Automatic lists

One way to create lists in Word is to use the AutoFormat As You Type feature, which takes cues from what you type to start lists.

  • Type an asterisk (*) followed by a space or tab, and Word starts an automatic bulleted list.
  • Type a number, followed by a parenthesis or period, followed by a space or tab, and Word starts an automatic numbered list.
  • To continue the list, press Enter. Word creates the next bulleted or numbered entry in the list.
  • When the list is complete, press Enter after the final entry, then press Backspace or press Enter a second time, and the list will turn off.

If you don't like these behaviors, you can disable them using the following procedure:

  1. Choose Tools → AutoCorrect Options.
  2. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  3. In the Apply as you type section, deselect Automatic bulleted lists and/or Automatic numbered lists.

When Word uses the AutoFormat As You Type feature to start an automatic bulleted or numbered list, an AutoCorrect Options button appears. You can click this button and use its menu to control the behavior of the feature.

AutoCorrect Options menu


  • Undo: Reverts to the text you typed. But the feature remains on, so the next time you start a list, Word will create an automatic list.
  • Stop: Turns the automatic list feature off.
  • Control AutoCorrect Options: Equivalent to Tools ? AutoCorrect Options. Takes you to the AutoCorrect options dialog box where you can configure the automatic list feature as well as other AutoCorrect features.
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