Lists

In PowerPoint lists make it easy for an audience to read what you're presenting. Learn about PowerPoint list level and other functions.

Introduction

To create effective PowerPoint presentations, it's important to make your slides easy for the audience to read. One of the most common ways of doing this is to format the text as a bulleted or numbered list. By default, when you type text into a placeholder, a bullet is placed at the beginning of each paragraph—automatically creating a bulleted list. If you want, you can modify a list by choosing a different bullet style or by switching to a numbered list.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn more about creating bulleted and numbered lists in PowerPoint.

To modify the bullet style:

  1. Select an existing list you want to format.
  2. On the Home tab, click the Bullets drop-down arrow.
  3. Select the desired bullet style from the menu that appears.
  4. The bullet style will appear in the list.

To modify a numbered list:

  1. Select an existing list you want to format.
  2. On the Home tab, click the Numbering drop-down arrow.
  3. Select the desired numbering option from the menu that appears.
  4. The numbering style will appear in the list.

To change the starting number:

By default, numbered lists count from the number 1. However, sometimes you may want to start counting from a different number, like if the list is a continuation from a previous slide.

  1. Select an existing numbered list.
  2. On the Home tab, click the Numbering drop-down arrow.
  3. Select Bullets and Numbering from the menu that appears.
  4. A dialog box will appear. In the Start At field, enter the desired starting number.
  5. The list numbering will change.

Modifying the list's appearance

Whether you're using a bulleted or numbered list, you may want to change its appearance by adjusting the size and color of the bullets or numbers. This can make your list stand out and match the appearance of your presentation.

To modify the size and color:

  1. Select an existing bulleted list.
  2. On the Home tab, click the Bullets drop-down arrow.
  3. Select Bullets and Numbering from the menu that appears.
  4. A dialog box will appear. In the Size field, set the bullet size.
  5. Click the Color drop-down box and select a color.
  6. Click OK. The list will update to show the new bullet size and color.

Customizing bullets

Customizing the look of the bullets in your list can help you emphasize certain list items or personalize the design of your list. A common way to customize bullets is to use symbols.

To use a symbol as a bullet:

  1. Select an existing bulleted list.
  2. On the Home tab, click the Bullets drop-down arrow.
  3. Select Bullets and Numbering from the menu that appears.
  4. A dialog box will appear. On the Bulleted tab, click Customize.
  5. The Symbol dialog box will appear.
  6. Click the Font drop-down box and select a font. The Wingdings and Symbol fonts are good choices because they have a lot of useful symbols.
  7. Select the desired symbol.
  8. Click OK. The symbol will now appear as the selected bullet option in the Bullets and Numbering dialog box.
  9. Click OK again to apply the symbol to the list in the document.

To change the distance between the bullets and the text, you can move the first-line indent marker on the Ruler. For more information, visit our Indents and Line Spacing lesson.

Challenge!

  1. Open our practice presentation.
  2. On the last slide, select all of the text in the bulleted list.
  3. Customize the bullets with the symbol of your choice.
  4. Change the bullet color to Olive Green.
  5. Change the bullet size to 115% of the text.
  6. When you're finished, your slide should look something like this (your symbol may vary):
    Lists Challenge