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Bullets and Numbering

Lesson 7 from: Adobe InDesign CC Intermediate: Beyond the Basics

Erica Gamet

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Lesson Info

7. Bullets and Numbering

Next Lesson: Paragraph Rules

Lesson Info

Bullets and Numbering

And speaking of bullets, let's do a bulleted list. So I'm gonna come in here. And I'm gonna create a list, in fact, I have a list. Let's open that up. I have another text here, that I have. Let's see, sample list, I believe is the right one. There we go. So, I have this item, and I just want to create a bulleted list. Don't worry about the levels, we're not actually gonna create levels. We're just gonna create a bulleted list off of this. So when I select all of this text, I can go head up to the Bullets and Numbering menu, and come down to Bullets and Numbering, and by default, there are no bullets or numbering. Everything's off. So, I'm going to tell it, instead, I want it to be bullets. If I turn on Preview, I can see what's happening with that. Now, granted, I have these different levels, we're not gonna worry about that. I'll show you that in a minute, what we do with those. But, I'm gonna come here, and I'm gonna tell it, I want a bullet in front of every item that's here. And I ...

can use a couple that are built in, or I can create my own, if I don't like the bullets that are there, I can say Add. This brings up the glyph panel again that we already looked at, and I can even bring it in from another font. So maybe, I want my bullets to be Zapf Dingbats, and I want them to be little asterisks. I can go ahead and add that, and say OK, and now I have that option available to me. So now I've got that Zapf Dingbats, and I need to make sure that I have that font loaded when I go to use this. I might not be thinking that I have Zapf Dingbats in there, but because I used a bullets from that font, I need to make sure I have that font loaded. I can also tell it what I want to have happen after the text. So I want there to be some tabs after the bullet. I want there to be a tab space, and I also can tell it what character style I would like my bullets to be in. And if I don't have one, I can create one on the fly. Now, we haven't gone over Styles yet, but the only thing I'm gonna do is just say put a color in there, and we'll choose one of the existing colors. Just gonna go ahead and give it green, and say OK. And now, I've got my bullets in that separate color and a different character, as well. If I don't want to do numbers, actually let's fix this really quick, the alignment, the tab position is what we're running into here. Whoops, let's come in here to the First Line Indent, and make that a quarter inch that's there, and the Tab Position is also back at negative quarter. Huh, this is the one thing that I usually set up using the Tabs panel, because trying to do this mathematically, sometimes, to me, is quite difficult to do. I'm gonna go back into my Bullets and Numbering. I hit OK, and it closed it out. So, I can play with the tab positioning here, or I can actually, instead, just style it here using the Tabs panel. So I can actually visually see what my tabs are doing here. It's a lot easier to work with, I think. I'm gonna go back into Bullets and Numbering, and instead of bullets, I'm going to give it numbers. So now I have just a numbered item that's here, and I can choose what format I want my numbers to be in. And that includes, even, lettering if I want that. In this case, I'll just keep it with the Arabic numbering. And I can also tell it what happens after the number. So, this looks like a lot of gobbledygook, and it kind of is. I'm gonna delete this, because I have this actual secret menu that's over here. So I'm gonna click on this item, and I'm going to say, instead, I'm going to insert. The first thing I want to insert is the current level. That's what the number one is, so I've got number one showing up, and I have nothing in between. I need to add that spacing, so that is what the metacharacter is for the current level. So current level number one, and then I want it to be followed by a period, so I'm just gonna type that in, and if I click off of that, just somewhere else in this, or if I tab off of it, I can now see that it created that period. And now I want it to have a little bit of space. So that's what the Insert Special Character is, tab. So now when I do that and hit tab, oops. Come on, let's put that in there. Insert Special Character, Tab, there we go. And so now when I do that, and I hit tab off to the side, I can see that now I've got my number, my current level, followed by a period, followed by a tab. Again, I can set up character styling. I already have that character style, so we can put it in that number if we want. And all the tabbing, I can either do mathematically here or I can do it here, and then it will automatically update for me. I can use the Tabs panel like we did a second ago. And that's simple numbering. I also have another document here where I already have this