LibreOffice Writer, Word 2016 offer many list styles for document designers

The addition of lists to word processors have helped writers keep their readers engaged in their articles and other documents. Different documents have different themes, and many word processors have different styles of bullets and numbering to fit with the variety of documents.

Bullets and numbering lists break down information in documents and make them easier to read. Bullets and numbering can be combined to create multilevel lists.

LibreOffice and Microsoft Word have various styles and features for bulleted and numbering lists. This article will compare list styles for LibreOffice Writer and Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows.

LibreOffice
LibreOffice has thousands of bullets and numbering choices. The easiest way to insert a list is to click either the bulleted or numbered icons in the Formatting toolbar.

Clicking the icons themselves insert a basic point or number.

Bulleted and Numbering icons in Formatting toolbar in LibreOffice Writer
Clicking these two icons insert the default bullet or numbering points into a document. The drop-down menus reveal more choices.
  • The standard bullet looks like this.
  1. The standard number looks like this.

These two items have drop-down lists with eight items each associated with them. Click the arrow to the right of each icon to reveal the menu.

The bulleted items are, going from left to right in the top row, followed by the second row:Bulleted drop-down list in Formatting toolbar in LibreOffice Writer

  • Solid small circle bullets
  • Solid large circle bullets
  • Solid diamond bullet
  • Solid large square bullets
  • Right pointing arrows filled out
  • Right pointing arrow bullets
  • Check mark bullets
  • Tick mark bullets

The numbered items are, going from left to right in the top row, followed by the second row:Numbering drop-down list in Formatting toolbar in LibreOffice Writer

  1. Number 1) 2) 3)
  2. Number 1. 2. 3.
  3. Number (1) (2) (3)
  4. Uppercase Roman number I. II. III.
  5. Uppercase letters A) B) C)
  6. Lowercase letter a) b) c)
  7. Lowercase letter (a) (b) (c)
  8. Lowercase Roman numbers i. ii. Iii.

These can be applied to a current paragraph or a new paragraph. For a current paragraph, click in the desired paragraph and do the following:

  • Click either the Toggle Bulleted List or the Toggle Numbered List in the Formatting toolbar.

    Bullets and Numbering dialog in LibreOffice Writer
    The dialog has six tabs. Bullets and Numbering are the same as the icons in the Formatting toolbar. The Outline, Image, and Customize tabs have many more options for styles.
  • If you want to to use one of the other choices.
    1. Click either arrow.
    2. Click the desired bullet style or number style.

The current paragraph now has a bullet point or a number to the left of it. It will be indented like a number or bulleted point.

As mentioned at the beginning of this section, there are many more choices than the 16 options. They can b e accessed through the Bullets and Numbering dialog. The dialog can be opened the following ways:

  • By clicking More Bullets or More Numbering at the bottom of the lists for the Toggle Bulleted List or the Toggle Numbering.
  • By right clicking on a paragraph and selecting Bullets and Numbering item.
  • By clicking the Format menu, then clicking the Bullets and Numbering item in it.

This dialog has six tabs. Five of those tabs gives you options for different bullets and numbering styles. The Position tab doesn’t allow you to choose a style.

The Bullets and Numbering tabs are the same choices that are in the drop-down menu for the two icons in the Formatting toolbar. Outline, Image, and Customize are the tabs that have additional choices.

Outline has eight choices. Six of them are are a mixture of numbering and bulleted choices. The other two have numbering at each one of its levels.

The Image tab has 92 choices. These are images that come with your LibreOffice installation.

  1. Click the desired image that you want to use as a bullet point.
  2. Then click the OK button.

The selected image will now be used as a bullet point for the current paragraph or a new one. When you press the Enter or Return key, the new paragraph will have the graphic as a bullet point. This graphic will be used in subsequent paragraphs until you deactivate bulleted lists.

  1. Click the Return or Enter key to start a new bulleted paragraph.
  2. Click the Toggle Bulleted icon in the Formatting toolbar. The bullet point will disappear and the cursor will not be indented.
    • You also can deactivate bulleted formatting by pressing the Enter or Return key twice.

The last tab, Customize, is where you have many more choices. It has several drop-down menus that change based on what you choose in the Number drop-down menu.

First, the level in the list needs to be selected. You can change the bullet or numbering point for one of 10 levels or all 10 levels.

To do this click the desired level in the Level column. Then select one of the items in the Number drop-down list. The other items in the tab changes based on this choice.

  • Bullet has different settings than the other choices.
  • Graphics and linked graphics have the same settings.
  • None and the number and letter choices have the same settings.

Bullet

LibreOffice Writer: Choosing a special character as a bullet point from OS-College on Vimeo.

This choice allows you to choose from the myriad of characters found in the Special Characters dialog.

The Character style drop-down menu allows you to select how the bullet will look it. There are 27 styles to choose from.

For Character, there is a Select button that launches the Special Characters dialog that has thousands of characters.

Graphics and Linked graphics
These two choices have the following settings:

LibreOffice Writer: Using graphics as bullet points from OS-College on Vimeo.

  • Graphics
  • Width
  • Height
  • Alignment

Graphics
This has a select drop-down list that allows you to choose from your computer’s directory (From file) or from the Gallery.

  • The Gallery lists all 92 of the bullets that are in the Image tab.
  • From file opens a dialog that allows you to find a graphic in your hard drive or connected drive to use as a bullet point.

Width and Height
These two settings allow you to change the size of the of the graphic in inches. Either type the dimensions in the textbox or use the up and down arrow buttons. Each click adjusts the measurement by .05 inches.

The Keep Ratio check box will change one measurement when the other one is adjusted, so the proportional size of the graphic remains the same.

