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I see that Google Docs has settings for customizing types of numbered lists, such as these settings::

Google Docs numbered list customizers

More Google Docs numbered list customizers

But I’m being asked to make all the numbered lists use the circled-type numbers, known as “circled digits” such as with the UTF "CIRCLED DIGIT ONE”

So my list should look like:

circled digit list

I can’t figure out how to do this. I can add custom bullet points with any character, but those, as bullet points, just repeat the same character for all items in the list.

I would love some way to either set the document’s numbered list to use this format (and then I can save it as a template), or even some way to make the document with a normal numbered list, then convert it somehow.

Right now, I’ve just been using keyboard shortcuts to convert my typed (1) into ①, etc. But of course those don’t follow the nice auto-indentation that a formatted list has.

Thank you

1 Answer 1

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But I’m being asked to make all the numbered lists use the circled-type numbers, known as “circled digits” such as with the UTF "CIRCLED DIGIT ONE”

Spoiler

I am not aware of a font in Google Docs that allows you to do this although there are ~1500 available so maybe one exists. If you are willing to use MS Word there is a font available that will do what you want.
 

Circled Number Lists in Google Docs

  • you should use a font as opposed to a symbol or Unicode in order to maintain the ordering
  • the font used needs to have circled numbers in place of regular numbers (or letters)
  • the font needs to be one of the fonts already included/supported by Google Docs

I am not aware of a Google Docs font that fits the bill however if you turn up a name of one that might work, you can compare it to the list of ~1500 fonts available in Docs. The free Extensis Fonts Add-On can make font name searching in Google Docs easier.
 

Circled Number Lists in MS Word

Microsoft Word 365 has more built-in functionality around list styles and can additionally leverage fonts installed on your PC which Google Docs does not do.

I found an OpenType (.otf) Windows font called Numberpile that is made up of circled numbers. The font is free and released under a Creative Commons CC0 1.0 license that allows you unfettered use even for commercial work.
 

MS Word: Approach 1

This approach leverages OpenType standard ligatures which enables creating circled numbers with this font by surrounding the number in parentheses. For example, typing (1) (2) (3) will map to

  • While the (#) custom format can be defined, the font cannot be applied as part of that as it seems that within the Define Format tool it is unable to interpret (#) as anything but 3 separate characters
  • Fortunately, it is not a lot of work to apply the font formatting when you insert the first (#) formatted bullet.
  • Word will then remember the font for subsequent lists

     

MS Word: Approach 2

This 2nd approach uses the mappings in the 'Numberpile Guide' included in the downloaded font package (also shown at the bottom). For example, A B C D maps to

  • when using this approach, the custom Number Format you define in Word should be set to start by default at B, since A maps to 
  • so would be mapped from B C D
     

Document Sharing: Doc / Word

If you are sharing the document with Google Doc and MS Word users, remember that they are unlikely to have the Numberpile font installed.

  • Depending on the approach used, they will see (1) (2) (3) or B C D instead of
  • Given that, it is best to use approach 1 as (#) will allow lists to start at (1) instead of B
     

Document Sharing: PDF

If distributing the document via PDF, the circled numbers will always display correctly, regardless of the approach used.
 

Images

Define a Number Format

 

Approach 1 - PDF (Font not Required)

 

Approach 1 - MS Word (Font not Installed)

 

Approach 2 - PDF (Font not Required)

 

Approach 2 - MS Word (Font not Installed)

 

Character Mapping Guide

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