Easily Change PowerPoint’s Default Bullets

PowerPoint allows you to easily customize the default bullet style for new slides and text boxes. Changing the defaults can provide consistency across your presentation and save you time formatting. Here’s how to update PowerPoint’s default bullet style in a few quick steps.

Why Change the Default Bullets?

When you add a new slide or text box in PowerPoint, it automatically applies a default bullet style. The default is a black round bullet. However, that basic style may not match your presentation’s design or branding.

By changing the default bullet style, you can:

  • Ensure consistency – The new slides and text boxes will automatically match your new default bullet style instead of reverting to the basic black round bullet. This provides consistency across all slides.
  • Save time – You won’t have to manually reformat the bullet points each time you add a new slide or text box. The new default bullet will apply automatically.
  • Reinforce branding – You can set the default bullets to match your company’s brand colors and style.

How to Change the Default Bullet Style

Changing the default bullet style is easy and only takes a few steps. Here is the process:

Access the Slide Master

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation
  2. Select the View tab
  3. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group This opens the slide master view, which controls the default formatting for all slides.

Edit Default Bullet Style

  1. In slide master view, select the top slide thumbnail marked with an asterisk (*). This is the master slide that holds the defaults.
  2. Click the Home tab
  3. Select the placeholder bullet text
  4. Click the Bullets button in the Paragraph group
  5. Select your desired bullet character, color, size, etc. from the dropdown menu For additional bullet options like symbols or images, click the Bullets and Numbering option at the bottom of the dropdown.
  6. Make changes to the indent spacing as needed
  7. Click OK when finished with your selections

The new bullet style will now apply to all new slides and text boxes.

Update Existing Slide Bullets (Optional)

To update bullets on existing slides:

  1. Exit slide master view and return to your presentation
  2. Select the slide(s) you want to update
  3. Use the steps above to change the bullet style
  4. The updated style will apply only to the selected slides

This allows you to modify bullets slide-by-slide rather than the default for all new slides.

Creative Ideas for Custom Bullets

Beyond basic colors and shapes, you can get really creative with your bullet styles in PowerPoint. Here are some ideas to make your bullets stand out:

  • Brand imagery – Use your logo, icons, or other brand images as custom bullets. This is a great way to reinforce branding.
  • Theme graphics – Tie your bullet style to the theme. For example, use a palm tree bullet in a tropical travel presentation.
  • Symbols – Pick unique symbols like stars, checkmarks, or arrows to match your content.
  • Initials – Use the initials of your company or product name for simple but distinctive bullets.
  • Numbers – When appropriate, swap standard bullets for numbering to suggest steps or rank priorities.
  • No bullets – For text-heavy slides like quotes, sometimes no bullets looks best. The lack of bullets simplifies the slide.

Reset the Defaults

If you ever need to restore PowerPoint’s original default black round bullet style:

  1. Return to the slide master view
  2. Select the top master slide
  3. Click the Reset button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab
  4. Choose to reset just the bullets or reset all of the placeholder text formatting

And that’s it! With just a few clicks, you can update the default bullet style for a clean, consistent look across your PowerPoint presentation. Don’t settle for the basic black round bullet. Take advantage of the customization options to make your bullets match your brand and reinforce your key messages.