Bullets are printed to the left of items in a list. You must have at least two items in a bulleted list.

The following guidelines apply to bulleted lists: 

  • Make bulleted lists parallel in construction (i.e., begin all the items in the list with the same part of speech, such as a verb or a noun, and make sure they are either all phrases or all complete sentences).
  • Use numbered or lettered lists instead of bullets if you want to refer to the list items elsewhere in the text.
  • Begin each item with a capital letter.
  • Follow these rules for punctuation: 
    • If all items are complete sentences, include a period after each bullet. 
    • If all items are single words or short phrases, include a period after the final bullet only. 
    • Do not use semicolons or commas after bullets. 
  • Use bulleted lists sparingly to:  
    • Highlight important items  
    • Draw attention to main points  
    • Help readers find information. 

The example below shows the ending punctuation rule applied for a multilevel list. In general, think of the punctuation as closing out a “thought,” akin to finishing a sentence.

NREL technical reports are divided into: 

  • Front matter 
    • Title page 
    • Disclaimer 
    • Foreword 
    • Preface 
    • Acknowledgments 
    • List of acronyms
    • Executive summary 
    • Table of contents 
    • Lists of figures and tables.
  • Body text, organized into sections
  • Back matter
    • Glossary
    • Reference list
    • Bibliography
    • Appendices. 

Report Formatting
In text, the first level of bullet is indented 0.25 in., and text begins at the 0.5-in. mark. This level is bulleted with a solid dot. Second-level bullets are open dots, and third-level bullets are em dashes (—). Each subsequent level of bullet is sequentially indented 0.5 in. In lists with items that are more than one line, each bulleted item is followed by a 6-pt. space. 

On the Web 
For web content (and for PowerPoint slides and figures), terminal punctuation for a bulleted list is optional when there is no lead-in sentence. Use best judgment and remember that consistency is key. When formatting bullets on the web, there should be a space between the text above the bullets and the first bullet. To facilitate scanning, consider adding a blank line between each bulleted item when the bulleted text is long. Do not use bullets with lists of links.