How to make your numbered lists look normal in Microsoft Word

If your numbered list goes past nine items in Microsoft Word, you’ll need this trick to get your list to look professional. 

By default, Microsoft Word will align your numbered list by the first digit in the number. You’ll end up with an ugly list like this one:

Notice how the periods after the number makes a jump after item 10. Here, I’ll draw a red line down the periods, so you can see.

So bizarre. Why would Microsoft want the default numbered list to look so ugly? They should just have the default be aligned on the period after the number.

Here’s how to make Microsoft Word align on the period.

1. Select your list.

2. Go to the top menu and select Format > Bullets and Numbering…

Microsoft Word Format Bullets and Numbering

3. In the dialog box that appears, click “Customize…”

4. Under “Number position” change the setting from “left” to “right”. I know, it’s not very intuitive. It feels like you are making your entire list be aligned right… which would look even MORE ridiculous. But this setting is to make the numbers themselves be aligned right.

5. Click ‘OK’

Now you have a professionally aligned numbered list.

Too bad Word can’t do this by default for everyone.

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