In bulleted lists, each paragraph begins with a bullet character. In numbered lists, each paragraph begins with an expression that includes a number or letter and a separator such as a period or parenthesis. The numbers in a numbered list are updated automatically when you add or remove paragraphs in the list. You can change the type of bullet or numbering style, the separator, the font attributes and character styles, and the type and amount of indent spacing.
You cannot use the Type tool to select the bullets or numbers in a list. Instead, edit their formatting and indent spacing using the Bullets And Numbering dialog box, the Paragraph panel, or the Bullets And Numbering section of the Paragraph Styles dialog box (if the bullets or numbers are part a style).
A quick way to create a bulleted or numbered list is to type the list, select it, and then click the Bulleted List or Numbered List button in the Control panel. These buttons let you turn the list on or off and switch between bullets and numbers. You can also make bullets and numbering part of a paragraph style and construct lists by assigning styles to paragraphs.
Automatically generated bullet and number characters aren’t actually inserted in the text. Therefore, they cannot be found during a text search or selected with the Type tool unless you convert them to text. In addition, bullets and numbering don’t appear in the story editor window (except in the paragraph style column).
Click the Bulleted List button or the Numbered List button in the Control panel (in Paragraph mode). Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while clicking a button to display the Bullets And Numbering dialog box.
Choose Bullets And Numbering from the Paragraph panel or Command panel. For List Type, choose either Bullets or Numbers. Specify the settings you want, and then click OK.
Apply a paragraph style that includes bullets or numbering.
Left-aligns, centers, or right-aligns the bullets or numbers within the horizontal space allotted for numbers. (If this space is narrow, the difference between the three options is negligible.)
First Line Indent
Controls where the bullet or number is positioned.
Increase the First Line Indent value if you want the punctuation in long lists to be aligned. For example, if you want “9.” and “10.” to be aligned on the period, change the Alignment to Right and gradually increase the first line indent until the numbers align (make sure Preview is turned on).
To create the hanging indent effect, specify a positive Left Indent value (such as 2p0), and then specify an equal negative value (such as -2p0) for First Line Indent.
The Left Indent, First Line Indent, and Tab Position settings in the Bullets And Numbering dialog box are paragraph attributes. For that reason, changing these settings in the Paragraph panel also changes bulleted and numbered list formats.
By default, bullets and numbers inherit some of their text formatting from the first character in the paragraph to which they’re attached. If the first character in one paragraph is different from the first characters in other paragraphs, the numbering or bullet character may appear inconsistent with the other list items. If this is not the formatting you desire, create a character style for numbers or bullets and apply it to your list by using the Bullets And Numbering dialog box.
If you don’t want to use one of the existing bullet characters, you can add other bullet characters to the Bullet Character grid. A bullet character that is available in one font may not be available in another font. You can choose whether the font is remembered with any bullet character you add.
If you want to use a bullet found in a specific font (such as the pointing hand from Dingbats), be sure to set the bullet to remember that font. If you use a basic bullet character, it’s probably best not to remember the font, because most fonts have their own version of that bullet character. Depending on whether you select the Remember Font With Bullet option, a bullet you add can reference either a Unicode value and a specific font family and style, or just a Unicode value.
Bullets that reference only the Unicode value (without a remembered font) appear with a red “u” indicator.
A. Bullet without remembered font B. Bullet with remembered font
The list of bullet characters is stored in the document, like paragraph and character styles. When you paste or load paragraph styles from another document, any bullet character used in those styles appears in the Bullets And Numbering dialog box, along with the other bullets defined for the current document.
In a numbered list, the numbers are updated automatically when you add or remove paragraphs in the list. Paragraphs that are part of the same list are numbered sequentially. These paragraphs do not have to be consecutive to one another as long as you define a list for the paragraphs.
You can also create a multi-level list, in which list items are numbered in outline form and are indented by different degrees.
- In the Number box, use the default expression—period (.) and tab space (^t)—or construct a number expression of your own. To enter a number expression, delete the period after the number metacharacter (^#) and do one of the following:
Type a character (such as a closing parenthesis) or more than one character in place of the period.
Tip: You can also input a full-width separator instead of a half-width period separator, which is especially useful for vertical text.
Choose an item (such as Em Dash or Ellipses) from the Insert Special Character menu.
Type a word or character before the number metacharacter. For example, to number questions in a list, you can type the word Question.
A defined list can be interrupted by other paragraphs and lists, and can span different stories and different documents in a book. For example, use defined lists to create a multi-level outline, or to create a running list of numbered table names throughout your document. You can also define lists for separately numbered or bulleted items that are mixed together. For example, in a list of questions and answers, define one list for numbering the questions and another for numbering the answers.
Defined lists are often used to track paragraphs for numbering purposes. When you create a paragraph style for numbering, you can assign the style to a defined list, and paragraphs are numbered in that style according to where they appear in the defined list. The first paragraph to appear is given number 1 (“Table 1”), for example, and the next paragraph is given number 2 (“Table 2”), even if it appears several pages later. Because both paragraphs belong to the same defined list, they can be numbered consecutively no matter how far apart they are in the document or book.
