2. Bulletpoints

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Bulletpoints are used in almost every presentation and are very customisable, as you'll see in this lesson.

Lesson Notes


- Bulletpoints can indicate a lot of information about your content
- To add bullets to all of your text, select the shape and then add bullets
- To add bullets to specific lines, select these lines with your mouse and then add bullets
- Wingdings offers many helpful icons (e.g. tick marks) for great bullet styles

Useful keyboard shortcuts

TAB: Demote the selected line of text
SHIFT + TAB: Promote the selected line of text


Bullet points are included in almost every PowerPoint document. They have many uses. From numbering listed items, to identifying points as either positive or negative. Unfortunately most PowerPoint users limit their use of bullets to this standard circular format associated with the PowerPoint Office theme. But in fact, you have much more bullet options available than this, which I'm going to show you during the course of this lesson.

Let's start by adding a few more bullets to my slide. So I'll click at the end of the line, and then press enter, which automatically creates a new line with a bullet. And now I can simply start typing.

And I'll add a few more bullets, but to save some time, I'll do it off camera.

There we go. Now we're ready to change the format of our bullets.

To do this, we use two buttons in the paragraph section of the ribbon. The button on the right changes our bullets into numbers. Let's click on this drop down to see what options we have available. When we hover over each option, you can see that our text box changes accordingly to include these new bullets. Once we're happy with our selection, just click.

If you want to remove these bullets at any time, just re-click on this button to the left of the drop down.

If you'd just like to add numbers for the last four lines, we can simply select them, and now add our numbers to these lines.

If you want to change the size or color of the bullets, simply click on the drop down, go to bullets and numbering, we change the color to red, and we change the size to 80%. Click OK.

And now you can see our new bullets in place. Bullets automatically assume the same styling you have for your text. So if I bold the text, I also bold the bullets.

As you can see in this simple example, it's very easy to format numbered lists in almost any way you want. Now let's move on to the bullet drop down. So I'll select my four lines, and click on the other drop down button in the paragraph section of the ribbon. This initially provides me with seven bullet options. But there are many more than this available. If we click in Bullets and Numbering, and go to picture, PowerPoint has included lots of other bullet options that we can use. However I tend to ignore these options because they rarely look good on a page. So we'll cancel, and instead move to Customize, where there are a lot of great options available. The Customize dialog box allows you to use any symbol as a bullet. On the face of it, this might not look very good. But that's because we don't have Wingdings selected.

If we go down to the bottom of this drop down, and select Wingdings, you can see a lot of interesting icons that can be used as bullets. The two I use most often are the x and the tick mark. That might be found in your recently used symbols, or are available on the bottom row of Wingdings.

Let's click on the x and press okay.

We'll make sure the color is set to red, and then press okay again, and with this simple bullet change, our audience is now keenly aware that the four points in question are negatives. To make the bottom two lines positives, we select them, go back up to our bullets, go to Bullets and Numbering, change the color to green, go to customize, select the tick mark, and press okay.

And now we have a combination of two positives and two negatives.

Another option you might consider is selecting a bullet related to your industry. For example, if I was in the airline industry, Bullets and Numbering, Customize again, and at the top of the Wingdings option, we could select an airplane as our bullet.

Press okay, and okay again to see this in effect. Wingdings has literally dozens of symbols, so be sure to check it out to see what options are available for your business. Now that we know how to insert bullets in PowerPoint, let's learn how to align them.

Once I have my bullets selected, I then go up to the ruler above the slide, and then move these sliders to position the text and the bullets as I want.

Let's start by dragging the marker below the ruler.

As I drag this to the right, you can see that it moves both the bullet, and the text. Let's undo this change with Ctrl + Z.

If I move the bottom arrow, it just moves the text. And if I move the top arrow, it just moves the bullet.

Adjusting these markers will allow you to position bullets and texts in your text box any way you want.

Before I wrap up this lesson on bullets, I want to quickly cover two related commands. Promote and demote. In PowerPoint, text is arranged in various levels of indentation. In our example, the first line has a higher level of indentation than our four bullets. If you want to demote a line one level, you simply press Tab. So I select the bottom line, move to the left of the text, and press Tab.

Alternatively, you can press the demote tool button in the quick access tool bar. If you want to promote a line again, you simply press Shift and Tab.

I try not to have more than two levels of indentation on a slide, because it becomes much harder to read for the audience, however I've seen slides with four levels of indentations presented at conferences, so clearly not everybody is in agreement on this.


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