Bullet points: How to use them effectively

Reviewing a number of resources recently has made me think about how we use bullet points, particularly in learning materials. This is very much just my opinion (although the little bit of reading I’ve done on this shows similar ideas).

Bullet points should not be overused. If you have a block of bullet points followed shortly after with another block of bullet points, sometimes the eye can jump over the text in between straight to the second block. So it’s worthwhile making sure that there is a clear block of text for the eye to be drawn to in between.

Keep bullets for lists or key points, for example. If they have a lead in sentence, then each bullet should make sense as a continuation of that sentence. For example, bullet points are useful for:

  • listing items
  • highlighting key ideas.

Short sentences are okay in bullet points, but if it’s going over about 3 lines, then just make another paragraph. If you have a couple of sentences in the point, consider emphasising the main idea at the start using bold. The reader should be able to quickly scan the section and see what the key information in that block of text is.


Have a look at the following resources about using bullet points:

  1. 7 tips for using bullet points in e-learning
  2. Best practices for bullet points
Nathaniel Written by:

Nathaniel is passionate about people reaching their full potential. He has expertise and experience in education, e-learning, face-to-face and online facilitation, virtual mentoring, training, leadership and school governance.