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Adding automatic bullets

From: InDesign CS5 Essential Training

Video: Adding automatic bullets

Bullets help draw the reader's eye to the first line of each item in a list. But adding bullets to a list can be an exercise in frustration when you don't understand how they work. There are two ways to do bullets in InDesign, manually and automatic. First, let me show you how to make them manually. I'm going to zoom in on this text here and I want to add a bullet before the word Red. So I'll double-click there to switch to the Type tool and I'll type my own bullet. You can get a basic bullet by pressing Opt+8 or Alt+8 on Windows.

Adding automatic bullets

Bullets help draw the reader's eye to the first line of each item in a list. But adding bullets to a list can be an exercise in frustration when you don't understand how they work. There are two ways to do bullets in InDesign, manually and automatic. First, let me show you how to make them manually. I'm going to zoom in on this text here and I want to add a bullet before the word Red. So I'll double-click there to switch to the Type tool and I'll type my own bullet. You can get a basic bullet by pressing Opt+8 or Alt+8 on Windows.

Now I'll press the Tab key. I have bulleted this paragraph but it looks a little clunky. I would like that bullet to hang out in the left margin. To do that I first need to give the whole paragraph a left indent. Let's say 1 pica. I'll press Tab and it jumps to the Right Indent. I'll press Tab again and it jumps to the First-line Indent. Currently the first line is flush with the rest of the paragraph but I want it to hang out in the margin, remember? So I'm going to set it to a -1 pica or -12 points and press Return or Enter.

Now the bullet is hanging out to the left or the rest of the paragraph. That's called a hanging indent and once again you create that by making a positive left indent and a negative firs-line indent. However, that first-line indent cannot be greater than that left indent. That is you cannot make the bullet sit outside the text frame. InDesign just doesn't let you do that. So that's how you add a bullet manually. Kind of a hassle, huh? Let's see how to do it automatically. I'm going to press Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z a few times to get rid of all of that and let's select all of this text and add bullets to it.

Ready, here is how to do it the automatic way. I go up to the Control panel and I click on the Bullet button. Done. The only problem with this is that they look kind of clunky. I'd like to fine-tune them a little bit. Maybe change the bullet to something little more special, change the amount of space between the bullet and the text, and so on. To do that I need to open the Bullets and Numbering dialog box and I can get that from the Control panel fly-out menu by choosing Bullets and Numbering. But as you know by now if I can do something without using a menu I will.

So I'm going to get to the same place by Option or Alt+Clicking on the Bullets button. You can remember that it's the Option or Alt key because it gives you options for these bullets. The first thing we notice is that there is a list of different kinds of bullet characters. There are regular bullets, asterisks, this diamond-shape, this guillemet and I don't know what that's doing here. I'm going to go ahead and delete that character by clicking the Delete button, and instead I want to choose a bullet that I most want because none of those look good to me. So I'll click the Add button and it gives me this Add buttons dialog box.

I can choose any character from any font on my system. In this case I'm going to type-in Min to jump to Minion Pro and choose a font style down here. Regular is pretty good. I am now looking at every character inside Minion Pro and I can scroll through here until I find a character that I like. I picked Minion Pro because I happened to know it has a lot of cool ornaments in it. So I'll just scroll down here until I find something that looks pretty. There is something kind of Floral for my Floral catalog. Let's click OK and then choose that as my bullet character.

I could click OK to see that take effect, but instead I'm going to click the Preview checkbox. That way I can see it take effect without closing the dialog box. That's good, because I want to make a few more changes here. For example, let's change the Indent so that the text is a little bit closer. Currently it's set to 18 points. I'm going to make it a little bit closer. But remember how I said that you can not have a negative first-line indent that's bigger than your left indent? So I have to change my first-line indent first. It's kind of an annoying feature in InDesign but that's the way it works. I'll change this to -14 points and then I'll change this to 14 points. There we go! Now the text is actually a little bit closer to the bullet.

When we made the manual bullet we created a bullet and then pressed Tab. InDesign is also making our automatic bullets by typing the bullet character and following it with a Tab, and I can tell that because the Text After field is set to ^T. ^T is code for Tab. If I wanted to change that to something else other than a Tab I would click on this little triangle off to the side and you can see you can choose any of these special characters and InDesign will type the code for you. In this case however, I'm going to leave it set to Tab. Now the last thing I'm going to do here is change the character style.

I'll talk about styles in a later chapter but in this document I've already gone ahead and added a style for us to use called Bullets. And when I do that you can see that it's changed the color and the size of each of these bullets. It's styled them.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89556 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 29s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 47s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 47s
  18. 31m 7s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye
      20s

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