A Smart Solution to Formatting Bullet Lists


Q: I frequently create multilevel outline lists in Word. I want these lists to stand out, so I spend a lot of time individually formatting the various levels in my lists, but this is a tedious process. Is there any way to create a list style or easily apply formats to a list?


A: Word 2007’s and 2010’s SmartArt Vertical Box List may provide the formatting solution you are looking for. As an example, SmartArt options were used to transform the boring list below on the left to the more vibrant, 3-D list on the right.


Specific steps for inserting a Smart List and achieving this transformation are described below.


1. In Word 2007 or 2010, highlight and copy your outline list.


2. From the Insert tab, select SmartArt to open the Choose a SmartArt Graphic dialog box.


3. On the left side of the dialog box, select List and then select the Vertical Box List as shown below.


4. Once inserted, click the Vertical Box List to select it, and to display the Type your text here dialog box. (If the dialog box does not display, right-click on the Vertical Box List to display the pop-up menu and select Show Text Pane.)


5. Click in the Type your text here dialog box, press Ctrl+A to select the box’s default outline, and press Ctrl+V to paste your new outline. Your results should appear as follows:



6. Add finishing touches by clicking on the Vertical Box List to select it. This will display the SmartArt Tools menu at the top of the screen. Under the SmartArt Tools, Design tab, select Change Colors and select a desirable color scheme, such as Colorful Range – Accent Colors 2 to 3.


7. Again from the SmartArt Tools, Design tab, select the SmartArt Styles dropdown menu and select a style, such as Sunset Scene.


Note: SmartArt graphics are limited to a single page and therefore larger lists that span multiple pages will need to be broken up into separate SmartArt images. This may make this formatting approach less desirable.


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