MS Word heading styles are showing black boxes instead of numbers--how can I fix this?

I modified the default headers for a large document. They looked fine when I set them up, but after I saved the document and came back to it, some of the outline numbering showed up as black boxes. The instructions for setting up list styles was very confusing. I had particular trouble selecting the multilevel outlining--it keeps going back to the default setting.


Question Info

Last updated June 24, 2019 Views 39,519 Applies to:

For blacked out heading numbering

The problem occurs because the font characteristics in the list template have become corrupted.  It can be fixed by running a macro containing the following code:

For Each templ In ActiveDocument.ListTemplates

For Each lev In templ.ListLevels


Next lev

Next templ

Hope this helps,
Doug Robbins - Word MVP
Screen shots by Snagit from

349 people were helped by this reply


Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.