Define a new list for each type of item you want to number—step-by-step instructions, tables, and figures, for example. By defining multiple lists, you can interrupt one list with another and maintain number sequences in each list.
If list items appear in unthreaded frames on the same page, items are numbered in the order in which the text frames are added to the page. To reorder the items, cut and paste the text frames one by one in the order in which you want them to be listed.
After you define a list, you can use it in a paragraph style, such as a style for tables, figures, or ordered lists, as well as apply it by way of the Control panel and Paragraph panel.
Some lists are defined automatically. For example, when you import a numbered list from a Microsoft Word document, InDesign defines a list automatically for your document.
To create a running list—a list that is interrupted by other paragraphs or that spans multiple stories or documents—create a paragraph style and apply the style to paragraphs that you want to be part of the list. For example, to create a running list of the tables in your document, create a paragraph style called Tables, make a defined list part of the style, and then apply the Tables paragraph style to all paragraphs you want in your Table list.
A multi-level list is a list that describes hierarchical relationships between the list paragraphs. These lists are also called outline lists because they resemble outlines. The list’s numbering scheme (as well as indentations) show rank as well as how items are subordinate to one another. You can tell where each paragraph fits in the list with respect to the paragraphs before and after it. You can include up to nine levels in a multi-level list.
To create a multi-level list, define the list and then create a paragraph style for each level you want. For example, a list with four levels requires four paragraph styles (each one assigned the same defined list). As you create each style, you define its numbering format and paragraph formatting.
- In the Number box, enter metacharacters or select metacharacters from the menus to describe the number formatting you want for list items at this level.
To include numbering prefixes from higher levels, enter text or click at the start of the Number box and choose Insert Number Placeholder and then select a Level option (for example, Level 1), or enter ^ and then the list level (for example, enter ^1). In a list with first levels numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on, and second levels numbered a, b, c, and so on, including the first-level prefix in the second level renders second-level numbers as 1a, 1b, 1c; 2a, 2b, 2c; 3a, 3b, 3c.
To create a number expression, enter punctuation, enter metacharacters, or select options on the Insert Special Character list.
- Select Restart Numbers At This Level After to renumber beginning at 1 when a paragraph at this level appears after a paragraph at a higher level; deselect this option to number paragraphs at this level consecutively throughout the list without regard for where the paragraphs appear in the list hierarchy.
In some cases, such as with numbered steps, you may want to restart numbering within the same story. To avoid restarting the numbered list manually, create a separate style that’s identical to the Level 1 style with one exception. For Mode, chose Start At, and then specify 1. Name this style something like “Level 1 Restart.”
Running captions number figures, tables, and other items consecutively in a document. For example, the first figure caption starts with the words “Figure 1,” the second with “Figure 2,” and so on. To make sure that figures, tables, or similar items are numbered consecutively, define a list for the item, and then create a paragraph style that includes the list definition. You can also add descriptive words such as “Figure” or “Table” to the numbering scheme of the paragraph style.
Bob Bringhurst provides an article about creating figure captions at Numbered Lists Part III - Figure Captions.
List items are numbered in the order in which they are added to the page. To reorder the items, cut and paste the items one by one in the order in which you want them to be listed.
- In the Number box, enter a descriptive word and any spacing or punctuation (as needed) along with the numbering metacharacters.
For example, to create a “Figure A” effect, enter the word “Figure” and a space before the numbering metacharacters (such as Figure ^#.^t). This adds the word “Figure” followed by a sequential number (^#), a period, and a tab (^t).
To include chapter numbers in running captions, choose Insert Number Placeholder > Chapter Number from the Number list, or enter ^H where you want the chapter number to appear in the number scheme.
You can use the Table Of Contents feature to generate a list of tables or figures.
Restarting a numbered list
Place the insertion point in the paragraph and choose Restart Numbering from the context menu or choose Type > Bulleted And Numbered Lists > Restart Numbering. In normal lists, this command assigns the number 1 (or letter A) to a paragraph and makes it the first paragraph in a list. In multi-level lists, this command assigns the first lower-level number to a nested paragraph.
Continuing a numbered list
Choose Continue Numbering from the context menu or choose Type > Bulleted And Numbered Lists > Continue Numbering. This command resumes numbering a list that was interrupted by commentary, graphics, or nested list items. InDesign also offers commands for numbering lists that begin in one story or book and cross into the next story or book.
Whether a list resumes numbering from the previous story or starts numbering anew in the current story depends on how the list is defined.
Whether a list resumes numbering from the previous document in a book or starts numbering anew in the current document depends on how the list is defined.
To make sure that numbering is updated properly in a book, synchronize the documents in the book and choose Update Numbering > Update All Numbers from the books panel menu.
From the Paragraph panel menu, choose Convert Numbering To Text or Convert Bullets To Text.
Right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the selection, and then choose Convert Numbering To Text or Convert Bullets To Text.
To remove the list numbers or bullets, click the Numbered List button or Bulleted List button to unapply list formatting to the selected text.