How to Back Up Bullet Points in PowerPoint

By James T Wood

Bullet points are named for the similarity to bullet holes borne by the dots that precede each point in a list. As a visual way to distinguish between the main points and subpoints, the lower ranked points are indented farther to the right. The more the indentation, the lower the point in the hierarchy. When using PowerPoint to create a bulleted list, you can demote list items to indent them and promote them to move them back up using either keyboard shortcuts or menu tools.

Step 1

Open a blank PowerPoint presentation. Click in the box on the first slide to type a title and, if necessary, a subtitle. Click the "New Slide" button from the "Home" tab. A new slide will appear with a title box at the top and a content box in the main portion of the slide.

Step 2

Click in the top box to type the title for the slide. All of the bullets should relate to the title. Click in the main box where it says: "Click to Add Text." Type the text of your first bullet point. Press "Enter" when you're done. A new bullet point of the same level is created.

Step 3

Press "Tab" to indent the bullet and demote the text to a lower level. Press "Shift"+"Tab" to promote the text and back up the bullet point. Alternatively, you can click the "List Level" buttons in the "Paragraph" section of the "Home" tab. "Increase List Level" does the same as "Tab" and "Decrease List Level" backs up the bullet in the same manner as does "Shift"+"Tab."

Tips & Warnings

  • Bullet points are ideally suited to print communication. When you're speaking, however, bullet points on the screen can distract your audience. Save the bullet point for handouts not the slide show you use when you speak.