How to Disable Bullets & Numbering in OpenOffice

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OpenOffice Writer 4.1.1 creates a numbered or bulleted list automatically when you enter certain characters followed by text. If you enter a number, a period and a space followed by some text, Writer creates a numbered list. If you enter a hyphen, a plus sign or an asterisk, followed by a space and then text, Writer creates a bulleted list. You can disable this behavior in the AutoCorrect Options dialogue box. To control bulleted and numbered lists on a case-by-case basis, use the Paragraph Properties dialogue box and the Bullets and Numbering floating toolbar.

Disable automatic numbering in the AutoCorrect Options dialogue box.
(Image courtesy of Apache)
Step 1

Select the “Format” menu, “AutoCorrect” and then choose “AutoCorrect Options” from the drop-down menu to open the AutoCorrect dialogue box.

Open the AutoCorrect dialogue box.
Image courtesy of Apache
Step 2

Uncheck the “Apply Numbering -- Symbol: ” option and the "Replace Bullets With: " option. Click "OK." If you deselect only the first option, Writer still creates bulleted lists if you start a phrase with an asterisk and a space, followed by text.

Uncheck the auto numbering and replace bullets options.
Image courtesy of Apache
Step 3

Test the automatic numbering by entering some text. The new setting does not apply to an existing numbered or bulleted list -- which continues to auto-number -- but it does apply to any new lists you create.

Test the automatic numbering by entering some text.
Image courtesy of Apache
Step 1

Click inside an existing numbered or bulleted list to display the Bullets and Numbering toolbar, which automatically launches when the cursor is inside any list.

Launch the Bullets and Numbering toolbar.
Image courtesy of Apache
Step 2

Click the “Numbering Off” button on the toolbar to turn off numbering for the line in which you placed your cursor; in this case, the first line.

Click the “Numbering Off” button on the toolbar.
Image courtesy of Apache
Step 3

Turn off numbering for all the lines by selecting all the lines and then clicking the “Numbering Off” button. All the lines revert to a regular paragraph style with no number or bullet. Because the text is no longer a list, clicking in it or selecting it does not launch the Bullets and Numbering toolbar.

Turn off numbering for all the lines by selecting all the lines.
Image courtesy of Apache
Step 4

Create a bulleted or numbered list by selecting the text and clicking either the “Bullets” button or the “Numbering” button in the Paragraph Properties dialogue box. Once the text has been formatted as a list, you can again activate the Bullets and Numbering toolbar by clicking anywhere inside the list.

Create a bulleted or numbered list.
Image courtesy of Apache

Tips & Warnings

  • Other options in the Format menu's AutoCorrect drop-down menu can control numbering and bullets, based on your AutoCorrect settings for the “Apply Numbering -- Symbol: *” and "Replace Bullets With: *" options. For example, if you re-enable these options and then choose "Apply" from the drop-down menu, Writer automatically formats the document based on your AutoCorrect settings -- creating bulleted or numbered lists for any text with the required characters. The option "While Typing" automatically formats the document as you type, while "Apply and Edit Changes" applies the formatting and then opens a dialogue box in which you can selectively accept or reject the formatting changes.
  • You can also access the AutoCorrect dialogue box from the Tools menu by selecting “Tools” and then “AutoCorrect Options.”
  • If you are creating a list, you can exit the list and return to your regular paragraph style by pressing the “Enter” key twice.
  • OpenOffice’s auto-numbering and bulleting options apply only to three paragraph styles: Default, Text Body and Text Body Indent. So, rather than disabling the option completely, you could instead create a new paragraph style of a different name, and automatic numbering or bullets won't apply to it, whatever your settings.

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