How to create bulleted lists in ebooks

One of the big problems with ereaders is that they lack the ability to translate fancy symbols used to make bulleted lists in Microsoft Word. The result is that a bullet point ends up being a letter or set of numbers, which looks unprofessional and can confuse readers.

The first rule to follow is to never use Microsoft Word’s built-in bullet list function. Most print-on-demand software such as what Kindle DP uses won’t recognize Microsoft’s coding for the bullet list. Instead, you get an indentation mess on the ereader.

Also avoid exotic fonts that won’t translate. For example, if a reader chooses to view the ereader text in an Arial font but you formatted the manuscript so that the bullet points are in Wingdings font, there’s no corresponding symbol in Arial. Instead, the bullet point ends up being a letter (In this case, often a “g” or an “n”.).

Further, avoid the poor man’s approach to bullet points, which involves not indenting the line and using a dash or an asterisk in place of a bullet point. This looks fairly unsophisticated.

The solution to creating translatable bullet points in Microsoft Word is quite simple. On a PC, hold down the ALT key and hit 7 on the keypad (Remember that you need to have NUM LOCK on to use a PC’s keypad.). On a Mac, hold down the OPTION key and hit 8 on the keypad.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.