How to Create Custom Bullet Point Lists in Word 2016

To enhance your Word documents when creating bullet point lists, here’s a look at how to use customized bullet points instead of the standard black dots.

If you use Microsoft Word to create documents, chances are you’ve used the bullet point function to break up lists. Most of us usually use the standard points, which is fine, but you might want to make your documents more elegant. Here’s a look at how to enhance your documents by using customized bullet points instead.

If you’re running an earlier version of Microsoft Office, make sure to check out our article on creating custom bullet points in Word 2010.

Using Custom Bullet Points in Word 2016 and Word 2013

When you come to the point in your document where you want to create a bullet point list, highlight the text you need. Here you might typically just click the Bullets button from the Mini Toolbar (unless you disabled it) to add the standard bullet points that everyone uses.

Of course, you can select the bullet button from the Ribbon under the Home tab in the Paragraph section, too.

But, you can select the bullet drop-down menu to choose one of the designs from the Bullet Library for a few more options.

Now, to create a more customized look, select Define New Bullet from the drop-down list.

Then in the Define New Bullet screen select either Symbol, Picture, or Font — we’ll take a look at each one.

Symbol brings up a character map where you can choose whichever one you like. Note that you can choose any font that you have installed on your computer.

If you choose Font, you can format your bullet with color, emphasis, etc.

Pictures will bring up an “Insert Pictures” screen. Here you can browse for images on your PC, Bing, Facebook, Flickr, or OneDrive. Note that if you use a picture, it’s treated as a font so there isn’t any way to resize them like traditional graphics. You need to use the font point size to change it.

In the following example, I chose an image of my dog from my local machine. I increased the text size to help you see it better. I found that using actual images can be rather difficult versus symbols or icons. But feel free to try out other options and find the perfect image; be creative and have fun!

Every time you add a new bullet it will be stored in the Bullet Library so you can easily access them again.

What are some of your favorite customized bullets? Leave a comment below and let us know.



  1. Richard

    May 6, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Nice Post Brian….Thank you! I sometimes wondered what that “Define New Bullet” menu item was for. I can definitely use this feature…thanks again!

  2. Janet Cavender

    May 4, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Office 365 is not allowing us to use Bing to search for a custom bullet picture anymore UNLESS signed in to Microsoft. Also, want to use Office 2016 WITHOUT 365. Please help.

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