PowerPoint 2010: Modifying Lists

Lists are an essential part of creating effective PowerPoint presentations. They help organize information and make slides easier for the audience to digest. There are several ways to modify existing lists in PowerPoint 2010 to optimize their appearance and functionality.

Changing the Bullet Style

PowerPoint uses bulleted lists by default when you type paragraphs into a placeholder. To modify the bullet style:

  1. Select all text in an existing list
  2. On the Home tab, click the Bullets drop-down arrow
    • A menu of bullet options will appear

You can choose from various preset bullet styles like circles, squares, arrows, checkmarks, etc.

To further customize:

  • Click Import to use your own picture as a bullet
  • Adjust size and color for more visual impact
  • Match appearance to presentation theme

Well-formatted bullets make key points stand out better and guide the audience through information.

Switching to Numbered Lists

PowerPoint automatically starts bulleted lists at 1 by default. To switch to a numbered list:

  1. Select the bulleted list
  2. On the Home tab, click the Numbering button in the Paragraph group

The same customization options are available as for bulleted lists.

Starting Numbered Lists at a Specific Number

To start counting from a number other than 1:

  1. Select the numbered list
  2. Click the Numbering drop-down arrow
  3. Click Set Numbering Value
  4. Enter the number to start with

This allows seamless integration of split lists across multiple slides. The audience won’t experience an abrupt or illogical change in sequence.

Removing Bullets and Numbering

To quickly remove formatting:

  1. Select the list
  2. Click the Bullets or Numbering toggle button on the ribbon

This is useful for creating a flat list without hierarchy or reversing previous changes.

Using Symbols as Bullets

For custom presentation themes:

  1. Select the list
  2. Click the Bullets drop-down menu
  3. Click Symbol near the bottom
    • Opens the Symbol dialog box
  4. Select a symbol from the font or insert special characters

Heart bullet points might suit a health presentation. Brand logos can reinforce corporate templates.

Indenting List Items

Proper indentation helps convey information hierarchy and structure, making slides cleaner and text flow more logical.

To indent an entire list:

  1. Select the list
  2. Click Increase List Level on the ribbon
  3. Click Decrease List Level to reverse

To indent a single list item, put the cursor at the start of the line and use the indentation buttons.

You can also control indentation on the ruler or through the Paragraph dialog box for advanced formatting.

Formatting Multi-Level Lists

Multi-level lists display parent-child relationships within list items, like an outline:

  1. Parent list item
  • Child list item
    • Grandchild

To create multi-level lists:

  1. Type parent list items
  2. Press Enter to create a new line
  3. Press Tab to indent to child level
  4. Use Shift + Tab to outdent

Format each level individually by selecting a single bullet/number at that level. Multi-level lists provide more context and nuance for complex topics.

Modifying Default List Formatting

Changes to list formatting on the slide master apply to all slides. Useful for corporate templates requiring consistent branding.

To access the slide master:

  1. Click View tab
  2. Click Slide Master
    • Opens editing view for default slide layouts
  3. Select a content placeholder
  4. Modify its lists using steps for individual slides
  5. Click Close Master View when done

The updated formatting will now apply automatically across slides using that layout.


The key points to effectively modify lists in PowerPoint 2010 include:

  • Changing bullet style/color for visual impact
  • Switching to numbered lists
  • Starting numbering at a specific value
  • Removing bullets/numbering completely
  • Using symbols as custom bullets
  • Indenting for hierarchy
  • Formatting multi-level lists
  • Controlling defaults on the slide master

Careful list formatting results in professional, easy-to-follow presentations.