I would like to create a list that looks as follows:

  1. Main item 1
    1a. Sub item 1a
    1b. Sub item 1b
  2. Main item 2
    2a. Sub item 2a
    2b. Sub item 2b
    2c. Sub item 2c
  3. Main item 3
    3a. Sub item 3a
  • For those that aren't attached to this formatting but are wondering why Libreoffice isn't using subcategories, Libreoffice calls this an "Outline List" style. On my system the toolbar only has a "Bulleted List" and "Numbered List" styles. I ended up customizing the toolbar to add the "Outline List" button. After using this style you'll be able to use <Tab> as @Mandar describes.
    – Usagi
    Nov 7, 2021 at 21:53

2 Answers 2


The nested list can be created similarly in LibreOffice Writer.

In LibreOffice Writer, type relevant text. In this answer, I have typed everything: main items and sub items in respective rows. The sublevels can be changed later.

Main item 1
Sub item 1a
Sub item 1b
Main item 2
Sub item 2a
Sub item 2b
Sub item 2c
Main item 3
Sub item 3a

After finish typing, highlight those text. Open the context menu by right-click or the reverse, then select Bullets and Numbering... (or from menu bar: Format > Bullets and Numbering...)

In "Bullets and Numbering" window, do the following:

  1. In Numbering tab, select Number 1. 2. 3. (from top-left, the second option)
  2. In Customize tab, under Level: 2 and under Numbering, select Number: a, b, c, ... and change Show sublevels: 2
  3. In Position tab, under Level: 2 and under Position & Spacing, change Tab stop at: 0.35 " and change Indent at: 0.35 " similarly
  4. Click OK to finish

Following above steps will give a simple, one-level list:

1. Main item 1
2. Sub item 1a
3. Sub item 1b
4. Main item 2
5. Sub item 2a
6. Sub item 2b
7. Sub item 2c
8. Main item 3
9. Sub item 3a

Finally, do tabbing: Place a cursor at the beginning of text "Sub item", then press Tab key once. Repeat tabbing for other instances. This will realign and renumber 2. to 1.a. and so forth.

Tabbing all "Sub item" will give the nested list.

1. Main item 1
    1.a. Sub item 1a
    1.b. Sub item 1b
2. Main item 2
    2.a. Sub item 2a
    2.b. Sub item 2b
    2.c. Sub item 2c
3. Main item 3
    3.a. Sub item 3a

Some discrepancies:

  • The indentation in step 3 is to ensure the sub items are aligned properly when sublevels option is more than 1. The default alignment is off for some reason.
  • The actual result 1.a. in this answer is slightly different from the desired result 1a. in the question. This is probably a limitation or a feature to distinguish the numbering for each level in LibreOffice. The period in between can not be removed based on my testing.

Tested with LibreOffice 5.4 on Linux.


It's possible. Just press Tab after coming to next line.


  1. This is my first bullet point (Press Enter, and then press Tab)
    1. If you press Tab, you'll get a subpoint
  • Alas mine are not indented.
    – user7543
    Mar 7 at 9:28

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