#287 Custom Formatting of Bulleted/Numbered Lists

As a follow-up to the recent post about using custom characters for your bullets, I thought it would be a good idea share how you can uniquely format any of the items in your bulleted/numbered lists.   This trick is probably one that nobody would ever just get intuitively and is related to how Word stores the formatting information for each paragraph.  Bullets & numbering settings are a paragraph format setting and stored in the paragraph marks ( ¶ ) located at the end of each paragraph.

For this to work you’ll need to display these paragraph marks if they aren’t already on. To do that simply, click the show/hide button on the Home tab.

Uniquely Format Individual Bullets/Numbers

If you’ve ever tried to format automatic bullets or numbering before you probably know that you can not select them like you can regular characters in your document.  The totally obscure way to an individual bulleted/numbered list item is to select the paragraph mark at the end. Once you’ve done this, any formatting changes you make will be uniquely applied to that bullet/number of your list.

As you can see in the example above, I’ve changed the color, size & weight of  item #2 with those changes reflected in both the number and the paragraph mark.

  • To format more than one number, but not all of them, hold down the [Ctrl] key while you select markers.

  • To format all of the numbers in the list, without changing the format of the actual text, click any number in the list to highlight all of the numbers and then format as you normally would. Word will extend the format to new items.

You should note that formats applied to the entire list will take precedence over formats applied via the end-of-paragraph marker. So do any unique formatting AFTER any whole list formatting. Otherwise you’ll lose the unique settings and get to do them all over again. 8-(

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