Alignment
This drop-down menu has nine choices that sets where the graphic bullet point will be in relationship to the text that follows it.

  • Top of baseline
  • Center of baseline
  • Bottom of baseline
  • Top of character
  • Center of character
  • Bottom of character
  • Top of line
  • Center of line
  • Bottom of line

This will set the desired graphic. The box at the right of the dialog gives you a preview. Click the OK button when you are done.

None and the number and letter choices

LibreOffice Writer: Numbers and None setting in the Customize tab from OS-College on Vimeo.

These settings allow you to choose from many numbering choices and allows you to apply them to the sub-levels.

The Start at text box allows you to set what number the list begins at. If you choose an alphabetical character, it will start at the letter corresponds with the number.

  • For example, if capital English letters are selected in the Number drop-down menu and 5 is entered in the Start At text box, the starting number will be “E”. If Start At is set to 27, then the first point will be “AA”.

Character style, as mentioned in the previous section, allows you to set how the character looks. There are 27 styles to choose from.

If you have two or more sub-levels set to none, number, or letter, this text box will be activated. Sub-levels will include the numbers and/or letters of the higher levels.

  • For example, a second level item that is set to a capital letter would be 1.A, if the higher level item was the first in the list.

The Separator text boxes allows you to type the characters that appear before and after each number.

The box at the right of the dialog gives you a preview. Click the OK button when you are done.

Microsoft Word for Windows
There are three icons for list located in the Home ribbon:

Bullets, numbering, and multilevel list icons in Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows
The three icons to create lists are located in the Home ribbon. Clicking the icon inserts the default bullet or number style. Like the LibreOffice icons, they each have drop-down menus associated with them.
  • Bullets
  • Numbering
  • Multilevel lists

Each one will insert the standard list for its type and each one has a drop-down arrow associated with it. Like LibreOffice’s lists, each one has eight choices and links to define your style for each one.

The Bullet and Numbering list are also found in the Context menus, when you right-click in a document. They also have links to define a new bullet or number format.

When you click Define new bullet, Define new number list, or Define new multilevel list, an associated dialog opens.

Define New Bullet
The dialog has three buttons that allow you to set the symbol and character style. It also has a drop-down menu that lets you change the alignment.Define Bullet List in Microsoft Word

Symbol
This button opens the Symbols dialog, which is similar to LibreOffice’s Special Characters dialog. It allows you to choose from thousands of characters to use as a bullet point.
The Font button opens the dialog to change the font, its size and style. The button becomes active when one of the normal bullet points is selected or one of the symbols from the Symbol dialog is selected.

Picture
This button opens a dialog that lets you choose an image from your computer’s directory or perform a Bing search to find one.

An endless number of keywords can be used to find images with the Bing search. The images you find are typically too large to be used as a bullet point. Word will shrink the image so it works as a bullet point.

Insert Picture dialog in Microsoft Word

  1. Type the keyword(s) in the search field next to the Bing section.
  2. Click the magnifying glass icon or press the Return or Enter key on your keyboard.
  3. You can use the filters to narrow the results further.
  4. When you find the desired artwork, click it.
  5. Click the Insert button.

From file is just like the From file choice in LibreOffice when you select Graphics in the Number drop-down list. It allows you to search your computer’s directories for a desired image. Like images found in the Bing search, the images found in your directory will be shrunk to work as a bullet point.

When you find the desired artwork or picture, click the Insert button.

The images will be repeated for each bullet point.

  1. Click the Return or Enter key to start a new bulleted paragraph.
  2. Click the Toggle Bulleted icon in the Formatting toolbar. The bullet point will disappear and the cursor will not be indented.
    • You also can deactivate bulleted formatting by pressing the Enter or Return key twice.

Alignment
The drop-down menu has three choices:

  • Left
  • Centered
  • Right

Define New Number FormatDefine Numbering List in Microsoft Word
This is launched when you click Define Number Format in the Numbering drop-down menu.

It has a Number style drop-down list that has several number and letter choices. The None choice allows you to type your own letter or number style in the Number style text box.
The Font button opens the Font dialog.

The Alignment drop-down has three choices:

  • Left
  • Centered
  • Right

Click the OK button when you are done.

Define new Multilevel listDefine Multilevel List in Microsoft Word
This is launched when you click Define New Multilevel List in the Multilevel List drop-down menu.

The dialog lets you choose levels one through nine. The Number style for this level allows you to set the number style for each level.

  1. Select the desired level in the Click level to modify column.
  2. Click the desired style in the Number style for this level drop-down menu.
  3. If you want to include the numbering from higher levels, click the level in the Include level number from drop-down menu.

The other settings in this dialog adjust the indentation of each level and their alignment.

Conclusion
Both LibreOffice and Word 2016 for Windows have thousands of choices for bullets and numbering. Word’s advantage for artwork bullets is that it has a Bing search built into the word processor, and it automatically resizes images you find to a small bullet size.

Writer does not have this, but this is easy to overcome. Simply perform a Web search for images using Google, Bing , or another search engine. Then download the image and use the Bullets and Numbering dialog to insert the image and resize it.

Word does not allow you to control the size of images used as bullet points. Writer, on the other hand, has the height and width text boxes, tat allow you to increase the size of images. This makes LibreOffice more flexible than Word in dealing with bulleted images.

As far as numbering, both word processors are about equal. Writer has many more choices in its Number drop-down list than Word has in its Number Style drop-down menu. Word, however, lets you type your own numbering format when None is chosen in the drop-down menu. This means you can use any character that you can type with a keyboard.

Writer gives you more control over placing numbers or bullets in a multilevel list than Word.

For the most part, Word and LibreOffice Writer can recognize each others graphics and characters when they open a document created by the other. You could use both to create lists and stylize them as desired.

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