[Libs-Or] Tech-Talk: WORD - Take Control of Misbehaving Bullets & Numbering

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Tue Mar 13 14:46:09 PDT 2018


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 This Week's Tech-Talk: WORD

1. VIDEO ... Take Control of Misbehaving Bullets & Numbering
2. ARTICLE ... Take Control of Misbehaving Bullets & Numbering
3. COMMUNICATING ... "Have I lost you?"

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Tech-Talk: Take Control of Misbehaving Bullets & Numbering

Sometimes, when we're working with a numbered list or bullets, they seem to have a mind of their own. I find they'll shift over and indent when I don't want them to. Or the numbering is not what I intended. I type one thing and Word gives me another. It's a battle between what the software thinks I want and the actual items I try to type.

If that happens to you, here are four ways you can take back control of your numbering, your bullet spacing and your auto-indenting.

1. Moving Bullets and Numbers with Ctrl + M

I love this one and use it frequently!

If you want to move the bullets or numbers to the LEFT, just highlight them, hold the Ctrl + shift keys and press the letter "M" (for "move"). You can press "M" again and they'll move even farther to the left.

NOTE: If you want text to move to the RIGHT, it's Ctrl +M (No Shift key).



2. Use Undo When Typing a Numbered List ... and Word Gives You Something You Don't Want

This is my personal favorite!

Have you ever started typing a numbered list, when it auto-indents or does something else you didn't intend?

Sometimes you want to set a number of an item … perhaps it's a subtitle. But when you start the line with a number, the software thinks you want a numbered list, so it positions it for you … and you don't want that placement. It's frustrating and can take lots of time trying to make it do what you want.

However, there is one simple thing you can do to take back control … IF you do it immediately.

Press undo (Ctrl + Z)! You'll be surprised. It doesn't undo the typing, it stops the auto-controls and lets you type what you want.


It simply erases the auto-programming for the numbering. You do that once, and the rest of the list is within your control … throughout the document. What you type is what you will get.

Here's another example. In drafting this very article, as I was numbering the subheads, I typed "4." but Word gave me a "5." and it indented (which I didn't want either). So I pressed "Ctrl +Z" and I got the "4." back, without the indentation.

ALSO, in typing this example, Word was giving me capital letters after every period, which I did not want. The Ctrl + Z took those off as well so that I didn’t have to argue with Word.



NOTE: This "immediate undo" technique works in other software as well. For instance, you can use it in Constant Contact and other programs that gives you options for bullets and numberings.

3. Changing the Auto-Indent in Word


You can modify the indentation of a list already created.

Here's what you do.

·     Simply click once on any of the numbers or bullets in your list.
·     This highlights all list items.
·     Then right-click on the list.
·     Choose Adjust List Indents from the context menu.

You can set the distance the number (or bullet) is from the outside edge. And you can modify the space between the number and the text that follows it.

NOTE: When you make these changes, these settings stay in place for all future lists you create … unless you change them back to the default settings.

4. Change Your "AutoFormat As You Type" Settings

To prevent Word from automatically creating numbered or bulleted lists, you can change the settings in your Options.

·     Go to File
·     Choose Options
·     Select the Proofing section
·     Click on the AutoCorrect Options box
·     Choose the tab: AutoFormat As You Type
·     Uncheck the boxes you want in the Apply As You Type section



Communications: Email
"Have I lost you?"

You've been trying to reach someone via email and you haven't received a response.

You send notes several times, but no answer. You know they're busy and things happen. But you're not sure if you are being ignored or forgotten ... or even if the requests have reached the intended party.

Here's a phrase you can use to get noticed politely and often trigger a response.

In the subject area, type "Have I lost you?" In the body of the message be polite and friendly as always. The subject heading will get their attention.


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Darci Hanning, MLIS
Technology Development Consultant
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