I am a teacher and frequently need to make tests and worksheets. I want to make lists like this:

  1. (a) What is 1 + 1?

    (b) What is 2 + 2?

  2. (a) What is a horse?

    (b) Who are you?

    (c) Is this real?

and so on. But to make things easier I would like the numbers and letters to be "listified", so that Word handles the lists in case I want to insert/remove items, and so on.

Word of course allows multilevel lists but demands that (a) appears on its own line below 1. Is there a way to allow it to do what I want?


I believe it is impossible. It contradicts the main Word assumption that numbering is a property of a paragraph, and that one paragraph must have only one type of numbering and that paragraph must end with a new line.

But - you can always "reinvent the wheel" and make your own numbering powered by VBA. But it might not be worth the effort.

Another workaround would be using LaTeX. Look at LaTeX - Teacher's Corner, and specificaly at the examdoc package, made specifically for your needs and featuring much more than standard Word could ever be able to.

  • Thank you, Adam. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel, but I've always had some interest in LaTeX, so this could be the excuse I've been looking for. Thanks again for your response. – Rafael Sep 24 '12 at 12:45

I don't think there's any way of having new items in both lists be auto-inserted. At best I was able to have the outer list items (i.e. 1., 2. etc.) auto-inserted, and had to type the inner list's entries myself. Still, it didn't take much time and I was able to end up with the output you wanted easily:

Word 2010 nested lists


I am a teacher too. This is what I managed to get MS word to do. It's not quite perfect and I'm trying to figure out how to get it to space out automatically, but this is the closest I got:

multilevel list --> define new multilevel list --> More>> --> Click on second level list --> include level number from ...

Hope it helps !


There are other ways you can get close to a solution using multilevel numbering and a { LISTNUM } field to provide the (a) in the first item in each sublist, but omitting the { LISTNUM } in subsequent items.

However, doing that and getting a consistent paragraph layout in Word is not easy, so I would suggest that a much simpler way to do this would be to

  • insert a two-column table
  • put the Level 1 heading numbers in column one
  • put the list items in column two.

Nastier to work with, but a consistent layout would be easier to maintain and you do not need to resort to using { SEQ } fields.

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