Creating a multi-level numbered headings in Word might seem to be a bit tricky for the first time users. Nevertheless, if you know the correct procedure, this would cease to be a problem. The following procedure may help you in this regard:

The Procedure

Firstly, we will define the numbering for the heading levels using a multilevel list.

1.     Open the Word document in which you want to apply numbered headings.

2.     From the Ribbon, under the tab Home and within the group Paragraph, click the Multilevel List icon multi list button .  A drop-down menu appears.

(Click the image to view in full screen)

define new multi level list

2.     From the drop-down menu, select the option Define New Multilevel List (see bottom of the menu). The “Define New Multilevel List” dialog box pops up.

3.     Click the More button  (Picture1)  available at the bottom of the dialog box. The dialog box expands to show additional fields (see below image).

define new multi level list dialog


Create First Level Heading   (or define number format for the first level heading)

4.     Click level “1” from Click level to modify selection box (on the top left hand side of the dialog box).

5.     From the drop-down list named Link level to style, select “Heading 1”.  This way, you are linking heading level “1”  (that you will use in your document) to Word’s default Heading 1 style from the Styles gallery. Later, you can modify style for each heading as you wish.

6.     In this step, enter a numbering format for your heading level 1 in the field Enter formatting for number from the drop-drop-down list Number style for this level. So, the format you select from the drop-down list will appear in the Enter formatting for number field. You can delete the default number format appearing in the Enter formatting for number field and choose your own.

a.    You can reset the value in the Enter formatting for number field by selecting a value from the spin box Start at.
b.    If you find the field Number style for this level as disabled, clear the check box Legal style numbering.
Creating Second Level Heading

7.     Similarly, select level “2” from Click level to modify selection box.

8.     Link level 2 to Word’s default Heading 2 by selecting “Heading 2” from the Link level to style drop-down list.

9.     Delete whatever appears (by default) in the field Enter formatting for number to apply a new number format. From the field Include level number from, select Level 1 (as a prefix) for the second level heading. Apply a dot (.) or anything you would like after the prefix number. I prefer a dot.

10.     After a dot (.)select a numbering format for the Level 2 heading (e.g. 1.1). You are done.

11.     Similarly, you can keep adding levels as needed. While creating the third heading, select Level 1 and Level 2 headings as prefixes from the Include Level Number from field and then select a number format for the Level 3 heading (e.g. 1.1.1 ).

The following example shows how to construct the Heading level 4.


Once you are done with defining number format for all headings, you can view the same being updated in the Styles gallery, under the tab Home, within the group Styles in the Ribbon. Or, you can open the Styles window by press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+S.

Now, select text in your document (which you want as a heading) and then click the relevant heading style (which you have just created) from the gallery.

Please note that you may not see complete multilevel heading levels (that you have just created) in the gallery depending on the configuration of the Style Pane Options. You can open the Style Pane Options dialog box by clicking the Options link available at the bottom of the Styles gallery pane. See below image.


The Style Pane Options window appears. Click Select styles to show drop-down list and select the option All Styles from the list. Click OK. Now you can view all the 9 heading levels with multilevel numbering in the Styles gallery.
Modify the appearance of the headings

You can modify the style (font, numbering, etc.) of the headings from the styles gallery by selecting Modify from the right-click menu of each heading and then clicking the Untitled button from the Modify Style dialog box.

For example, if you want your Heading 1 to have font “Cambria”, font size “14”, Bold, color Blue then configure these in the Modify Style dialog box as shown in the following screenshot.


You can also apply these style by clicking the Format  button available at the bottom of the Modify Style dialog box and then clicking the Font from the sub-menu. This will display the Font dialog box where you can apply font styles for Heading 1.

Similarly, you can modify other properties of the headings by selecting the appropriate options from the Format sub-menu.

Please let me know in the comment section if you have any difficulty understanding the procedure or if you have any other queries. Thank you.

About wordknowhowhttp://wordknowhow.comStarted this blog site as an effort to help people with Microsoft Word. Feel free to post your comment, queries, suggestions, etc. Will try my best to help you out!!

6 thoughts on “How to create Multilevel List in Word 2007

  1. I’m trying to create an ordered list using 2 headings and 3 non-heading styles. Is this possible? Your procedure requires that I make all my levels heading styles, but I want the last 3 levels to be other styles because I don’t want Keep with Next.


    • You can keep any style….not necessarily follow the same numbering pattern….e.g. for the third level, you can select ‘A’, ‘a’, 1st, One, First, or you can create your own customized level. Anything is possible.

  2. How do you edit just a couple of levels in an existing multi-level list? I don’t want to have to create it from scratch, I just have some trailing ‘.’ in my 3rd and 4th levels I want to get rid of. Recreating the list from scratch shouldn’t be needed.

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