How to Get Control of Bullet Points in Microsoft Powerpoint: All the Secrets in Just Three Minutes!

Updated on May 4, 2016

Most people would agree that bullet points in Microsoft Powerpoint are sometimes tricky, and it is really frustrating when the bullets seems always changing and you are constantly re-setting the size, indents and position. In order to create concise, logical, and multi-level contents using Powerpoint, one should be able to use bullet points freely.

In general, there are three key tips you should remember and practice constantly, which I shall go into details in the following paragraph. Believe me, all the skills are quite simple, can be learned in just 3 minutes, and will give your PPT an amazing look.

Part 1: Control the Appearance of a Bullet Point

Things to remember:

Use Format>Bullets and Numbering to do all the tricks.

Figure 1  Use Bullets and Numbering to do all the tricks.
Figure 1 Use Bullets and Numbering to do all the tricks.


(1) Open your Microsoft PowerPoint, Select Files>New to set up a new blank PPT slide

(2) Type in some texts, any thing you want.

(3) Select one sentence, choose Format>Bullets and Numbering, there you will see all the functions to change the appearance of a bullet point.

Figure 2 Import pictures
Figure 2 Import pictures


(4) Now, you should know about the difference between a picture and a symbol. A picture is a .gif file, you can create it in other softwares and import it into Powerpoint, and you can only change the size of a picture bullet, not the color. But for a symbol, you can change the size and the color of it.

(5) Go to “Size” to set how big you want your bullets to be in comparison with the word character. Usually 75% would have a nice looking.

(6) Go to “Color”, to set your desired color

(7) Go to “picture” to set a picture as your bullet, or you can import your very own picture by using “Import” (the easiest way is to create 12*12 pixels .gif file in your Photoshop or whatever).

(8) Or go to “Customize” to set a symbol as your bullets.

(9) Done!


Part 2: Control the Level of a Bullet Point

You can learn the following tip in just one minute to create multi-level bullets.

Things to remember:

Shift+Alt+→/← will take you to any level you want

Figure 3 Multi-level content
Figure 3 Multi-level content


(1) Select the text, press Shift+Alt+→ to move it to a second level, press Shift+Alt+→ again to move it to a third level

(2) If you want to make it back to the first level, just press Shift+Alt+← two times

(3) It's easy!

Part 3: Control the Indent of a Bullet Point

Tired of playing around with bullet points and ending up fail to position them correctly? The following tips will solve the problem once and for all. However, it's a little difficult here as you need to remember several hot keys, but don't worry, I will show you the easiest way of doing it in just one minute.

Things to remember:

(1) All the secrets are about controlling upper/lower triangles on the ruler

(2) and press Alt or Control keys at the same time.

(3) Remember, you should never use space to make the indent, it will only make things worse.


(1) Go to View>Ruler to show the ruler, as you can see, there are triangles alongside the ruler, the below figure shows the relationship between these triangles and indents.

Figure 4 Relationships between triangles and indents.
Figure 4 Relationships between triangles and indents.

(2) The indent is the space between a bullet and the text, so controlling indents are all about controlling upper/lower triangles on the ruler and the spaces between them.

(3) You can just drag upper/lower triangle to the position you want to make indents.

(4) To drag one triangle without moving the other triangle, you will need to press Ctrl and drag

(5) For any minor adjustment, you will need to press Ctrl+Alt and drag

(6) Practice more, you need some time to get familiar with the tips of dragging.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I know how to change level in bullets. But when the bullets and subbullets are different shapes how do you go from one to the other automatically??

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you for posting this! I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to move back up levels with bullet points...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Is there a way for me to lock bullets so no level appears below the 3rd level?

    • profile image

      Microsoft Powerpoint Free Download Fan 

      8 years ago

      Fascinating article. Lots of interesting information.It's such a pity that Microsoft Powerpoint is so expansive.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hello, I was wondering how you would change the indents for an entire document. For example, I use a lot of outlines, and thus a lot of different levels with bullet points in a Microsoft Word Document. So, when I get far down into say, level 5, I am only using half of the page to type. So, I want the entire document to have smaller indents throughout the whole thing, so that I don't have to go through and adjust each line by itself. I figured out how to adjust the "hanging indent" thing, but when I try to adjust the indent size in mass, it aligns every bullet point to the same level...

      How do i do this?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is helpful. Thanks for posting this hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)