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How to fix multilevel list in Word

Sometimes, it could be a gruesome experience fixing multilevel heading list in Word document. It is more so if the document contains hundreds of pages with multiple levels of headings.

In this article, I am going to discuss a few tricks to quickly get rid of such situations and streamline your document as quickly as possible.

I am assuming that you already know how to create multilevel list in Word (if not, please go through this article: http://wordknowhow.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/how-to-use-multilevel-numbered-headings-in-the-word/).

In your current document where the list numbering has gone haywire:

1.   Select the first heading level (Heading 1, Chapter 1, Topic 1, or whatever it is in your document) and then from the Word Ribbon, under the tab Home, within the group Paragraph, click the Multilevel List icon. A drop-down list appears. See below image:

2.   From the drop-down list, click the option Define New Multilevel List. Define New Multilevel List dialog box appears.


3.   From the dialog box, click the button More (available on the left bottom corner). The dialog box expands with additional fields.

At this juncture, understand that the main reasons for the numbered headings going out of order is because of missing links between heading levels you have applied in the document and corresponding default heading styles in Word. Therefore, we will restore the links using the Define New Multilevel List dialog box.

4.   In the dialog box, you can see the heading levels as 1, 2, 3,….9 on extreme left under the label “Click level to modify”. Assume that these are the heading levels in your document. Click heading “1” and then from the Link level to style drop-down list select Heading 1 style.


Similarly, restore connections for the rest of the heading levels in your document. Click OK.

This would mostly solve your problem.

In the next step, while keeping your heading 1 selected, click Alt+O+S. The Styles gallery dialog box appears.

1.   Locate your heading level 1 from the style list and place mouse cursor over it. The heading level gets selected.

2.   Click the down arrow button on the extreme right. A drop-down list appears.

3.   From the drop-down list, click the option Update Heading 1 to Match Selection. As a result, all the Heading 1s in your document will get streamlined in terms of consistent style and numbering.

Do the same for the rest of the heading levels in your document.


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