list, this unformatted list, and I want to format that in such a way that I have sort of an outline set up. So I actually have that re-premade for you. So let's do that, we'll just look at how we created that. So I'm able to do this with the numbering. This is an outline, and this is a little bit more complicated than it probably needs to be, but I do have multi-levels that are here, including my sub-levels down below here. So how did we set that up? I'm gonna show you how I set it up, and then we're also going to, we're gonna see that I saved them as Styles, so that next time I can just click on them as I add new information, it will automatically style for me. So let's actually look what we've done with each of these. So on this text, if I use Bullet and Numbering, and I'm just on this particular line that's here, I can see that I have set up my formatting, one, two, three, four. It's the current level, followed by a period, followed by a tab, just like we saw. And then, no character style here. And then also, it's set at level one. So level one is all the way off to the left. If I click this next item, so I'm on this 1.1 here, it's a little different. I'm gonna come down to Bullets and Numbering, and instead, I have the same styling, but I've told it it's level two, and that gives it that indentation. In fact, this is where I keep changing the indentation. Again, trying to do it mathematically, now you're trying to take the first line indent, and add it to the value before it. Sometimes it's easier to work visually with the Tabs panel, but we can do that there, and it will automatically feed that information in. But what I've done, is I've told it here, this is a little different. This basically says, this little caret one says that it takes the level from up above and puts in the current level, excuse me, so I put in the current level here, or I'm sorry, the first one, the one before the dot, is taking the information from the level up above. And then the dot one is this current level. So let me show you what I mean by that. So let's delete everything that's in here. And so I'm just gonna tab off that. So I can see there's actually no numbering, even though it's still level two, it still indented it, but I need to put that numbering in there. So what I need to do is, I want it first to tell it Insert Number Placeholder. I need it to grab the level above. I'm in level two, so I want it to grab anything that's in level one. So it did that. Then, I want to have a period after that, so I just type in a period, and then I want to tell it then the current level. So now I've got 1.1, and then I want it to have a tab afterwards. Alright, so I've got that. So now, it follows, 1.2, 1.3, when I hit return here, it automatically numbers it 1.4, 1.5. It's going to continue that, unless I suddenly decide that this needs to be level two. Now, in this case, I used Styles. Like I said, we're gonna do Styles later, but I have all that information we just entered into these Styles. If I suddenly decide this needs to be where I start a new main topic, I just need to click this other Style, Level_1, where I've entered all that level one information, just like I did up here, and click that, and now it moves, and everything else gets numbered down below that. So I'm gonna show you how to do that. I'm gonna show you, actually, I think I'll show you in this one here, because we do want to take a break soon, and I just want to make sure I get this covered, here. So, in this case, I want to I want to make sure that when I jump, maybe I have something that doesn't have any styling applied to it. In this case, maybe I have a new header, or there isn't anything at all. I want to make sure that my numbering continues on, even though I have information here, so this is Non numbered, but I wanna make sure that this continues to the next block. Or maybe I wanna make sure that, even though I have two text frames that aren't even linked together. I'm gonna create a separate text frame here. And I am going to, they're not connected in any way, and if I were to delete this, let's delete everything that's here. And I start over here, I can go ahead and if I copy and paste this information into this field here, you notice it picks up, even though they're not related. I don't have the text frames turned on, the text threads are not linked at all. It knows to pick up from here to here, and that's because we used what's called a list. And a list lets you jump the numbering between paragraphs, across stories, even stories that aren't linked, so let's look at that again, what we've done with this. So if I go back into my Bullets and Numbering, I can look and see that I have this thing called Multilevel List that I created. So I created a list, New List, and every time I add any information to any of these Styles that are here, I make sure that I have this list selected. So when I create a new list, if I were to create a new one, it says, do I want to continue the numbers from previous document in a book, which is the InDesign Book feature, or if I want to