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Change Bullet Styles in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to change the bullet styles of selected text in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. Experimenting with bullet styles may allow you to choose from uncommon and custom styles.

People talk about how bullets can cause "death by PowerPoint", and while that may be partially true, it certainly is not the complete truth, not everyone is in the rush to abandon bullet points in their slides!

Even then, too much of anything cannot be good and bulleted lists are almost the mainstay of PowerPoint slides these days. Most of PowerPoint's slide layouts are already set up with placeholders for bulleted lists (or paragraphs). so, when you start typing into a text placeholder, your text is automatically bulleted. Making changes in how bullets appear visually can make a subtle difference; so we show you how you can change the bullet styles for your text placeholders (or text boxes) in PowerPoint 2016:

Tip: Do you want to change the bullet style in all slides? The instructions on this page are for working with individual slides in Normal view. To apply these changes to all slides, follow the same steps within Slide Master view.
  1. Launch and open any presentation. Navigate to a slide that has bulleted text, such as the sample slide you see in Figure 1.

  2. Figure 1: Slide with bulleted text
  3. Select the entire text within the large text placeholder. Then access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the down-arrow beside the Bullets button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.

  4. Figure 2: Bullets button in the Home tab
  5. This brings up the Bullets drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3. The bullet style surrounded by grey highlight is the current bullet style applied to your selected text.

  6. Figure 3: Bullets drop-down gallery


  7. Notice the Bullets and Numbering option, at the bottom of Figure 3? We cover this in our Customize the Bullet Size and Color tutorial.
  8. Now hover the cursor over any bullet style preview in this gallery. As you move over different previews, the selected text shows you a Live Preview of the bullet style hovered, as shown in Figure 4. Click on the preview to apply the style to your selected.

  9. Figure 4: Live preview of bullet styles
  10. Figure 5 shows the selected text with changed bullet style (compare Figures 1 and 5).

  11. Figure 5: Bullet style changed
  12. Save your presentation often.
Tip: Using fewer bullets with meaningful, direct text can help, also organize the text carefully. Have you inserted your key points (message) in a way so that the audience can actually comprehend it all?

See Also:

Change Bullet Styles in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Change Bullet Styles in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Change Bullet Styles in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows