The site help says that making bulleted or numbered lists is easy, but I can't get it to work. I tried typing up a list then applying the list style to it, but it just numbered the whole list "1" and ran it all in. Then I tried starting a list and typing multiple lines, but it only numbered the first one.

Would someone please give a complete dummy's absolute newbie's guide to how to enter a list on this site? Like exactly what to type and when and where to type it? Usually I'm pretty good at this stuff, but the list function here has got me beat.


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  • can you give an example of your list, we can see if we can get it working nicely in an answer here – Malachi Mar 26 '15 at 21:17
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    I find that the auto-format buttons don't work very well for making lists. It's just easier to type the markdown yourself. – 3961 Mar 26 '15 at 22:52
  • just a small suggestion, if you're learning the basics of Stackexchnage, I'd suggest you better get started from this meta.stackexchange.com, about the features especially, most of the newbie topics got covered in there. – servantofWiser Apr 1 '15 at 16:40

The way to do a numbered list is like this:

1. one  
 1. sub 1  
 1. sub 1  
1. two
1. three
  1. one
    1. sub 1
    2. sub 2
  2. two
  3. three

You can use whatever numbers you want, but markdown is going to re-write them all and do its own counting so using 1. for all of them can make it easier to edit and add/remove points without creating a numbering mismatch between the source and the rendered version.

You must have a space after the period and don't indent or add spaces before the list numbers. This is the same for unordered lists.

 - one
  - a
  - b
 - two
 - three
  • one
    • a
    • b
  • two
  • three

In either kind of list you can indent the second level by adding an extra space at the beginning of the line.

To put more that one line (i.e. paragraph) under a single list item, you have to semantically connect the two paragraphs using spaces. Start related paragraphs that stay under the numbered item or bullet point by beginning each paragraph with three spaces for each level of indent.

1. List item one.

   Next paragraph still under item 1 indented three spaces.

1. List item two.
  1. List item one.

    Next paragraph still under item 1 indented three spaces.

  2. List item two.

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    In fact, the fact that Markdown automatically numbers the list can be somewhat bothersome at times. That said, good answer. :) – El'endia Starman Mar 26 '15 at 21:33
  • thank you for the Edit. my brain is fried today, is it Friday yet, @El'endiaStarman? lol – Malachi Mar 26 '15 at 21:34
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    @El'endiaStarman: 4\. is your friend. – Jon Ericson Mar 26 '15 at 22:22
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    Thanks. So basically, you just type in the list manually, but for a bulleted list you use hyphens instead of bullets? Then what are the buttons for? I used a numbered list in my answer here: What is source of myth that the deceased become angels? and just typed it in manually. – Lee Woofenden Mar 27 '15 at 3:55
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    You can add extra lines as part of a number or bullet. Just end each line with 2 spaces (including on blank lines between paragraphs) and indent subsequent paragraphs 3 spaces per level of current indent. – Caleb Mar 27 '15 at 4:28
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    I just used this info to get the formatting I wanted in this answer to the question, "What does it mean to say 'Jesus died for our sins'?" So I'm coming back here to mark this as my accepted answer. Thanks again! – Lee Woofenden Mar 31 '15 at 1:19
  • glad that we could help @LeeWoofenden – Malachi Mar 31 '15 at 13:09

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