Whether you're writing an email, making a presentation or formatting a paper, using bullets can help you group items or highlight important points in an easy-to-read way. While applications like the Mac's Pages and TextEdit have their own tools for making and formatting bulleted lists, you can make a simple bullet point on a Mac keyboard using a shortcut. Your Mac also has the built-in Character Viewer that gives you access to many more bullet styles, and you can find character lists online that make adding a bullet as easy as copying and pasting the symbol.
Use the Bullet Point Mac Shortcut
The quickest way to insert a basic bullet into text is to take advantage of the Mac keyboard shortcuts, which involve pressing two or more keys simultaneously to get a character that isn't normally on the keyboard. To make a standard solid black bullet point on a Mac, you place the cursor where you want the bullet and use the Option+8 keyboard combination.
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Access the Mac Character Viewer
When you want more options beyond a basic black bullet, use the Character Viewer on the Mac to see a full collection of symbols and emojis. Select the one you want to insert it into a text box or document. To access this tool, select Emoji & Symbols from the Edit menu on the menu bar at the top of any application. Alternatively, you can open the Character Viewer using the keyboard shortcut that involves pressing the Spacebar+Control+Command keys at the same time.
When the Character Viewer opens, type "bullet" in the search field to see a selection of bullet styles or select Bullets/Stars from the sidebar. The options include round bullets that come in solid black or unfilled ones as well as triangles, semicircles, squares and hearts. Place your cursor in the intended location of a document and click the bullet you want to add to it.
Recently used bullets and other symbols appear on the first tab of the Character Viewer for your convenience so that you can add them quickly when needed.
Copy Bullets From Online Lists
Although it's a less common method, adding bullets by copying and pasting them from Unicode character lists online also works. You might find this helpful if you need to add a lot of symbols in your text and prefer a visual list without sorting through the options in Character Viewer.
You can find these character lists on websites such as Vertex42 and PosterPresentations.com. Highlight the bullet or symbol you want, use Command+C to copy it, and then use Command+V to paste it where you want it.
Create Bulleted Lists in Apps
Some of the applications that come with your Mac have built-in tools for quickly adding bulleted lists. This feature comes in handy if you want to use additional tools to change indentation, spacing and colors. You can start an empty list or format existing items.
A few of the Mac apps with built-in bullet options include:
- TextEdit: To start a bulleted list, click the far-right drop-down menu on the app's toolbar to bring up examples of list formats. You'll find options for round and square bullets alongside check marks, dashes and lists using numbers, letters and Roman numerals. Click a bullet to add it and begin making the list.
- Pages: Locate the Bullets & Lists option on the app's text-formatting pane to find a drop-down menu where you can select from a variety of styles. You can then use options to change the indentation, make the bullets different colors and edit the size.
- Notes: You can access options to generate numbered, bulleted or dashed lists from this app's Format menu. You can also right-click within a note and choose Paragraph Styles to see list formatting options.
- PosterPresentations.com: Keyboard Shortcuts - Mac and Windows Unicode Symbols and Alt Codes
- SetApp: How to Type Special Keyboard Symbols on Mac
- WebNots: Alt Code Shortcuts for Mac to Insert Symbols
- Apple: Use Emoji and Symbols on Mac
- Apple: Format Lists in Pages on Mac
- NewMR: Why Use Bullets in a Presentation? The Difference Between Good Bullets and Bad Bullets.
- Lifewire: Learn to Use Tables and Lists in Apple Mail
- Vertex42: Huge List of Unicode Symbols