Insert bullets and numbering

Many slides make use of standard bullet points. Words or phrases are enumerated in order and a period is placed at the very front so that everyone knows: this is an enumeration! To customize a presentation a bit we can use from a variety of exciting alternatives like symbols or numbers. Bullets can be divided into several levels and thus create more overview and structure.

Insert bullet or numbering

1. We select the text element that should receive bullets. Each line break defines a new point of the enumeration or numbering.


Note: In the default PowerPoint setting, the text area is already formatted with bullets

2. Now we click the Home tab and select the Bullets button in the Paragraph area.


3. The text is now displayed with bullets.


4. To display the text with numbering, we click on the Home tab and select the Numbering button in the Paragraph area. Clicking on the small arrow opens a menu that shows us more numberings and can be selected by left-clicking.


5. The text is now numbered.


Customize enumerations and numbering

1. The inserted bullets can now be changed as desired – PowerPoint offers numerous templates for this. To use them, click on the small arrow to the right of the bullets button. Further down in the menu there is the option “Numbering and bullets”, which we click on.


2. The Numbering and Bullets dialog window opens, in which seven characters are directly offered. In the Numbering tab (green arrow) we find a selection of numberings (more about this later).


Here we determined the color and size of the characters. Clicking on the small arrow next to the color bucket reveals the color palette. The size can be set as a percentage of the rest of the text in the input field.

Note: For the numberings, a starting point can also be specified, for example, whether the following enumeration should only start at 3 or 4.

4. If the selection of enumeration symbols is not individual enough for us, we can make further adjustments by clicking Customize.


5. The symbol dialog box presents us with all possible characters. Here it is necessary not to lose track and to choose a symbol that will not confuse the audience.


Note: At this point a well-intentioned advice: don’t get bogged down. If you spend more than 30 minutes looking for a matching symbol, you’ve made a fool of yourself.

6. An image can be inserted instead of a symbol. A bulleted list with the logo of the company or university can have a powerful effect. To do this, we click the Image button and select the appropriate image in the subsequent dialog box.


7. We confirm our entries by clicking OK.

Insert bullet outline levels

Bullets and numbering can distinguish between sub-points and main points. This provides structure to the data, increases comprehension by the audience, and increases the success of a presentation – at best. More subpoints are associated with more text, the audience has to read more and listens less and less – at worst.

1. We need a text element with several bullets. We select the paragraph that is to become a subheading.


2. To move the bullet to the right, click the Start tab and move to the Paragraph area. The Lower List Level button moves the bullet in. The same function can also be used to create a third, fourth or fifth level. Whether this is useful is another matter.


Note: Alternatively, we select a bullet point and click the Tab key (arrow key to the left of the Q). This moves the bullet down one level. Pressing the Tab key again brings the passage down another level. To bring items up one level, we press the Tab key along with the shift key (Shift key)

3. This is what the sub-items look like.


Note: Subpoints should be used sparingly and a good speaker does not read the slides verbatim (the audience can do that themselves).

Customize bullet outline levels

Different outline levels can have different bullets or numbering.

  1. First, we select the subheading we want to edit.

2. In the Start tab, in the Paragraph section, we click the small arrow next to the Numbering button.


3. Here we choose a suitable numbering with a click, which is valid for this and the connected sub-points.


Note: This also applies to bullets!

4. This is what the result looks like.


5. To make even more settings we click again on the small arrow next to the Numbering button and select the Buttons and numberings option.


6. If the enumeration should not start with 1 but with a higher number, we enter the corresponding number in the “Start at” field.