Adding bullet points to an Excel spreadsheet

By Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D.

Q. I would like to add bullet points to some of my Excel spreadsheets, but Excel doesn't have that option on the Home tab like Microsoft Word. Is there a way to include bullet points in Excel spreadsheets?

A. You can include bullet points in an Excel spreadsheet. If you just want to include a bullet point in a cell one time, click in the cell and click Alt+7 (7 from the numeric keypad). If you do not have a numeric keypad, click in the cell and go to the Insert tab on the top navigation bar and, from the Symbols group, select Symbols, Symbol. In the Symbol window that opens, choose (normal text) for the Font. Enter 2022 for the Character code, click Insert, Close. Then type whatever you like next to the bullet.

If you want to have a format to apply to all cells that should contain a bullet point, for your current spreadsheet and all others, click Ctrl+1 (not on the keypad) to open the Format Cells dialog box. Select the Number tab and choose Custom from the Category: options. In the box labeled Type:, click Alt+7 (7 from the numeric keypad), then click the spacebar, then type @. Click OK. If you do not have a numeric keypad, you will need to place a bullet point in a cell using the instructions above about inserting a bullet point, then copy the bullet point. You will need to go to a different cell and then proceed with the instructions for creating a format to insert bullet points to any spreadsheet.

Now you have formatting to apply to any cell that should include a bullet point. For example, in the spreadsheet below, a bullet should be placed in front of the product numbers listed in cells C14:C19. Select those cells, click Ctrl+1, choose Custom from the Category: options, and select • @ from the Type: options. Click OK. If • @ is not available in the list of options, you can add it by typing it into the field under Type: and clicking Enter. You may have to delete and replace text already in the field.

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After applying this formatting to cells C14:C19, the product numbers now appear as bullet points in the note to the Sales Performance data (shown in the screenshot below).

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About the author

Kelly L. Williams, CPA, Ph.D., MBA, is an assistant professor of accounting at Middle Tennessee State University.

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