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I want to make an enumerated list in the following format:

[1] foo foo
[2] foo foo

How I can do that using enumerated lists? I have tried the following:

\begin{enumerate}[\left[ 1 \right]]

but it does not work.

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Not sure why you want to use the \left[...\right] construct, but note that you need to be in math mode to use that so you can use the solutions below with [label={$\left[\arabic*\right]$}]. – Peter Grill Jan 31 '12 at 17:03
up vote 37 down vote accepted

Use the enumitem package to format the enumerated list:

enter image description here

\usepackage{enumitem}% http://ctan.org/pkg/enumitem
  \item First item
  \item Second item
  \item \ldots
  \item Last item

Note that you are required to encase the optional argument in braces {...} since it contains square brackets; used in general for optional arguments and would otherwise "confuse" LaTeX.

If you want to make a global setting to your list (rather than the optional argument on a per-list basis), you can use

\setenumerate[1]{label={[\arabic*]}} % Global setting

or you could make your own list using


which would allow you to use

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The enumerate Package wants you to put those brackets into a group


\begin{enumerate}[ {[}1{]} ]
\item first
\item second

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Work like charm without adding new packages, thx – SocoM Jul 1 at 3:11


For the sake of completeness, if you want to change the list format without loading any packages, you can redefine \labelenumi as:


For deeper levels, just change the counter, i.e, i, ii, iii.

You might use in a local scope, otherwise this change will be reflected globally:


% global change


\item Juventus
\item Milan
\item Udinese



To use it locally, you might try:

\item Juventus   % [1] Juventus
\item Milan      % [2] Milan
\item Udinese    % [3] Udinese

\item Juventus   % 1. Juventus
\item Milan      % 2. Milan
\item Udinese    % 3. Udinese

Again, don't do this, use a package instead. I'd go with either enumitem or enumerate. :)

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+1 nice idea with the warning sign – Thorsten Jan 31 '12 at 12:43
@Thorsten: thanks! egreg suggested the text. :) – Paulo Cereda Jan 31 '12 at 13:10

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