed with opening .doc files. But your file could be a specialised exception. – Cerberus Jan 20 '11 at 22:01

I struggled with this also, then found the answer.

Simply Option-Click on the number or letter. That will select only that item and you can reformat it normally without changing other items.

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