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Use the fast list shortcuts in PowerPoint

PowerPoint has, finally, added shortcuts to quickly make bullet or numbered lists without using the ribbon. Here’s the full list of typing shortcuts and how to turn them off.

In Word, you’re probably familiar with a list being automatically created if you type * or 1. at the start of a new line.  PowerPoint has been remarkably slow in adding a similar feature, even though slides often have lists.

Automatic bullets have just been added to PowerPoint on the web, meaning the feature is now possible on all PowerPoint 365 platforms. For earlier PowerPoints, use the list menus on the Home tab.

Note: if all this seems familiar, it’s because almost the same feature is in Microsoft Word.

Bulleted List shortcuts

Type one of these characters, then a space, then type the first item of the list. When you press Enter, a bulleted list will appear.

The Diamond symbol varies according to the platform, shown are the symbols used in the web and Windows versions of PowerPoint.

* This is two dashes (- -) to make a square bullet.  Not the ‘em-dash’ symbol suggested by Microsoft.

Numbered List shortcuts

Compared with the bullet shortcuts, the numbering shortcuts are fairly obvious. Type 1, A or a in a particular way to start listing in that format.

Otherwise it’s the same procedure, type the characters, then a space, then type the first item of the list. When you press Enter, the numbered list will appear.

All these are the same as Microsoft Word with a minor difference in how they appear. For PowerPoint the bullet doesn’t appear until you press Enter at the end of the first line.  In modern Word, the bullet symbol appears as soon as you type it.

Undo the automatic bullet or numbering

If you don’t want the fancy bullet, just Undo (Ctrl + Z) when it appears. 

The change from typing to bullet is a separate action on the Undo list (marked as AutoCorrect).

Stop automatic lists

To stop the automatic change to bullet in PowerPoint for Windows go to Options | Proofing | AutoCorrect Options | Automatic bulleted and numbered lists.

No keyboard shortcut

In Word, the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + L will convert a selection into a bulleted list. It’s not available in PowerPoint.

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