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Academic Technology

Effective Use of Bulleted Lists

Accessibility Tip: June 2024

A student walks by spring flowers, and from Talley, with a bag of food on a spring day on main campus. Photo by Marc Hall
Photo by Marc Hall

When you scan a document, it’s likely that a bulleted list jumps out at you as a place where important content might be listed. Whether you read the text or have screen-reading software read it for you, a bulleted list effectively highlights key points. It also serves to break up long paragraphs. Of course, there are some tips for making these lists as effective and accessible as possible.

  • Try to keep each point to two sentences or fewer.
  • Use parallel structure – perhaps always starting with a verb, and ending with a period.
  • Use them only when appropriate – for lists and concise points, not just as a way to separate sentences.
  • Keep them simple – one level of bullets is best. Multiple levels are less understandable at a glance and don’t come across clearly for screen reader users.

When you’re providing documents, look for opportunities to use lists where you might have paragraphs. Used effectively, they will help everyone get the most out of your text – but especially those using screen readers and those who are neurodiverse.