Sometimes, I want to have enumerate lists in LaTeX start at other than the first value (1, a, i, etc.) How can I make an enumerate list start at an arbitrary value?


You can change the counter named enumi, like this:

  \item fifth element

(If you have lists at deeper levels of nesting, the relevant counters are enumii, enumiii and enumiv.)

  • How do you start at (a) from the very beginning and not (1)? – John Molokach Jul 8 '15 at 15:23
  • @JohnMolokach See tex.stackexchange.com/questions/2291/… (look at top two answers at least). – ShreevatsaR Jul 8 '15 at 15:38
  • Thanks. I think for what I need, I'll just use \begin{enumerate} \begin{enumerate} lettered items \end{enumerate} numbered items \end{enumerate} – John Molokach Jul 8 '15 at 19:22
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    @JohnMolokach That will indent it an extra level, and make it look ugly. Better to do it right, e.g. simply \usepackage{enumerate} at the top and use \begin{enumerate}[(a)] etc. Anyway, it's up to you. This question was about starting at something other than the first index, e.g. starting at (e) instead of (a), but I can see how the title is ambiguous. – ShreevatsaR Jul 8 '15 at 19:25
  • If you want the first item to start at 0, you need to be sure to set the counter to -1. – Jonathan Geisler Sep 30 '19 at 3:40

The enumitem package provides a simple solution to very many common problems that are related to minor tweaks of enumerate/itemize/description. In this case, you can use the start parameter. Also have a look at the resume parameter.

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    I would just like to make explicit that the "resume" parameter causes the counter to continue from the previous "enumerate" environment. – Austin Mohr Jan 9 '14 at 5:37
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    To be more explicit "resume"parameter causes the counter to continue from the previous "enumerate" environment in the current block. For example \begin{enumerate} \item 1 \end{enumerate} \begin{defn} \begin{enumerate} \item 1 \item 2 \end{enumerate} \end{defn} \begin{enumerate} \item This will be 2 \end{enumerate} – Dr. Dinesh J. Karia Nov 16 '16 at 7:16
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    For people looking for a MWE using resume you can find one here – codeaviator Oct 3 '17 at 12:14
  • FYI: enumitem with \begin{enumerate}[resume] is nice but not compatible with the paralist package's compactenum environment. – orbeckst Sep 6 '19 at 17:27

If you only want to alter the starting value, the easiest way is:



  \item This item is numbered `42.'
    \begin{enumerate}\addtocounter{enumii}{5}% This cannot be more than 25
      \item This one is ``numbered'' `(f)'


While you can have six layers of nested list environments (itemize, description, enumerate), you can have no more than 4 of one type. The counters enumi through enumiv control the index of each item's label. You can increment (as shown) or decrement (add a negative value) all 4 levels.

Note, though, that this won't be entirely arbitrary. Levels enumerated alphabetically cannot have items after an item labeled 'z.' (You could, however, add a negative amount to the appropriate counter to get it back to the `a' label.)

(Now that I see the other answer, I wonder why I always opt for the relative \addtocounter rather than the absolute \settocounter?)

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    \addtocounter is safer in that it ensures monotonicity when used mid-list. – equaeghe Mar 19 '14 at 10:22
  • Doesn't work with 0. – Vorac Feb 25 '18 at 16:32
  • +1: It also works with beamer. – Matthias Braun Feb 6 at 16:18

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