Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Applying Bullets from the Keyboard.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 2, 2013)
Word includes a handy-dandy tool (available on the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Paragraph group) that allows you to add bullets to a paragraph in a jiffy and just as easily remove them. Unfortunately, there is no just-as-easy way to do the same thing using the keyboard.
If you are bound and determined to use the keyboard to apply (and remove) bullets, there are a couple of things you can look at. The first is to use styles and define keystrokes that apply your styles. There are numerous other benefits to using styles, but most of those have been covered in other WordTips.
Closely related to this approach are two built-in shortcuts provided by Word. If you press Ctrl+Shift+L, Word is supposed to automatically apply the predefined List Bullet style to your paragraph. To remove bullets, you could also use the Ctrl+Shift+N shortcut, which applies the Normal style.
While these may work for what you want done, they don't take the same approach to formatting as the Bullets tool on the Home tab of the ribbon. If you want to have that same functionality from the keyboard, you must customize your keyboard. Follow these steps:
Figure 1. The Customize Keyboard dialog box.
Now, whenever you press the keystroke you chose in step 4, it is the same as clicking on the Bullets tool. Press the keystroke again, and the bullets are gone. (Of course, you can also press Ctrl+Q to remove the bullets by returning to the default paragraph formatting.)
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12699) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Applying Bullets from the Keyboard.
Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!
Want to find the bulleted paragraphs within a large document? Word doesn't have a built-in way to search for this formatting. ...Discover More
As you are typing away on a document, you may notice that Word automatically formats bulleted lists (or what it thinks are ...Discover More
If you know the secret, you can use actual words as "bullets" in a bulleted list. The built-in bulleted lists in Word aren't ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.