continue numbers across Stories. That lets me, like I say, create an unconnected text frame and jump that information across, and that numbering will continue. Where that comes in super handy is if I were doing something like just numbered frames. Maybe I'm doing captions for images, and I wanna make sure that I have each of these frames, I may need to turn on my frame edges, so we can see that. So let's show frame edges, so I've got this one, this is Rome, and this one says Venice, and we'll do this one says Florence. So we've got these cities, and I want to make sure that each of these are numbered in such a way that the order I put them in is the order that they get numbered. So I want it to say figure A, Rome, Figure B, Venice. I can do that. I can come in here, and I can say that I want the numbering options here. I want this to be numbered, and I need to create a list. And this list is going to be called "Captions." And I wanna make sure both things are checked. So now I've got that listed. Everything's going to be level one, and instead of numbers, I want it to be letters, but I don't want it to say A, just like that. What I want it to say is, and you can type in whatever text you want here, I'm gonna say I want it to be Figure space, and then I want it to be the current level, so it's going to say Figure A, followed by space, dash, space. So I just want to put in that text that's there. So let's do that. So now, it says figure A dash space, Rome, and that's great. So what I want is I want to use this over and over again, this same sort of formatting, and I want it to be here and here as well. Now, in this case, I can go ahead and type in that same thing, or I can create a Style. And again, we're not really gonna go over Styles just yet, but I'm gonna show you what I've done. I'm just gonna create this. Option, Create a New Style, and I'll just call this "Captions." The only reason I'm doing that, is so all that Bullets and Numbering stuff I just put in, I just don't have to type it again. This is the exact stuff we just entered in the Bullets and Numbering field, and it's already put in here to the Style for me. The reason I did that is cause I just want to select this and tell it that's a caption, and that's a caption. So now by doing that, it says A, B, and C. Now if you notice, as I rearrange this, those don't exactly rearrange for me. The reason it's able to jump from frame to frame when they're not connected is that it keeps in track of what order you created those frames in. So unfortunately, if you use this, you probably don't wanna do it until you've placed everything on the page, and placed it in the right order. Now there is a way around that. I can basically remove it from a page, or replace it on a page in the proper order. So to do that, I need to say, okay, this one's first, that's fine. I want this one to be second. I want this to be a B, so I have to cut it. So I'm gonna do CMD or Ctrl + X to cut it, and then I'm gonna go back and paste it right in place. So that's paste in place, so it doesn't look any different, because it's still the third thing that I've placed, but I'm gonna grab this one, and so I'm doing it in the order I want them to be numbered. I'm gonna cut it, and then paste in place. So as I do it, each on gets renumbered. So it's redrawing what order I put it in; therefore, it's renumbering the bullets that are there, I'm sorry, the numbering that's there. And just because it's letters, it's still set up as a list, and they are connected in some way, so that I have that continuing from frame to frame to frame.

Ratings and Reviews

Marianne Stewart

I've been using InDesign for a decade, and decided to take this class to see what else I could learn. Wow! Erica taught me ways to do repetitive tasks easier, faster, and cleaner. She showed me many, many ways that I wasn't using InDesign to it's fullest potential (and now I am!). Her teaching style is very thorough and in-depth, but also easy to follow and understand. I highly recommend this class!


Great class, but as a former professional typesetter (before InDesign, PageMaker and QuarkXpress), Erica uses the term "Justified Left" incorrectly! (sorry!) There is no such thing. Justified refers only to text that spans the width of it's column from edge to edge. The spacing in-between words will vary. Used primarily in newsprint where the columns widths are narrow. The other proper terms for text alignment are: Flush Left Ragged Right (or) Left-Aligned Flush Right Ragged Left (or) Right-Aligned Centered Justified The oddball is "Justified". It's the only option where word spacing is variable. This is the least desirable because it creates "Rivers and Valleys" of white space that distract the eye. Letter and word spacing can be tightened or tweaked to improve the overall look, but at cost in time.


Great class and very informative. Erica’s a good instructor. Given the volume of information presented I’d like to see class materials included. It makes the course much easier to follow.

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