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Is it possible to start lists at a certain number, or alternatively, continue a previous list?

I want something like this:

Pets

  1. You could get a cat

  2. Or you could get a dog

Or some less legal options

  1. A tiger

  2. A bald eagle

And of course, if it doesn't have to be real

  1. A leprechaun

But I want to continue the number, so the last item is 5.

Can I do this, and if so, how?

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marked as duplicate by Shadow Wizard Jun 22 at 8:11

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
This really bugs me when using line breaks between bullet points since I like using whitespace. This is the #1 reason why I never use enumerated lists and stick with just the unordered lists. –  jmort253 Jun 22 at 5:40
    
@jmort253, true. Unfortunately, in my case I would like to refer the items later, preferably by number. –  Paul Draper Jun 22 at 5:41
1  
I'd definitely use enumerated lists more if this were to somehow get addressed. As an aside and definitely off-topic, this is one of my favorite answers on Stack Overflow: stackoverflow.com/a/19649601/552792 :) –  jmort253 Jun 22 at 5:43
    
This exceeds the original minimalist design goals of Markdown. Without switching to something like AsciiDoc, or creating another Markdown variant/extension, editors could drop back to HTML within their Markdown, except that the heavy-handed SE HTML tag whitelist blocks the start/value attributes: <ol start=3> <li>A tiger <li>A bald eagle </ol> Whitelists are an often superstitious defense, preventing innovation outside the original narrowly-defined capablities of a system, in my view. –  brianary Jun 22 at 7:38
    
While not direct duplicate (other one is about quoting) the answers are almost identical so marked as dupe. If you strongly disagree I'll reopen and let others judge. –  Shadow Wizard Jun 22 at 8:13
    
@ShadowWizard, it is similar feature, though I add an additional use case. To bad the question and answers haven't changed since 2011 :( –  Paul Draper Jun 22 at 13:52

2 Answers 2

You can't. Markdown sucks like that. The best you can do is circumvent the auto-numbering functionality by putting a backslash before the periods (and also tossing in some line-ending spaces to get newlines without new paragraphs):

Pets

1\. You could get a cat  
2\. Or you could get a dog

Or some less legal options

3\. A tiger  
4\. A bald eagle

And of course, if it doesn't have to be real

5\. A leprechaun

Renders as:

Pets

1. You could get a cat
2. Or you could get a dog

Or some less legal options

3. A tiger
4. A bald eagle

And of course, if it doesn't have to be real

5. A leprechaun

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I would definitely make more use of enumerated lists in questions and answers, if the numbers could be controlled. The primary reason I don't use them isn't because I'm breaking them up with text; instead, it's because I break them up with simple whitespace.

One of my pet peeves is text that looks too packed together. There's something elegant about a little bit of whitespace between items in a list, and for this reason, I use bulleted lists.

And while Senshin is right that this is a flaw in Markdown -- and also most WYSIWYG editors that have some form of enumerated list -- the Markdown libraries themselves are open source and extensible. This means Stack Exchange could theoretically solve this problem in the Markdown code and then subsequently publish the changes back into the open source community.

It wouldn't exactly match the spec, which means it would become something like Markdown but not true Markdown. However, if it fixes the problem and allows enumerated lists to be broken up with text and whitespace, then I believe it's a change worth at least investigating.

Lastly, I want to add that adding the backslash may prevent the numbers from automatically changing -- this is the same as what you see people oftentimes do with 1), 2), etc -- the thing to note is that the rendering is not an actual formatted list:

1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

2. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

vs.

  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

  2. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo.

As you can see, bulleted list and enumerated list formatting actually indents the text so the numbers/bullet points stand out.

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1  
Relevant feature request regarding forking markdown: meta.stackexchange.com/q/230014/224428 –  senshin Jun 22 at 5:49
1  
Yes, and SE has already expanded beyond standard markdown: tags, spoilers, etc. –  Paul Draper Jun 22 at 5:52

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