I found a good article (via Word's help) on how to set up numbered headings using multilevel lists. However, I can't find anything on how to set two different styles to the same level.

For example, suppose I have two styles for headings at the Heading 2 level; they're identical except that one is in a different colour, for situations where I want that particular section to stand out. But it's still at the level of Heading 2, so I'd want it to have the same formatting. Such as:

  1. Heading 1
    1.1. Heading 2
    1.2. Heading 2 other style

In the article linked above you can set each level of the multilevel list to a particular heading style, but there's no ability to select multiple styles.

Is there a way to do this?


4 Answers 4


I found my own answer: The trick is to have the new style "based" on an existing style that's already part of the numbering scheme.

For example, if I want to have two styles at the "Heading 2" level, one named Heading 2 and one named Heading 2 Red but both at the same level in terms of numbering, I would do the following:

  1. Follow the instructions linked above to set the multilevel numbering, and set it for Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc. Leave Heading 2 Red alone, at this point.
  2. Edit the style for Heading 2 Red and set the "Style based on" to Heading 2. This will have it inherit the same numbering settings (and other settings) as Heading 2.

You can do this for any other styles that you want to have at the same level in your numbering scheme, e.g. a Heading 3 Red style at the Heading 3 level or another Heading 2 Green style at the Heading 2 level.

  • The problem here is, that you haven't mentioned how Heading 2 Red was created.
    – user486359
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 8:35
  • 1
    Just like creating any other style; open the Styles pane, click the New Style button, give it a name (e.g. Heading 2 Red in this case), and for the style based on drop-down choose the heading style you want to use as a starting point -- Heading 2 in this case.
    – sernaferna
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 13:36

Sorry, I mean no insult, but I am a little confused as to what you are asking as I seem to have done it easily.

It seems that, if you select a multilevel list, then select formatting, it will get rid of the multi level list.

However, if you select all the formatting first, then select mutlilevel list, it will preserve the formatting in the list:

enter image description here

Alternatively, if you reselect multilevel list after choosing formatting, again, it will preserve the order of the list and the formatting.

If I have misunderstood, please let me know.

  • I'm afraid I'm not following your example. The question is around associating heading styles with multilevel lists, so that any heading (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, or a custom style) which is created in the document will automatically be numbered. I don't want to manually apply numbering, even as a multilevel list, I want Word to automatically number the headings for me. But I found a solution, which I'll post in... 7 hours.
    – sernaferna
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 15:30
  • Cannot follow this answer either.
    – user486359
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 8:30

Word 2016 has me pulling my hair and wasting hours and hours. What I am trying: create two multi-level lists. I want to have both the same, just a different level style (similar to the asked question).

A nice guide is here: http://shaunakelly.com/word/numbering/numbering20072010.html

However, when I create my two lists with the level style assignment, switching the shared styles for the other headings get lost... For example:

Level1 = Style1
Level2 = Style2

Level1 = StyleFooBar
Level2 = Style2

Now, I added each list to my list gallery, but after defining List2 and modifying the numbering format and setting the styles to the levels, the other list looses the styles that are in common, e.g.,

Level1 = Style1
Level2 = (No Style)

When I toggle between the two from the Style gallery, the formatting changes the way I want, but modifying the MultiLevel List, is shows (No Style). This means I have to manually edit everything by hand, and we are talking hundreds of documents. Maybe someone has the secret?

But, the link above should allow you to do what you want, just after creating each MultiLevel List, right-click and add it to the Gallery.

  • 1
    While the link might answer the question, over half of this answer is not answering the question. You better rewrite the answer, with the link provided, and provide a summary of the content of the link.
    – Vylix
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 16:16
  • I'm not sure that what you're trying to do is the same as what I was originally trying to do, with the original question. I do know that the original solution still works in Word 2016, so if you want multiple styles to be at the same numbering level, the original answer still works.
    – sernaferna
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 15:56
  • Latex may be your life saver! Everything is plain text and controllable.
    – Gqqnbig
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 22:17
  • No, Latex is not the answers. We know what Latex is. We look for the Word issue to be solved. The Shauna Kelly link neither answers this question. It is however the very basic how-to with regards to multilevel lists.
    – user486359
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 8:33

You can create different style for the same heading.

If you change the color of a heading, Word automatically creates a version of the heading. You can view the same in the Styles gallery.

  • Welcome to Super User! Please try not to over-promote your own blog, but instead post full answers here, without depending on other sites.
    – slhck
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 12:23

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