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One of the frustrating things I’ve found when working with lists is that any formatting used on one item is automatically carried over to every item on the list. Say you’ve made a list and you want to draw attention to a single item on that list. How do you do it?

Let me show you. Here’s a portion of my list of resolutions for 2016:


See what I mean? Word made all the numbers bold, but that’s not what I wanted. I just want the second one to be bold. I could instead try making the whole line bold, but that looks pretty awkward:


All that bold may call out the event Responza will be hosting in March, but it also takes away from my other goals for 2013. I just want to apply it to the number. Here’s how:

In the Paragraph group of the Home tab, click the Show/Hide button (it looks like a backwards capital P):


You’ll see all sorts of strange characters and symbols appear in your content, but don’t panic. Next, select the Paragraph mark at the end of the line of the number you’d like to format (you can accomplish this by either double-clicking the icon or clicking and dragging your mouse over it):


Perfect, almost there! Now, with the Paragraph mark selected, you simply apply whatever format you’re looking to use. In this case, I’m going to make the number bold and turn it orange:


Finally, you just click the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph group of your Home tab to get rid of those wacky symbols and characters:


And you’re all set! Now my attention is drawn to this item without detracting from the others, and it’s color-coded to remind me that it’s related to Responza.

You can apply different formatting to each item, and to sub-items too if you’d like:


Here I’ve added green for item number three (since it involves being outdoors), I’ve inserted an item that will help me achieve this goal (3a), and formatted this sub-item with yet another color (purple, because I know that there will be some pickup ultimate near the University of Washington campus).

It works for bullets too:


Customization is a beautiful thing when you’ve got a tool powerful enough to allow you to use it. Happy listing!