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Bullets in Excel

October 18, 2017 - by Bill Jelen

Bullets in Excel

Bullets in Word are easy. Why aren't they easy in Excel? Today, we look at several ways to add bullets in Excel.


Katie Sullivan is a Project Manager on the Microsoft Word team. For today's tip, a benefit of Word.

While Excel fans sometimes tease that Word and PowerPoint are freeware apps that come on the Excel DVD, there are times when Microsoft Word offers a feature that Excel does not. In those cases, it makes sense to copy your data from Excel, paste to Word, do the command, then copy back to Excel. Here are some examples of techniques that are better handled in Word than in Excel.

Technique 2

Add Bullets

If you want to add bullets to Excel cells, it is far easier in Word than in Excel. Copy the cells to Word and apply a bullet style. Copy from Word and paste back to Excel. You might have to use the Reduce Indent icon a few times.

Watch Video

  • Today's trick is from Katie Sullivan on the Word team
  • There are a few cases where Microsoft Word can do things better than Excel
  • One of those is adding bullets
  • Sure - Excel can add a bullet character, using Alt + 0149
  • This would be tedious to manually type this before each line
  • Or, you can add a custom number format of o @
  • But for a wide variety of bullets, copy the data to Word, apply the bullet, and then copy back to Excel.
  • You might use the Excel Reduce Indent button a few times

Video Transcript

Learn excel from MrExcel podcast, episode 2050 - Bullets in Excel!

I am podcasting this entire book, click that “i” on the top-right hand corner to get to the playlist!

Alright, today's trick is also from Katie Sullivan on the Word team. There's a few cases where Microsoft Word can do things better than Excel, one of those is adding bullets. Yeah, sure, Excel can add a bullet character using this awkward set of strokes. I'm going to hold down Alt and then on the number keypad: 0 1 4 9, BAM, there's a bullet. How it’s easy to- no, it’s not easy at all, what am I talking about? And, I don't even know, can I use the numbers at the top, Alt 0? No, you can't, so bad news, you have to have a numeric keypad, if you have a laptop, then you're stuck using those function keys to get the weird numbers, it's practically impossible.

And, let's just talk about, if you really had to go through and add a bullet to each one of these, Alt 0 1 4 9 Space, and then here, F2 Home Alt 0 1 4 9 Space, it's horrible! And what Microsoft, with the support team- I'm going to Undo, Microsoft, the Knowledge Base article, and this says “Press Ctrl+1, go into Custom Number Format. We're going to create a custom number format, where we type Alt 0 1 4 9 Space, and then @ sign.” Which is, the @ sign says the text that we typed, click OK, and yeah, that puts bullets in.

But you know, let's just face it, here's a list, we're going to copy the list, Ctrl+C, we're going to open Microsoft Word, we're going to Paste, select all the things we just pasted. There are regular bullets, there are check mark bullets, there are little arrowhead bullets, all kinds of good things. We'll choose one of these, copy everything, Ctrl+C, and then come back to Excel and paste in place, Ctrl+V, alright. Now, after you do this, you're going to become acquainted with this little symbol here called Decrease Indent to move those back to a normal indent level. Still a great way to go, thanks to Katie and the entire Word team for this trick.

All of these tips, the Excel tips, and a few Word tips here at the end, are in this book. Click the “i” in the top-right hand corner to buy that book. Alt 0 1 4 9!

Download File

Download the sample file here: Podcast2051.xlsm

Title Photo: Pixabay

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
Excel Subtotals Straight to the Point

I used to use the Subtotals feature daily after downloading mainframe data. This book covers every tip and trick for using Subtotals.