Reordering Bulleted and Numbered Lists in Microsoft Word

World map outline on list of Index Prices
Adam Gault on Getty Images

Imagine going through all the trouble of creating a bulleted or numbered list in Microsoft Word and then realizing that you need it in the exact opposite order. Before you start all over again, let us tell you a way to reorder that list in an easy way.

Our method for reordering a list means that we are reversing it: the last item becomes the first item and so on. Our tutorial will pertain to the short list of items in the image above, although even longer lists will work with this method.

If you dont already have a list you can quickly add bullets or numbers to existing lines of text, or Word can automatically create lists as you type.

By default, if you start a paragraph with an asterisk or a number 1., Word recognizes that you are trying to start a bulleted or numbered list. If you don't want your text turned into a list, you can click the AutoCorrect Options button that appears.

Remember that by pressing the TAB  button, you can also indent your list if you need to quickly make multi leveled lists.  If you want to change your list style you can also select any number of different bullet options from the ribbon.

Reversing a Numbered List

The first course of action is highlighting and copying the items in your list (you can press and hold “Ctrl + C” for this.)

Next, think about where you want your reordered list to go and hover your cursor over the area. On the “Home” tab, go to “Paste” and click “Paste Special.

This will open the “Paste Special” menu box, where you can choose to paste the content as a link, picture, unformatted/formatted text, etc. Choose “Unformatted Text” and hit “OK.”

This will paste your content as unformatted text (in other words, it won’t be in list form anymore.) However, the numbers will still be next to the text, although there will be a large space separating them.

You’ll have to convert the content to a table in order to reorder it appropriately. Highlight the text and go to the “Insert” tab.

Go to “Table” then click on “Convert Text to Table” and look at the menu box that pops up. We suggest that you accept the default settings without changing anything and hit “OK.”

The table will be pasted into your Word document in reversed list format. You can reorder them by sorting the columns appropriately. Work on the first column by leaving everything in the table highlighted and going to “Home” then click on “Paragraph” then click on “Sort.” On the “Sort” menu box, look at the top left of the menu and make sure that “Sort by” is filled in with the option “Column 1.” To the far right of this option, make sure “Descending” is selected. Then hit “OK.”

This will reverse the rows in your table. Highlight only the first column (the numbers) and right-click. A pop-up menu will appear; choose “Delete Column.”

The next step is to reorder the text items in the table. Highlight the column of text items and go to “Layout” then click on “Data” then click on “Convert to Text.” Accept the default settings in the menu box and hit “OK.” Since you’re only dealing with one column, there is no need to worry about the “Separate text with” option.

Once your table has been converted to text, the text items will already be highlighted. You’ll notice that the text items are located beneath the numbered items. To number everything in list form again, go to “Home” then click on “Paragraph” then click on “Numbering.” Now the list is reversed.

Reversing a Bulleted List

To reorder your bulleted list, just change the bullets to numbers and repeat the method described above for reordering a numbered list. To change the bullets to numbers, highlight the list and go to “Home” then click on “Paragraph” then click on “Numbering.”