writer how to use list levels

writer has lists such as
!. first item
2. Second item
a. first sub-item
b. second sub-item
i. first sub-sub item
ii. second sub-sub item
3. Third item

Creating lists of sub-items in not very intuitive.
How do I make these list levels work?

Formatting lists in Writer is not obvious. You create a numbered/bulleted list by associating a paragraph style with a list style (in fact a counter for the list). The paragraph style is in charge of “ordinary” formatting effects such as font and spacing above and below the item. The list style defines and formats the number or bullet and the indentation of the levels.

Unfortunately, built-in styles like Numbering n and List n intended for formatting list are not associated “off-the-shelf” with a list style. You must do it, choosing among List n and Numbering x with x in 123, abc, ABC, ivx or IVX. You can also define your own counter (list style).

When the paragraph style is properly set, you promote or demote an item styled with this paragraph style by pressing Tab or Shift+Tab with the cursor positioned at left of first character of the item (i.e. immediately after the number/bullet).

If you want to experiment, there is a reduced procedure (but it is not recommended in a long-term maintained document because it introduces direct formatting which is difficult to detect and get rid of).

You can transform any paragraph into a list item with a toolbar button or Format>Lists>. The button drop-down menu allows to choose between several styles and formatting.

The bullet/number formatting created by the toolbar button(s) is under control of Format>Bullets & Numbering. I recommend you use only Position and Customize tabs because selecting a layout in other tabs pre-sets attributes in these two last tabs and messes up what you may have tuned before. Your tuning is to be then revised.

Possibilities are nearly infinite. Experiment.

I’ve already provided detailed instructions and explanations to similar requests. Search the site with keywords list or list style to collect the questions and their answers.

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In addition to @ajlittoz recommendations, you may be interested in checking this article about list numbering alignment: Numbered and bulleted lists alignment on LibreOffice Writer. Also, you can check chapter 7 of my free book about Writer :wink: