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How to create and alter lists in AbiWord

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Create and edit lists in AbiWord

In complex legal documents an automatic list numbering system is invaluable. When items are inserted or deleted from the list the numbering is automatically updated. When using lists the formatting of both numbers and the list text is controlled by AbiWord.

It is generally recognized that bullet points look better when printed, but if you ever need to refer to "the eighth point down on page 10" in a meeting you will soon see the advantages of numbered lists.

AbiWord does not give all the sophistication of some commercial word processors but it has more than adequate list making capabilities.

There are two ways to do almost every thing in AbiWord and inserting lists is no exception. Starting Lists

  1. Click onto either of the list icons. This will convert the current paragraph into the first item of the list
  2. Pressing return will give the second item. If the cursor is in the middle of a block of text, text after the cursor will become the second item.
  3. Further items can be added in the same ways, until return is pressed twice.


  1. Select the "Format" pull down menu
  2. Select "Bullets and Numbering
  3. The menu allows selection of bullet points or numbered list, the list style and the format, for example I have the style set to "(L%)..." for this part of this document.
  4. Select "Apply" and select "Close".

Spacing between list items can be added by putting the cursor to the left of the item numbers in a finished list and pressing return. Extra space can be inserted by selection of "space before" before the list is entered. Adding Sub-lists

  1. Lists can be inserted by selecting the list icon on the tool bar
  2. From the menu Format and selecting "Bullets and Numbering"
  3. Sub-lists can be inserted by:
    1. Selecting the "Format" pull down menu
    2. Selecting "Bullets and Numbering"
    3. Choosing the desired options
    4. Clicking on "Apply"
    5. Clicking on close.
  4. Pressing return twice in any list or sub-list ends the list, and in the case of a sublist return control to one level higher in the list structure.

Changing Existing Lists

The real power of a word processor is its ability to change or adjust what has been typed to the screen. To add items in the middle of a list

  1. Place the cursor at the end of the list item before the place you want to add a new item.
  2. Press return to make a new entry. If the list is numbered, AbiWord automatically increases the numbers of later items in the list.

To add bullets (or numbers) to a list

  1. To add bullets (or numbers) to a list of items separated by returns highlight the list.
  2. Click on the appropriate list icon.

To remove bullets (or numbers) from a list

  1. Highlight the list
  2. Click on one of the list icons.

Removing and adding can also be done via the "Format" - "Bullets and Numbering" menu. To change from bullets to numbers (or numbers to bullets)

First remove the bullets (number) and then add the numbers (bullets). Attempting to change directly from one to the other may lead to unexpected results.


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