How to Add Bullet Points in Illustrator
You’ve come to the right place for the perfect guide on everything about Bullet Points! This article has all the best ways to create a bulleted list, as well as in-depth, simple steps for you to quickly add text with bullet points in Adobe Illustrator.
💡 Pro Tip: To add bullet points in Illustrator, select any text box you want to apply bullet points and select the Bullets button in the Control panel. A bullet point will appear before the first letter of each paragraph. You can also double-click on a text box, bring the Type Tool cursor to the first letter of any paragraph, and click once. Then, use keyboard shortcuts by pressing Opt + 8 for Mac or Alt + 8 for Windows.
Other than this, like anything else, there’s more to bullet points than meets the eye. I’m sure while adding bullet points to your artwork, you’ve encountered dreaded text alignment issues like this:
Now, these are painful moments, waiting for you to throw your laptop out of your window.
Ready to discover your options for how to add bullet points in Illustrator? Let’s get to it!
How to Add Bullet Points in Illustrator
How to Add Bullet Points in Illustrator Without Alignment Issues
Before using any method, the first thing to do is to decide where you want your bullet points to be applied. There are times when you won’t need to add bullet points for all the text in your artwork, while other times you want them on all paragraphs in one text box.
Adding bullet points is similar to creating an underline to text. It helps to make the text more engaging and stand out to grab your reader’s attention.
In this guide, the different methods will address the challenges you have with bullet points in detail. Get your new document and text ready.
Method 1: Add Bullet Points with Keyboard Shortcut Option
This method is one of the most traditional ways to create unordered lists for your text. First, double-click on the text box for the cursor to change to a Type Tool cursor. Then, go to the first letter of the area where you want to add the first bullet point. Click once just before the first letter or the front of the text in the first sentence like this:
Then use the following keyboard shortcuts to add a bullet point: Opt + 8 for Mac. Or Alt + 8 for Windows.
Do the same for the next paragraph or anywhere you want the bullet points to appear.
Note: For this method, you will have to manually add a bullet point to every paragraph. You can’t press the Enter key on the keyboard to automatically create a bullet point on the next line like how you can do so in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Let’s see this example I’ve done here:
From this example, after adding the bullet points, there isn’t much space between the bullet and the first word. Also, the first sentence of every paragraph is moved aside such that the first letter is not aligned with the first letter of subsequent sentences.
If you are not comfortable with this (and I’m not as well), you will have to manually indent or line up bullet points and text to align them so that they will look like this:
Read on to learn how to align text with bullets like the above example.
How To Align Text With Bullets In Illustrator
If you want to align all text with bullet points, you can do so with the Tabs panel. This can also be done on justified text. Here’s how you do it.
First, select the text box by clicking once on it. Then open the Paragraph panel by selecting Window > Type > Paragraph.
Next, change the Left-Indent value to 20 pt.
Then, change the First-line Left Indent to -20 pt.
Give some breathing space between points or paragraphs by changing the Space before paragraph value to 5 pt.
You will see that your text has moved to the right side away from the bullet points, except for the first line. This is known as a hanging indent.
Next, open up the Tabs panel by selecting Window > Type > Tabs.
Or, use keyboard shortcuts Shift + Command + T for Mac.
Or Shift + Ctrl + T for Windows.
Select the Left-Justified Tab, the first arrow on the Tabs panel.
Change the X: value to 20 px. You will see the arrow behind the triangle icon.
With the Type Tool, click once on the space between the first letter of the first sentence and the bullet point.
Hit the Tab key on your keyboard.
Do the same for the next bullet point and repeat this for the rest of the bullet points on your list.
And voila! You’ve successfully aligned the text with bullets in Illustrator.
Method 2: Add Bullet Points with Control Panel
This method is great if you wish to add bullet points to all paragraphs in the text box in one shot. Here’s how you do it:
First, have your text ready and check if your Control panel is visible. It can either be found on the top of your Illustrator document or at the bottom. If you don’t see it, you can open it by selecting Window on the top menu and selecting Control in the drop-down menu. Or go to Window > Control.
Next, select your text box or text frame and click the Bullets or Numbered List button from the Control panel.
You will see a bullet point appear before the first letter of every paragraph. There will also be an indentation created after all bullet points, and all text will be automatically aligned with each other.
