Bullet Point Styles

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When HTML first came into use in the early 1990s, all unordered lists looked the same because there was only the standard black dot symbol to use as a bullet point. With Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), so much more is possible. Lists can be styled with different shapes, a user-selected image or a combination of options.

Standard CSS Bullet Styles

  • The standard bullet styles you can choose in CSS include a disc, square or circle or a lower-roman, upper-roman, lower-alpha or upper alpha character. The code for a lower roman character looks like the following:

    ul {

    list-style-type: lower-roman;

    }

    To change one designated list to this style, create a class and give it the lower-roman attribute, as such:

    .ul_new {

    list-style-type: lower-roman;

    }

    The list code would appear in the body of your document, as such:

    <ul style="ul_new">

    <li>first bullet</li>

    </ul>

Styling through bullet position

  • You also can change the position of the bullet, altering whether it's indented or outdented.

    This code is now written:

    .ul_new {

    list-style-type: lower-roman;

    list-style-position: inside;

    }

    This is useful when you want the bullet in line with other content (inside).

Changing the style with another image

  • A more controlled way to get the exact look of the bullet point is to use your own pre-designed bullet image. Make sure the image is small enough to be a bullet point, as larger images can throw the page formatting off. The code would look something like this:

    ul {

    list-style-image: URL(http://locationoffile/nameoffile.jpg);

    }

    The URL points to the location of the image on the server.

In HTML

  • If you want to directly alter the list in the HTML, specify the list style in each bullet point:

    <ul>

    <li type=square>text 1<li>

    <li type=square>text2</li>

    </ul>

    The fastest way is through CSS.

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