You’ve created a really long list of items in Word, and now discover you need to reverse the order. Do you manually move each item? Luckily, no. We’ll show you a trick for reversing a list in Word that works on numbered and bulleted lists.

When we talk about reversing a list, we mean that the last item becomes the first, the second to last item becomes the second, etc. For our example, we’ll use the short list of items shown in the above image. It’s probably just as easy to manually reorder or retype the list shown above, but this trick works with lists of any length–our four-item list is just a simple example. If you have a list with tens or even hundreds of items, this is a huge time saver.

How to Reverse a Numbered List

To reverse a numbered list in Word, select the list in your Word document and press Ctrl+C to copy it.

Place the cursor in the Word file where you want to put your reordered list, click the down arrow on the “Paste” button, and select “Paste Special” from the drop-down menu.

On the Paste Special dialog box, select “Unformatted Text” in the As box and click “OK”.

The text is pasted into the document without the formatting, so, the list is no longer a numbered list. The numbers are just text and each number and item is separated by a tab. (We temporarily turned on non-printing characters so you can see the tab characters (right arrows) between the numbers and the items in the image below.)

Now, we’re going to convert this list to a table so we can sort it, so, select the text you just pasted and click the “Insert” tab.

Click the “Table” button in the Tables section and select “Convert Text to Table” from the drop-down menu.

The Convert Text to Table dialog box displays. Click “OK” to accept the default settings.

The table is selected by default once you paste it. To reorder the items, we’re going to sort them based on the first column. To do that, leave the table selected and click the “Home” tab.

Click the “Sort” button in the Paragraph section.

On the Sort dialog box under Sort by, make sure “Column 1” is selected from the drop-down list and the “Descending” option is selected on the right. Click “OK”.

The rows in the table are reversed, as shown below. Select the first column in the table, right-click on it, and then select “Delete Columns” from the popup menu.

Now, we’ll convert the one-column table back to text. Select the table and click the “Layout” tab.

In the Data section, click “Convert to Text”.

Click “OK” to accept the defaults. Because there’s only one column, the character selected under Separate text with doesn’t matter.

After converting the table to text, the text should be automatically selected. Now that the order of the items is reversed, you can apply numbering to them again by clicking the ”Home” tab and then clicking the “Numbering” button in the Paragraph section.

Your numbered list is now reversed.

How to Reverse a Bulleted List

Reversing a bulleted list is also easy. All you have to do is change the bulleted list to a numbered list by highlighting the list and clicking the “Numbering” button in the Paragraph section on the Home tab. Then, follow the steps above for reversing a numbered list. Once the list is reversed, apply bullets to the items, rather than numbering.

Profile Photo for Lori Kaufman Lori Kaufman
Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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