How Do I Create a New Line Without a Bullet in PowerPoint?

Using the Shift-Enter trick for a soft return in bullets

Working with bullets on PowerPoint slides can be frustrating. By default, when you work on a PowerPoint slide that uses the bulleted list format, each time you press the Enter (or Return) key, PowerPoint inserts a bullet to start the next line. It isn't always what you want, but you can easily avoid it by manually inserting a soft return.

A soft return causes the text to drop to the next line automatically when it reaches the margin or edge of the text box — without adding a bullet. To force a soft return, you hold the ​Shift key while you press the Enter (or Return) key at the same time. It drops the insertion point to the next line but does not add a bullet.

Example of the Shift-Enter Trick

Say you want to separate the text in the first bullet point in the example below and drop the text after "little lamb" to a new line without inserting a bullet point. You start out with this:

  • Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow
  • Everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go

If you press Enter (or Return) after "little lamb." you get a new line and a new bullet:

  • Mary had a little lamb.
  • Its fleece was white as snow
  • Everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go

If you hold the Shift key while you press the Enter (or Return) key after "little lamb," the text drops to a new line without a new bullet and aligns with the text above it.

  • Mary had a little lamb.

   Its fleece was white as snow

  • Everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go

The Shift-Enter Trick Works Elsewhere

This tip works for other Microsoft Office suite products, including Word. It is also a typical function for other text-editing software. Put the soft return technique into your bag of keyboard shortcuts to remember whenever you are dealing with bullet points.

Your keyboard may have Enter labeled Return, but don't let that confuse you; they are the same thing.

Note: This trick works in PowerPoint 2016 and other recent versions of PowerPoint, as well as PowerPoint Online and Office 365 PowerPoint on PCs and Macs.