Use Bullet Points for Readability in Emails

Format your email messages with bullets for better legibility

Cropped hand of businessman writing on adhesive note

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People who spend a large part of their day reading email on a screen tend to glance at the text and skip large portions of it. However, if you use bullet points and numbered lists of short text entries to set information apart from the rest of the email by blank lines, you'll keep the reader's attention. Bullet points make your emails easier to read and ensure that the key points are noticed.

How to Insert Bullet Points in HTML Email

To make a bulleted list if your email program or service supports sending messages formatted using HTML:

  1. Open a new email message, then enter the recipient's name and a subject line. Begin typing the message as usual.

  2. In the toolbar, select Insert bulleted list. It may be located at the top of the screen or at the bottom of the compose window.

    Insert Bulleted List in macOS Mail
  3. Next to the bullet that appears in the message area, type your content and press Enter (or Return on some keyboards). The cursor moves to the next line and inserts a new bullet.

    Typing a series of bullet points in an email
  4. Continue to enter text and press Enter until you have entered all the bulleted points.

    A bulleted list in an email
  5. To make a sub-list, pressĀ Enter, then press Tab.

    Adding a sublist to a bulleted list
  6. After the last bullet point, press Enter to clear the bullet format. Continue with the text of your email.

Add a blank line before and after a bulleted list to make it stand out.

How to Insert Bullet Points in Plain Text Email

To make a bulleted list using plain text in an email:

  1. Start the list in a paragraph of its own, separated from the paragraph before it by an empty line.

  2. Use an asterisk followed by a space to denote a new point and press Enter after each bullet point.

    Creating a bulleted list in plain text
  3. To add a sub list, press Tab before entering the asterisk.