First, save your document in native format .odt !
Saving as .docx causes two conversions to occur: one at open time, one at save time. Each conversion brings its lot of inaccuracies and loss of information. Don’t think it settles after a couple of edits; it has a disastrous cumulative effect. And list is one of the most divergent features between both formats.
Lists in Writer are always multi-level
In your “case 1”, you tweaked indents of the base paragraphs with the ruler and pressed the list button. Because of the tweaking, “1. Hinduism” and “a) History …” belong in different paragraph geometries and therefore are two different lists.
Don’t play with paragraph indents when you define lists. List indent are not inherited from paragraphs but are intrinsic properties of the list “style” you access through
Bullets & Numbering,
Position tab. Having the same base paragraph allows you to create multi-level lists.
- press the list button
- type your “Hinduism” item as usual
- for second level, press Tab and type “History …”
- to change level, either press Tab to increase level or Shift +Tab to decrease level
By “inline” lists, I mean your “case 2” where the first list item is inline with some introductory text, the subsequent items being aligned with the first.
This is not possible with Writer (not speaking of the risk of leaving too narrow a space for the items). I suggest you type your introductory text on in a separate paragraph and have your list as usual as a set of independent paragraphs. It is then much easier to define a consistent indent for the whole list.
I don’t know if the sample file is a quick’n’dirty document to exhibit th problem or reflects your routine approach to writing document. If this is the latter case, you won’t be able to “comfortably” format your document because everything is manual instead of benefiting of all the automation in Writer. Writer is based on styles and styles are ubiquitous contrary to Word which knows only of paragraph styles. You can’t achieve consistent formatting and layout without styles. Don’t neglect character, page and list styles. You can leave aside frame styles at the beginning. Never use Ctrl +I for italics (or B for bold, U for underline, …) because such italic attribute may mean different things (emphasis, foreign word, colloquialism, …). Use a dedicated character style (built-in Emphasis or a user-created one). You can them tune the appearance separately for emphasis, foreign word, …
List styles are ancillary styles supplementing paragraph styles. They take over left indent, overriding what is defined in the paragraph style, and define the structure of numbering. They are very powerful but are really hard to master when starting to learn Writer.
Styles, in any category (paragraph, character, page, list, frame) provide a meta-semantic annotation to your text. They are supposed to mark contents. Therefore, using empty paragraphs (no contents in them) to vertically space your document is nonsense. White space over and below paragraph is an attribute belonging to the paragraph. This attribute is set in the paragraph style. You should never have empty paragraphs in any document (except perhaps paragraphs used to anchor frames).
For an introduction to styles, read the Writer Guide