Tables with multilevel lists inside in Microsoft Word

Tables with multilevel lists inside are rather uncommon element of Microsoft Word documents, but sometimes this is the best solution, you can have. For example, when you need tree-like structure (multilevel list) on the left with additional columns to the right. But, in general, it is harder piece of cake to build and manage them.

Multilevel lists and long, multicolumn tables are itself objects hard to manage by Word. Having one inside second is often too much even for newest version and it can start acting strange in such situation.

One of such examples is when you split such table, containing multilevel list inside, and join it back or copy one of its parts to another table and try to join in. In most such situations, numbering parts (either numbered or alphabetical) become incorrect – i.e. “f” following “a” or similar. In most cases, simple solution like selecting “Continue Numbering” from context menu does noting special. I found a quick fix for similar situations, that I want to share here.

Let’s assume that you splited and joined table containg multilevel list, and your numbering got incorrect. For example, as above, directly after “a” you have “f” or any other letter except “b” (as supposed to be). For example:

a) item one
	- subitem
		* sub subitem
		* sub subitem
- subitem
- subitem

f) item two
	- subitem
		* sub subitem
		* sub subitem
- subitem
- subitem

I’m fixing such errors by doing following steps:

  1. Insert another table row directly below first list item with incorrect numbering (f) item two in above example).
  2. Word should maintains multilevel list and correct level, so new row (cell) should get g) item.
  3. Move text from first incorrect item to newly added item (from f) to g)).
  4. Move text from item above first incorrect to that one (from a) to f)).
  5. To the same with all subitems (of a)).

After this, you should have list looking like that:

a) 
f) item one
	- subitem
		* sub subitem
		* sub subitem
- subitem
- subitem
g) item two
	- subitem
		* sub subitem
		* sub subitem
- subitem
- subitem

Then click right mouse button near f) and select Restart from a from context menu. And finally remove obsolete (empty) first copy of a) item.

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