How to Adjust Bullet or Number List Indents in Microsoft Word

In Microsoft Word, you can adjust list indents to expand the space from the left margin or that between the bullet or number and the text.

Depending on the type of Word document you’re creating, there may be more to creating a list than, well, creating a list. Maybe you want to use custom bullets for some pizzazz, or perhaps you want to define your list style from the start.

Another change you may want to make when using a list in Microsoft Word is to adjust the indent for the bullet points or numbers. For instance, you can adjust how far the points are indented from the left margin or alter the distance between the text and the bullet points.

Here, we’ll show you how to change indents in Word for an entire list and a single item.

How to Adjust the Indent for an Entire List

Whether you have your list complete or you’re still adding items to it, you can change the indent at any time. You can adjust the indent for both bulleted and numbered lists.

To adjust list indents in Word:

  1. Select the bullets or numbers in the list. You can do this by clicking any one of them, which highlights them all.
  2. Right-click and select Adjust List Indents from the shortcut menu.
    Right-click and pick Adjust List Indents
  3. When the small window appears, you can make changes to any or all of the following list indent settings:
    • Bullet position: Enter a number or use the side arrows to determine how far the bullet point or list number will be positioned away from the left margin (in inches).
    • Text indent: Enter a number or use the side arrows to select the distance (in inches) away from the bullet or number that the text should appear.
    • Follow number with: This is what appears between the bullet or number and the text. By default, it’s a tab character, but you can pick Space or Nothing.
    • Add tab stop: If you want to add a tab stop, check the box and enter the measurement (in inches).
      Adjust List Indents
  4. After making your changes, click OK.

You should see your list update immediately with your adjustments.

How to Change the Indent for a Single List Item

If you only want to change the indent for one list item instead of the entire list, you have a few different ways to go about it.

To change a single list item indent in Word:

  1. Place your cursor next to the text for the list item.
  2. Go to the Home tab and click the arrow next to Multilevel List.
  3. Move to Change List Level and choose the level you want to use. Each group provides a different bullet or number.
    Change a list level from the ribbon
  4. Alternatively, right-click and select Multilevel List in the floating toolbar.
  5. Move to Change List Level and choose the level you want to use. Again, you’ll see a different bullet or number for each level.
    Change a list level from the toolbar
  6. Press your Tab key for the number of times you want to indent the list item. You move the item one list level with each key press and see a different bullet or number.

Change a list level with Tab

Changing List Indents in Word

By changing list indents in your Word document, you’re giving yourself additional ways to format your text. You may want to move your list further in from the left margin, add more space between the bullets and the text, or use a different level for one list item. You can make all of these changes quickly in your Word document using the steps outlined above.

For more, take a look at how to sort lists alphabetically or how to create a checklist in Word. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with future tutorials like this!

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