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How to set up numbered headings in Microsoft Word

Rachel Woolley
by Rachel Woolley

Numbered headings can be very useful for organising your document into sections. This article will cover using Word’s predefined numbered headings and setting up your own numbered heading scheme.

Before you start, check to make sure you are using Word’s built-in heading styles to format your document. This process won’t work if you’re formatting your headings manually.

Word heading styles

To use one of Word's built-in numbering schemes:

  1. On the Home tab in Microsoft Word locate the Paragraph section and select the Multilevel List option. Word multilevel list button
  2. Select one of the highlighted options to apply to your headings.
    Word multilevel list button

All the headings in your document will now follow the numbering system you have selected.

To set up headings in Word with your own customised numbering scheme:

  1. On the Home tab in Microsoft Word locate the Paragraph section and select the Multilevel List option. Word multilevel list button
  2. Select Define New Multilevel List…
    Define new multilevel list window
  3. Format the heading levels as desired in the Enter formatting for number field and click OK.

In the Define new Multilevel list window you can customise the format of each level of heading individually. You can choose between numbers, letters and roman numerals for each level, add extra words such as Chapter, Article or Appendix to the number formatting and select what parent heading numbers you want to include in a particular level of heading. I have included some examples of numbered headings you can use.

Define new multilevel list window example 1 Define new multilevel list window example 1 Define new multilevel list window example 1

All images in this article are screen captures of Microsoft Word 2010, but the process is the same in Microsoft Word 2013 and Microsoft Word 2007.

Once you've set up numbered headings you can coordinate page and caption numbers with your headings.

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