How to Stop Google Docs From Automatically Creating Number Lists


Google Docs has many cool features that make document creation easier. From auto spell check to auto-capitalization, there are a bunch of features that streamline writing for you. However, one such feature is automatic lists detection which can be a double edge sword.

Although it helps save time by automatically creating a list when you type a number with a full stop, some people may not like this feature if they use numbering without creating lists.

I for one, really dislike this feature since I write a lot of list-style articles where I want to number the items but don’t actually want to format them as a list by creating a space in the start. If you are like me and don’t want Google Docs to automatically create a number list whenever you put a number next to a heading, then keep reading and I’ll tell you how to disable this feature.

Disable Automatically Detect Lists Feature

This feature is actually part of preferences that also automate a bunch of other things in Google Docs, like auto-capitalization of words or auto-detection of links. You can disable this in the Google Docs preferences, here’s how:

Open a Google Docs document and click on the Tools menu at the top.

Afterward, select the Preferences option from it.

Here under the General tab, uncheck the checkbox next to the Automatically Detect Lists option and click on OK.


That’s it, now whenever you will number something it will not create a list out of it. You can always go through the same process again and enable the option to undo the changes.

Ending Thoughts

I always use the number lists button to create a numbered list in every app, so this automatic detection of lists is more of an annoyance than a convenience. It’s worth mentioning that if you use the backspace key when it tries to detect a list it will remove the list and it won’t try to detect it again. You won’t have to disable this automatic detection if you don’t mind hitting the backspace key once before adding numbers.

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