Numbered lists and multilevel lists

Greetings all. I’m new here.

I have used MS Word for years and am totally fed up with its instability and bugs!! I don’t know why the world is so bent on keeping a broken program around - but I digress.

Some of the worst issues with which I must deal are the numbered list and multilevel lists styles. Adjusting numbered list indents and then reapplying the style usually results in dismal and very annoying results. A Microsoft MVP once told me the Microsoft engineers so much as admitted they couldn’t get those styles to work 100 percent.

So, my question is - does LibreOffice provide a more stable and reliable style for these two functions? Many thanks for your time :)!

Concepts of numbered list and multilevel list are quite different in LO.

Basically, a list is simply a paragraph with a special attribute. There are two ways to use lists: manually and styles.

Manually (note this is not the recommended way but you can experiment with it)

To transform a paragraph of text into a list, select the paragraph (having the cursor inside is sufficient) and click on one of the list buttons in the toolbar. You have the choice between numbered list and bulleted list.

When you hit return at the end of you list paragraph, the next paragraph is also automatically a member of the list.

To stop the list, click again on the button.

Note: if your document contains several lists, items are numbered sequentially by default. To restart numbering, right-click in the list paragraph which should be the first of the new list and choose Restart numbering

Multi-level lists: The level of the list item is defined by the number of “tab” characters you insert before the first word of the paragraph.

Tuning the list appearance is done through FormatBullets and Numbering. There are many possibilities: indent distance, single/multiple numbers, choice of numbering (numerals, alphabetic, …). Just experiment.

Styles (this is the most versatile way which allows you to have total control and guarantee a uniform look across the document)

This requires some knowledge about styles. Contrary to MS, style are present everywhere in LO: page, paragraph, character, “list” and, by extension, you can consider manual formatting as another anonymous layer of style.

LO offers built-in styles for lists: Numbering x and Bullet x where x is a number. This number IS NOT the indent level of the list, it just indicates a different “style” for the list. As mentioned above, levels are activated with “tab” characters.

If you prefer to design your own list styles, you can either customise an existing style or make a brand new one:

  1. First, you define a paragraph style with a custom name for your list item. Do whatever is fit for you.
  2. Transform this style into a list. Go to the Outline & Numbering tab of the definition dialog and assign a so-called “list” style (which is not a list but a numbering description) through the drop down menu Numbering Style. There you will choose one of the existing styles, i.e. the built-in styles if you have not created a customised one.
  3. Click OK, you’re done.

To use your style, simply assign the style to the would-be-list paragraph.

If you want to design your own numbering, modify one of the existing “list” styles (once again, this is an unfortunate word for the styles you access with the fifth button from the left in the FormatStyles & Formatting or F11 side panel).

This is very short for a topic which deserves a full development. Read the User’s Manual which contains useful hints and tricks. My personal opinion is LO has done a nice job in cleanly separating numbering from other attributes, but as always you need practice before mastering the concepts. Anyway, this is really stable and reliable compared to M$ Word because the style paradigm is sound.

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Hi ajlittoz,

Many thanks for the quick and thorough response! (I had to copy and paste your name. The font is so small I couldn’t make out the characters.)

I am a technical writer and technical writing instructor. We live by styles. In fact, direct formatting is almost forbidden in my profession, so I am well versed in styles.

Your detailed instructions are very helpful. My students bring six different Word versions to the courses I teach, and this is a major problem. In true Microsoft fashio

You’re welcome. Don’t forget to tick the answer and close the question for community benefit.