Bulleted list items in Word 2010 + Create custom bullets

The clearest way to present a series of related pieces of information in Word 2010 documents is to use "bulleted lists", or "list items". This command is deceptively simple and, as you'll learn in this tutorial, there are quite a few settings you can customize when inserting bullets, starting with different bullet types, which can be chosen from the get-go, or changed after the fact. In addition to the eight bullet types that come "built-in", Word 2010 also lets you use your own symbols or pictures as bullet.


Insert bullet lists

At the end of the current paragraph, hit Enter as if you were starting a new one. Let's examine a couple of scenarios: if you already have a list from a text file or email message, that you wish to convert into a bulleted list of items, see below: convert lines of text into a bullet list. Otherwise, read on:

Let's now show you how to save time if you already have a few lines of text to convert into a list...

Convert lines of text into a bullet list

It is no uncommon to import into Word 2010 lists of items from an email or other text document; all you need are a few lines of text that can be copied, and pasted into your Word document, if needed without any formatting. (Note that this technique also works by using multiple paragraphs from Word itself.)
Convert lines of text into a bulleted list Once you've pasted these lines, select them, and click on the "Bullets" button described earlier: Word 2010 will automatically convert each line of text into a bulleted list item, using the "new line" character (when you hit Enter to start a new line) as delimiter between each bullet.

Remove bullets from a list

The section above explained how to select a few lines of text and click the Bullets button to make a bullet list out of the selected lines / paragraphs of text. Well, you can use that very same technique to "un-bullet" a list, or revert a list of items into a series of paragraphs.

Tip: you can also convert a bulleted list into mix content. Select a few bullets from the list, and click on the "Bullets" button in the ribbon, and bullets from the select items will be removed. All bullet points left unselected will remain bullets!

Change bullet type

Flexible as always, Word 2010 lets you switch bullet type either before you are about to insert a new bulleted list of items, or after the fact, on an existing list. To change bullet type for a pre-existing list, start by selecting all of its items (or the items for which you want to use another type of bullet).

Change bullet type in Word 2010 documents Then (in both cases), click on the dropdown arrow next to the bullet button in the ribbon, and select a new bullet shape from the selection, including a "None" icon (this allows you to have bullet lists that do not show any bullets - but behind the scenes, semantically, they retain their "text enumeration" status).

Create custom bullets!

In addition to all the bullet types previously mentioned, Word 2010 allows you to use pretty much anything else you'd like to accentuate your item lists. Start by clicking on the dropdown arrow next to the standard "Bullets" button, and select "Define New Bullet" at the bottom of the menu. Microsoft Word will open a new dialog, which lets you customize the bullet alignment (pick an option from the "Alignment" dropdown menu), and which "object" to use as bullet for the list:

Once you've made any of these choices, click on the "OK" button to return to your document, and Word 2010 will start using the custom bullet you created! (To use it in subsequent list items in that particular document, you should not need to start all over - just pick the custom bullet from the "Recently used" list.)

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