How to Add Bullet Points in Excel

You can add numbered lists too

Image of a marker checking a bullet list

 TeroVesalainen/Pixabay

Adding bullet points in Excel can be tricky since Excel doesn't offer a font formatting tool for bullets. However, there are many times you may need to add a bullet for each cell, or multiple bullets into each cell. This article looks at the multiple ways you can add bullet points in Excel.

Add Bullet Points in Excel With Shortcut Keys

One of the easiest ways to add bullet points in Excel is using keyboard shortcut keys.

  1. To add one bullet point per cell, double-click the first cell where you want a bullet point and press Alt+7 to insert the bullet. Then, type the item you'd like to follow the bullet.

    Screenshot of adding bullet points in Excel with shortcut keys

    Different keyboard shortcuts will insert different style bullets. For example, Alt+9 creates a hollow bullet; Alt+4 is a diamond; Alt+26 is a right arrow; Alt+254 is a square. The bullet point will only appear after you release the keys.

  2. If you'd like to quickly add bullets before entering a list, then before typing text after the bullet, select and drag the bottom right corner of the cell down the number of cells you'd like to fill with bullet points.

    Screenshot of filling cells with bullet points in Excel
  3. Once you have all of the individual cells filled with bullet points, you can fill them out with the actual item text and the rest of the data for the sheet.

    Screenshot of filling out an Excel bullet point list
  4. If you prefer to include multiple bullets in a single cell, press Alt+Enter after each Alt+7 bullet entry. This will insert a line break into the cell. Continue this process until you've entered the number of bullets you need in the cell.

    Screenshot of entering multiple bullets in one cell in Excel
  5. Press Enter (without pressing the Alt key) to finish editing the cell. The row height will automatically adjust to accommodate the number of bullet points you've entered into the cell.

Add Bullet Points in Excel Using Symbols

If you prefer using your mouse rather than the keyboard to add bullet points in Excel, then Symbols is a great way to go. Using symbols to add bullet points in Excel is ideal if you don't want to have to remember which shortcuts let you insert specific bullet styles.

  1. Select the cell where you want to insert a bullet point, then select Insert > Symbol.

    Screenshot of selecting Symbols in Excel
  2. Scroll down to the bullet point symbol, select it, then select Insert.

    Screenshot of selecting the bullet symbol

    You don't necessarily have to use the standard bullet symbol. As you scroll through the list of symbols you may notice many others that make good bullets as well.

  3. To insert multiple lines of bullets using symbols, just select Insert the number of times you'd like to have bullets, then select Cancel to close the symbol dialogue box. Finally, place the cursor between each bullet in the cell and press Alt+Enter to add a line break between bullets.

    Screenshot of inserting line break between bullets in Excel

Insert a Bullet in Excel Using a Formula

One way to insert bullets in Excel without having to use the menu or remember any keyboard shortcuts is to use Excel's CHAR function.

The CHAR function will display any character you want, if you provide it with the correct numeric character code. The ASCII character code for a solid bullet point is 149.

There are a limited number of character codes Excel can accept in the CHAR function, and the solid, round bullet point is the only character that makes for a suitable bullet in Excel. If you're interested in other styles of bullets, then this may not be the right approach for you.

  1. Double-click the cell where you want to insert a bullet list, then type "=CHAR(149)."

    Screenshot of using a formula to insert a bullet in Excel
  2. Press Enter and the formula will turn into a bullet point.

    Screenshot of an inserted bullet point in Excel
  3. To insert multiple lines of bullet points in Excel using formulas, you'll need to include another CHAR function using the line break code, which is 10. Double-click the cell to edit and type "=CHAR(149)&CHAR(10)&CHAR(149)."

    Screenshot of using CHAR function to insert bullets in Excel
  4. When you press Enter, you'll see the bullet points on each line. You may need to adjust the height of the row to see them all.

    Screenshot of multiple bullet points using a formula

Add Bullets to Excel With Shapes

If you want to add a little more flair to your spreadsheets, then inserting shapes as bullet points is a perfect solution.

This is a creative way to use images of different shapes or colors as bullet points that will liven up any dashboards or reports.

  1. Select Insert > Shapes. You'll see a drop-down list of all of the available shapes you have to choose from.

    Screenshot of inserting shapes in Excel
  2. Select the shape you'd like to use as your bullet and it will appear on the spreadsheet. Select the shape, then resize it to an appropriate size that'll fit inside each row.

    Screenshot of inserting a shape as a bullet point in an Excel spreadsheet
  3. Drag the icon into the first row. Then select it and copy and paste copies of it into the rows below it.

    Screenshot of duplicating shapes as bullet points in Excel
  4. Since shapes hover of the sheet, you'll need to combine the cell the bullet icon is in with the second cell containing the item text.

    Screenshot of lining up cells in Excel

Using Bullets in Text Boxes

Excel actually does provide bullet formatting functionality, but those features are buried inside some of Excel's specific tools, like the Text Box tool. Text box bullet lists work identically to the way they do inside a Word document.

  1. You can use bullet lists inside a text box. Select Insert > Text Box, then draw the text box anywhere into the spreadsheet.

    Screenshot of inserting a text box in Excel
  2. Right -click anywhere in the text box, select the arrow next to the Bullets item, then select the bullet style you want to use.

    Screenshot of adding a bullet list to a text box
  3. Once the bullet list is created in the text box, you can type in each item and press Enter to move to the next bullet item.

    Screenshot of adding a bullet list in an Excel text box

Adding SmartArt Bullet Lists in Excel

Hidden deep inside Excel's SmartArt Graphic list are several graphical bullet lists that you can insert into any spreadsheet.

  1. Select Insert > SmartArt to open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.

    Screenshot of the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box
  2. Select List from the left menu. Here you'll find an array of formatted list graphics you can use to add bullet items in your spreadsheet in a variety of ways.

    Screenshot of selecting a SmartArt bullet list in Excel
  3. Select any one of these and select OK to finish. This will insert the graphic into your spreadsheet in design mode. Enter the text for your list into each header and line item.

    Screenshot of designing a SmartArt bullet list in Excel
  4. When you're finished, select anywhere in the sheet to finish. You can also select and move the graphic to place it wherever you like.

Adding Numbered Lists in Excel

Adding a numbered list in Excel is very easy using the fill feature.

  1. When creating your list, first type "1" in the first row where you want to start the numbered list. Then, type "2" in the row just below it.

    Screenshot of starting a numbered list in Excel
  2. Highlight both numbered cells, then place your mouse pointer over the small box in the lower right of the second cell. The mouse icon will change to a small crosshair. Select and drag the mouse down the number of rows of items you'd like to have in your list.

    Screenshot of using the fill feature in Excel
  3. When you release the mouse button, all cells will automatically fill with the numbered list.

    Screenshot of a list autofilled.
  4. Now you can complete your list by filling in the cells to the right of your numbered list.

    Screenshot of completing a numbered list in Excel

How to Make Numbered Symbol Lists in Excel

You can also use symbols to create numbered lists in Excel. This method creates much more stylistic numbered lists, but it can be a bit more tedious than the autofill option.

  1. Using the example above, delete all of the numbers in the left column.

  2. Select inside the first cell, then select Insert > Symbols > Symbol.

    Screenshot of adding a symbol in Excel
  3. Select one of the numbered symbols for the number one, and select Insert to insert that symbol into the first cell.

    Screenshot of adding numbered symbols in Excel
  4. Select Close, select the next cell, then repeat the process above, selecting each subsequent number symbol—two for the second cell, three for the third cell, and so on.

    Screenshot of adding numbered symbols in Excel