Add multilevel lists in Word 2010 (nested bullets or numbers)

The two previous tutorials explained how to add bulleted lists and insert numbered lists inside your text documents in Word 2010 (this tutorial assumes that you already know how to do that). But Microsoft Word also supports "multilevel lists", or "nested lists" - in other words, adding sub-lists of items in another list, and even having several levels in depth! In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a sub-list (and sub-sub lists!) with a couple of keystrokes. We'll also explain how to customize the bullet types each list level uses, and how to apply re-usable style templates for your nested lists in the entire document.

 

Insert sub-lists (bulleted or numbered)

Start by creating a sample bulleted list ("unordered") or numbered list ("ordered") inside your document; three items will be enough. Once ready, follow these simple steps:

Tip: you can of course follow these same steps to create a "sub-sub-list" of items. From a regular nested list, hit Enter to add a new item, and press Tab.

Customize bullets / numbers in nested lists

Just as you can with regular numbered or bulleted lists, Word 2010 allows you to customize the bullets or numbering scheme to use; you can use a different bullet style for each level of nested list, and you can even use a mix of numbers / letters / and symbols (think of a nested legal document). Example:
Insert multilevel nested lists in Word 2010 Notice that each level in the screenshot above uses its own bullet type, including numbers!

Tip: to arbitrarily skip levels for a bullet point in your list, click on the "Multilevel List" button (screenshot in next paragraph), and manually select a level for the current item by clicking on the "Change List Level" submenu.

Assign themes + Create custom list styles

Word 2010 has a "Multilevel List" button under the "Home" tab, which allows you to pick from a number of predefined nested bullet types. Click on it, and choose a style to apply from the thumbnails:
Pick a style theme from the Multilevel List button You can click on a thumbnail to preview its effect (while the cursor is inside your nested list), and then simply hit Ctrl+Z to undo the change if you don't like the result.

Create a custom multilevel list style

You'll find two buttons at the bottom of the "Multilevel List" dropdown menu:
Define custom styles for nested / bulleted numbered lists

We won't get into the specifics of these dialogs, since they are rather intuitive, but we thought you should at least be aware that they exist - whether you are creating an extremely long document that re-uses stylistic elements, or are a professional writer, author, or journalist who needs to comply with non-standard formatting guidelines, these customize-and-save settings are a great timesaver!

Related Tutorials:
- Bulleted Lists
- Numbered Lists
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