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Microsoft Word: Why Won't My Numbered Lists Restart at 1, A or i?

Updated: Mar 1

Aaah, numbered lists. This feature is easily one of the most infuriating in Microsoft Word.

There may be times when you've created separate numbered lists and found that, despite the lists all being in different locations, the numbering continues from the last one. You may have to manually force each list to restart its numbering.

The video below explains why - and it's all to do with styles.

Using text styles is still best practice when formatting documents - they are a great time-saver.

When you're setting up your custom numbered lists, think about how you (or your colleagues/clients) want to apply the numbering.

Allocating numbering to a style, like "List Number" or "List Number 2" will mean the numbering will continue from the last numbered list. If applying styles to a paragraph is the only way you/your colleagues/your clients want to work, then you have two options: (a) manually restart each set of numbered lists or (b) ask someone (like me 😉) to create a macro and button, which will restart each list for you in seconds.

Alternatively, you can have create another list style, via the Multilevel List button, create your custom numbered levels but don't allocate them to a style.

When the user wants to number a set of paragraphs, they should then select them, go to the Multilevel List button and click on the style you created. Do that for every set of paragraphs you want to format and each list will restart at the top level.


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