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Bullets help draw to the reader's eye to the first line in 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. Before we get into how to use automatic bullets in InDesign, let me show you how best to make them manually. I have my brochure document open, and I'm going to zoom in on this center panel. I have five paragraphs here that I want to add a bullet to, and I'll double-click before the first paragraph, and add a bullet manually. I'll do that by pressing the Option key, or Alt key on Windows, and then the number 8.
That adds the bullet for me, and I can follow it with a ab. Now I'll add that to my other paragraphs. I'll press Command+Down Arrow or Control+ Down Arrow to jump to the next paragraph, and add them, and so on, and so on. So now I have a bulleted list. It's not a very pretty bulleted list; we need to make it a little bit more attractive, so I'll select these paragraphs, and I'll go up to the control panel, and change my indents. First I am going to give it a positive indent; I'll say 18 points. Now I'll press the Tab key two times to jump to the first line indent field.
Here I'm going to not type a positive first line indent; I'm going to type a negative one. I'll say -9 points, and I'll hit Enter. This is what's called a hanging indent. A positive left indent and a negative first line indent makes the first line hang out in the margin. In this case, the bullet hangs in what is the margin of these paragraphs. Hanging indents are particularly good when you have paragraphs that span more than one line, like this last paragraph here, because it automatically wraps to the proper place.
So that's how you would add bullets manually. It takes a little bit of work, but you can get the effect you want. Now let's see how you could do it automatically. Let's go back to my original document by choosing Revert. I'll zoom in on the same text, select the same paragraphs, and this time, instead of typing those bullets manually, I am going to go to control panel, and just click on the bullet feature. When I click on that bullet button, they all get bullets automatically, and the text wraps appropriately.
Now, I could get the same effect with that indented bullet by going to the control panel, and changing my negative first line indent to -9 instead of -18. Now that first line is not hanging out quite so far. Obviously, the automatic bullet feature is much faster at getting the same effect. So now the only problem I see is that I have these really dumb looking round bullets. Everybody uses those bullets. I want to have something with a little bit more class. To change my bullets I need to go to the Bullets dialog box. To get there, I am going to on hold down the Option or Alt key on my keyboard, and click on the bullets button in the control panel.
Here you can see a number of bullet characters we could use: the regular old round one, or an asterisk, or a diamond; I don't know who would use those. This one I kind of like: the double angle bracket called the Guillemet. When I click on that, because the Preview checkbox is turned on, you can see those bullets update immediately. There is one more bullet character in here, kind of this A with accents on it, and I have to tell you, I think it's a bug. I've had this on my machine for years, and I don't know; some machines seem to have this, some machines have a different kind of bullet, but if you see it, just ignore it; obviously you don't want to use that as a bullet.
You can, however, get your own custom bullet. I'll click on the Add button, and I'm going to come over here and choose a font that I know has a lot of interesting ornaments in it: Minion Pro. Minion Pro ships with InDesign, so I know everybody has it, and now, when I choose that -- I'll hit the Tab key to make it take effect -- and now I can see all the characters that are inside that font. It's kind like the Glyphs panel, Aad as I scroll down here, I can find interesting characters that I might want to use. I am going to use this triangle; I like that one. I'll click OK, select it, and then click OK here, and now you can see that all of these paragraphs have the triangle bullet.
See? It wasn't so hard to get bullets after all. Now how about automatic numbers? We'll see how to do that in the next movie.
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