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Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to use pictures as bullets in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. You may end with some creative results.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X

For your bulleted paragraphs in PowerPoint, you can always choose any of the default PowerPoint bullet styles. Additionally, you can also customize the bullet size and color as required. And you can also use any picture as a 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 dizzy, don't worry because PowerPoint has number of picture bullets built within the program!

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.

Picture bullets in PowerPoint
Figure 1: Picture bullets in PowerPoint

To use pictures as bullets, follow these steps:

  1. Open your PowerPoint presentation and navigate to the slide where you want to add picture bullets. Select the bulleted paragraph:
  2. Placeholder with bulleted paragraph selected
  3. Figure 2: Slide with bulleted paragraph selected
  1. a. If you want to make changes to just one bullet in the text placeholder (or text box), and select that individual line.
  2. b. If you want to make these changes to all the bullets in the text placeholder (or text box), you can select the entire text placeholder by clicking on the edge of the placeholder (see Figure 2).
  1. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Within the Paragraph group, click the arrow beside the Bulleted List button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3). This brings up the Bulleted List gallery, as shown in Figure 3. Within this gallery, choose the Define New Bullet option (highlighted in red within Figure 3).
  2. Bullets gallery
    Figure 3: Bulleted List gallery
  3. This will open the Format Text dialog box with Bullets and Numbering option selected within the sidebar, as shown in Figure 4. Make sure that the Bullets tab of this dialog box is selected. In this tab, click the button displaying up and down arrows (highlighted in red within Figure 4) within the Custom bullet section.
  4. Bullet options within the Format Text dialog box
    Figure 4: Bullet options within the Format Text dialog box
  5. This opens the Custom bullet drop-down list as show in Figure 5. Select the Picture option, the last option in this list.
  6. Picture option within the Custom bullet drop-down list
    Figure 5: Picture option within the Custom bullet drop-down list
  7. This brings up the Choose a Picture dialog box, as shown in Figure 6. Here you can see PowerPoint's built-in picture bullets collection. You can also navigate to the folder where you have stored more picture bullets. If you want to learn more about how to save a picture to be used as a bullet, refer to our Create Your Own Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial. For now, choose a picture of your choice within the Choose a Picture dialog box by clicking on it, as shown in Figure 6. Then click the Insert button (highlighted in red within Figure 6).
  8. Choose a Picture dialog box
    Figure 6: Choose a Picture dialog box
  9. This will take you back to the Format Text dialog box. Here click the OK button to get back to the slide where the default bullets for the selected text are now changed to new picture as shown in Figure 7. Compare Figures 2 and 7 to see the difference.
  10. Bullets changed to pictures
    Figure 7: Bullets changed to pictures
Tip: Do you want the picture bullet to be applied to all slides? You can quickly make that customization by working within Slide Master View.

See Also:

Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Picture Bullets in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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Is a picture is worth a thousand words? You probably have heard this adage so often that we decided not to repeat this phrase throughout this book! Now here’s some more info: the human brain uses a larger part of its area to store visual information rather than textual content. And that’s possibly because a picture describes so much more than text.

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