It seems if you change the list style (e.g. Roman numbered, or square bullets) in Google Docs for a list at a certain level, other sub-lists at the same level are also changed. For example, you can't have:

  1. Seek
    1. thimbles
    2. care
  2. Pursue
    • forks
    • hope

as changing the first sub-list to numbered also changes the second, and changing the second sub-list to bulleted also changes the first. What are the possible ways of having sub-lists with different styles, changing both list type and marker?

2 Answers 2


There's an easier way, and it's so simple that I'm surprised it took me so long to figure it out!

To turn bullets into numbers:

  1. Highlight the list you want to change.
  2. "Unlist" it by hitting the bullet list icon to turn it into normal (paragraph) text.
  3. "Relist" it by hitting the numbered list icon.

Voila! That list, and only that list, is now a numbered list!

If the list is not at the number level you want (eg. it is now 1,2,3 ... but you actually want it to be a,b,c ...), keep it highlighted and:

  1. Go to Format > Bullets & numbering > List options.
  2. Select the number/letter format you want.

I'm pretty sure this general process would work to change numbers into bullets as well.

(Note: I found this thread by googling basically the same question. The answer above is great, but it didn't work for me since I was working with bulleted lists and wanted to change one sublist to numbers, and you can't "restart numbering" with a bulleted list.)

  • Welcome to SE. However, that this post is for top-level bulleted lists (and the method won't work for top-level numbered lists) means it doesn't answer the question above. You can ask a new question for your situation, and then answer it.
    – outis
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 19:00
  • Removing the list formatting from a sublevel inside a numbered list, and then re-adding list formatting of the (relatively recent) checkbox type worked for me. This is simpler to execute than the other "restart numbering" solution, and still appears to work just fine for numbered as well as bulleted lists.
    – dgw
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 20:53

You can't make a change of the set, because the whole subset is linked. This can be seen by clicking on the subset number:

First, you need to reset the main set to unlink the subset. This can be done by clicking behind the main set and restarting the numbering:

Now you can see that subset is not linked anymore:

And can be changed independently:

  • So the key is that restarting numbering on a numbered list can separate the style of that list and later sub-lists? And if the parent is a bulleted list, you have to change it to a numbered list, renumber and then change it back to a bulleted list?
    – outis
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 9:23
  • It looks like another key is that restarting numbering on the 1st element won't unlink the style, but will instead affect all other linked lists at the same level. Instead, a dummy element must be added before the element to change, which can be deleted after renumbering.
    – outis
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 9:29
  • Also, renumbering can be done by clicking twice (slowly, not double-clicking) on a list marker to select just it, then right-clicking for a context menu.
    – outis
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 9:33

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