If you want to only add bullet points to selected text in one text box, you can do that by highlighting the text you want and applying the Bullets or Numbered List button accordingly.
You can also create a multi-level list by placing your text cursor after the last letter of a bullet point. Press Enter or Return on the keyboard.
This creates a new line with a bullet point. Press the Tab key on the keyboard.
The bullet point disappears and a new one appears on the left indent.
Method 3: Add Bullet Points with Paragraph Panel
This method is similar to the Control panel, just that you will add bullet points from the Paragraph panel. Here’s how you do it:
Select Window on the top menu, then, scroll down the drop-down menu and select the Type option. Next, choose Paragraph from the next drop-down menu.
The Paragraph panel opens up. You can also access the Paragraph panel from the Properties panel.
Select the text box and go to the Paragraph panel and select the Bullets button to create a bulleted list.
Or select the Numbered List button for an ordered list with each bullet point in numbered sequence.
You can also add bullet points to selected paragraphs with this method. You can do this by using the Type Tool to highlight only the paragraphs you wish to include bullet points. Then, go to the Paragraph panel and select the Bullets or Numbered List button.
Method 4: Add Bullet Points with Bullets and Numbering
This method is similar to using the Paragraph panel, just that you will access the Bullets and Numbering function from a different place in Illustrator.
First, select the text box to include bullet points. Next is to select Type from the top menu, then, select Bullets and Numbering, and either Bullets or Numbers in the drop-down menu.
Besides selecting the Bullets and Numbering function from the Type menu, you can right-click on the text box and select Bullets and Numbering from the pop-up menu.
In this method, you can also add bullet points to selected paragraphs by highlighting any paragraphs in a text box and applying the Bullets and Numbering function.
Method 5: Add Bullet Points with Glyphs
This method is similar to adding bullet points using the Keyboard Shortcut method. The difference is you can choose your bullet point symbol from different fonts.
First, add a text cursor by double-clicking on the space before the first letter of the first paragraph.
Next, select Type from the Window top menu and select Glyphs in the drop-down menu. Or select Type > Glyphs.
The Glyphs dialog box opens up.
Then, go to the bottom and select the arrow pointing downward in the font field. The default font family is Myriad Pro. In this example, I’ve changed that to a font called EmojiOne, which comes with the Apple Macbook for free.
You can select your desired font style by selecting it from the drop-down list in the Glyphs panel. Or you can purchase a font with the style and icons you like.
You will see different icons and characters appear in the Glyphs panel. Double-click on your desired icon and close the Glyphs panel.
The icon will now appear before the first letter of the first sentence.
Do the same for the rest of the paragraphs or any area you wish to add a bullet point.
If you want to align your bullet point text like my example, you can do that with the Paragraph and Tabs panels. Learn how to do that like a pro by referring to the earlier section, How To Align Text With Bullets In Illustrator.
Method 6: Add Bullet Points with Vectors and Images
Sometimes you prefer to spice up your designs by using a shape, desired character, or vector image to create custom bullets. That can be done.
First, create your images. Then, position the images to where you desire as bullet points.
Next, select the text box and all the images. Select Align in the Control panel. Then, select the button that says “Align to Selection”.
Select Horizontal Align Left. Or you can select it under the Align Objects section in the Align panel.
How to Add Bullet Points in Illustrator: FAQ
The first step to indent bullet points in Illustrator is to select the text box by clicking once on it. Then open the Paragraph panel by selecting Window > Type > Paragraph. Set the Left indent to more than 0, for example, 20 pt, set the First-Line left indent to -20 pt, and set Space before paragraph to 5 pt.
Where is the bullets and Numbering dialog box in Adobe Illustrator?
Go to the Control panel, and select the small arrow next to the Bullets button. Select the three dots in the drop-down panel and the Bullets and Numbering dialog box will pop up.
Final Thoughts: How to Add Bullet Points in Illustrator
It’s quick, simple, and easy to add bullet points and align the text nicely to make it more readable in Illustrator. Whether you’re designing a brochure or poster, bullet points can help you make your arguments appear clearly and succinctly. You can make visually appealing bullet points that improve your designs by using the advice in this guide. Start playing with various bullet point formats and modifying them to fit your design.