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Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to use pictures as bullets in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. You may end with some creative results.

PowerPoint provides several bullet styles that you can choose from, but they do look a little canned since almost every PowerPoint slide these days uses the same bullet styles! You could get rid of bullets altogether and use small sentences/paragraphs instead, or maybe you could explore picture bullets, to insert any picture as your bullet. Of course, for picture bullets to work, your picture needs to be small, no larger than a medium-sized dot. And it helps if it has transparent areas. If all this talk about the size and transparency of a picture bullet makes you curious, don't worry because we explain it all!

So what does a picture bullet look like? Look at Figure 1, where the first bullet uses PowerPoint's default bullet style. The second and third bullets use picture bullets from PowerPoint's built-in picture bullets collection.

Figure 1: Picture bullets in PowerPoint

Tip: Do you want to use pictures as bullets 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 the Slide Master View.

To add these picture bullets in PowerPoint 2016, follow these steps:

  1. Open any presentation or create a new one. Then navigate to the slide where you want to add picture bullets. Select the bulleted text as explained below:
  2. If you want to make changes to just one bullet in the text placeholder (or text box), select that individual line.
  3. If you want to make these changes to all the bullets in the text placeholder (or text box), you can select the entire placeholder by clicking on the edge of the placeholder (see Figure 2).

  4. Figure 2: Entire placeholder with bulleted text selected
  5. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the arrow beside the Bullets button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3). This brings up the Bullets drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3. Within this drop-down gallery, choose the Bullets and Numbering option (highlighted in red within Figure 3).

  6. Figure 3: Bullets drop-down gallery
  7. This will open the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, as shown in Figure 4. Make sure that the Bulleted tab of this dialog box is selected. Click the Picture button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4.

  8. Figure 4: Bullets and Numbering dialog box

  9. This bring up the Insert Pictures dialog box, as shown in Figure 5. Within this dialog box you'll find three options to get a picture:
  10. From a File

  11. Using this option, you can insert a picture that has been stored in your computer locally.
  12. Online Pictures

  13. This option allows you to take picture from an online picture service provider such as Bing Image Search, and also your OneDrive account.
  14. From Icons

  15. This option opens Insert Icons dialog box which contains icons of different category. You can select any of them based on your requirement.

  16. Figure 5: Insert Picture dialog box
  17. For this tutorial, we chose the Online Pictures option, shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, above. We are searching pictures using the Bing Image Search service. Next, you can type in keyword(s) within the box placed next to the service you want to insert the picture from, and press the Enter key.
  18. As you can see in Figure 6, the keyword "apple" shows results for that search term. Now select the desired picture bullet, and click the Insert button. as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6.

  19. Figure 6: Search result
  20. This will take you back to your slide where individual bullets are changed for the selected text, as shown in Figure 7. You can compare Figures 2 and 7 to see the changes.

  21. Figure 7: Bullets now use pictures

See Also:

Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows