InDesign: How to Add Bullet Points in 7 Simple Steps

Bulleted lists with an expanded dot or other accent characters before each point emphasizes a central collection of copy points. 

Adobe InDesign CS5’s automated bullet styles are similar to those found in word processors. But, they come with more customization options designed to fulfill the needs of professional typesetters. 

We use InDesign’s bulleted list functionality in conjunction with the program’s character and paragraph style sheets for flexible page layouts.

In this article, we will be discussing InDesign how to add bullet points and the concept of bullets points in general. Let’s dive in!

person writing bucket list on book
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

What is a Bullet Point?

Bullet points are excellent in providing descriptive information and often need to include an introductory or secondary paragraph to hold the audience’s attention.

We can use them to emphasize that the reader must pay attention to a specific area of a document or article. Bullet points highlight particular words, topics, important ideas, or text parts.

In general, bullet points have a subliminal effect on the reader, which makes the reader more attentive.

Let’s see how we can add bullet points with InDesign without further ado.

How to Add Bullet Points With InDesign in 7 Steps

1. Select “Window” from the menu bar

Go to the menu’s “Type and Tables” submenu

Select “Paragraph” to get the Paragraph panel.

2. Choose the “Type menu” in Adobe InDesign

If you wish to create a bulleted list out of some text in a type frame, you can click and drag that text.

3. Go to the Fly-Out Menu

Click the triangle in the upper right corner of the Paragraph panel to reveal its fly-out menu. 

To use this feature:

  • Select “Bullets & Numbering.” 

To see the effects of your choices as you work

  • Activate the “Preview” check box at the bottom left of the dialog box before selecting any bullet parameters.

4. Use the Bullets option

Use the Bullets option in the List Type drop-down menu of the Bullets & Numbering dialog box. 

  • You can select a bullet character from the list of available glyphs if your text is set in a particular font. 
  • If the desired character is not listed, you can add it by choosing it from another typeface or clicking the “Add” button.
  • Once you have selected a new bullet character on the “Add Bullets” screen, you can go back to the “Bullets & Numbering” dialogue box. 
  • To add a selection, select the “OK” button; otherwise, select the “Cancel” button.

5. Select “Text After” from drop-down menu

Select “Text After” from the drop-down menu that appears to the right of the text field. 

  • The same format of coded sequence used for finding and replacing characters like tabs, spaces, and ellipses points is displayed in this text field.
  •  You can always return to the original if you change your mind about the default character after each menu selection. 
  • To clear the “Text After” area and begin again, highlight its contents and hit the backspace or delete key.

6. Character Style

If your document uses character styles, select one from the “Character Style” drop-down menu. 

  • You can also use this option to make your bullet a different color or size than the text that follows it.
  • It is also possible to leverage the full power of character styles. This is by altering all of the typographic properties for the bullet character with a single option.
  • Character style controls the space between the left margin of a text frame and the start of bullet text.

7. Set Positive Indent

You can make each bullet stand out more by indenting the first line of each bullet. This will ensure it begins at a different horizontal position than the others. 

  • Set a positive left indent and a corresponding negative integer for your first line setting to produce a hanging indent. 
  • If you’re using a tab character to separate the bullet and the text, you’ll need to specify where the tab stop will appear. 
  • You can align your bullets to the left, right, or center. If your left indent is small or set to zero, you might be unable to tell which option is which.


This InDesign how to add bullet points guide will help you learn how to add a list of bullets.

This post will help students and beginners construct bullet points in InDesign without struggle.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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