Lists (a, b, c, etc.) in a document have disappeared

I keep a text document of complex video editing procedures. I have organized it with the list function and set up a Table of Contents. The document is 123 pages. I opened it last night to add a procedure and all of the lists were scrambled. Instead of a, b, c, etc. foreach step in a procedure it had a, eeeeeeeeeee, fffffffffff, etc. I spent 1 1/2 hours reorganizing the entire document and saved a copy in case the problem recurred. I tried to open it this morning and all evidence of the lists is gone. I opened my backup copy and it has also lost all evidence of the lists. 1. Is there any way to recover my work? 2. How can this be prevented? I have used LibreOffice for years and never had a problem like this. Thanks.

PS - My operating system is Windows 11. I saved in Word 97-2003 .doc format. Someone asked for my LO version. I don’t know what that means. I was also asked for my usual formatting procedure (styles or direct formatting). I just hit save as.

In order to give you adequate advice, please edit(+) your question to provide more technical details:

  • OS name
  • LO version
  • save format
  • your usual formatting procedure (styles or direct formatting)

Note that most formatting survices sessions only if you save native .odt. Numbered lists may become tricky if you mess things with excessive direct formatting. So, for best diagnostic, attach a 1- or 2-page sample. Make sure the problem is still present.

(+) Don’t use a comment or, worse, an answer for that. On this site, questions are always editable. Click on to expand the list of tools and use the “pencil”. Be friendly to contributors by grouping all relevant information at a single location.


Saving as .doc is the source of many problems. Among the numerous compatibility issues with foreign format, list numbering is one of the biggest due to the diverging underlying concepts. I am not surprised as it was one of the hardest problems when I worked in a mixed environment.

In addition, repeatedly saving as .doc damages cumulatively your document because of conversion DOC → ODF when loading and ODF → DOC when saving. This also means that most intra-paragraph you may have is transformed into direct formatting.

I don’t remember how I prevented the problem in these old days. If the document is personal one, save it native. This will solve all problems. But, I am afraid, due to the conversion damages, you must paste the existing one as unformatted text into a new document and reformat it. This will get rid of all M$O Word garbage.

Someone asked for my LO version.

Please klick on the first blue line and read:

I was also asked for my usual formatting procedure (styles or direct formatting). I just hit save as.

I guess you work a lot with the toolbars, e.g. for bold and italic. This is called direct formatting.

Please upload a reduced and anonymized file here so that someone can examine it.

Here you can find the further References for this page.

Thank you very much for your assistance.