Using Images in Bulleted Lists

Recently, several people have asked how to replace standard bullets with images in a bulleted list.


Changing the Bullet Character

Use the Bullets & Numbering dialog box to specify a different bullet character. If you can find a picture symbol that’s part of a font, you can use that symbol in your list. Here’s a symbol from the Zapf Dingbats font.

bullet_graphics_1.jpg

For details on changing the bullet character, see the Change bullet characters Help topic.


Replacing the Bullets with Images

It would be nice if we could specify images using the Bullets & Numbering dialog box, but we can’t. If you absolutely need to use images for bullets that aren’t part of a font, here’s the workaround solution.

Step 1 – Add a replacement bullet character

We’ll be using the Find/Change dialog box to replace the bullet character, so let’s pick a bullet character that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the document to be safe.

bullet_graphics_2.jpg

Step 2 – Convert the bulleted list to text

Before you do this step, make sure you’re done editing your list. If you need to add items to your list, you may end up doing extra work. Choose Type > Bulleted & Numbered Lists > Convert Bullets to Text.

Step 3 – Resize and copy the image to be used as a bullet

In my example, I scaled down a picture of a belt buckle until it was small enough to replace the bullet, and then I copied it.

Step 4 – Find and replace the bullet character with the pasteboard image

A neat little trick in the Find/Change dialog box is the ability to change the found text to whatever is copied to the Clipboard. Insert the dummy bullet character in the Find What field. Then click the @ icon to the right of the Change To field and choose Other > Clipboard Contents, Formatted. A ^c appears in the Change To field. Then find and change the bullets.

bullet_graphics_3.jpg

It’s not the most elegant solution, but it gets the job done.

bullet_graphics_4.jpg

One Response to Using Images in Bulleted Lists

  1. rob says:

    For global change “convert bullets to text”

    Convert style bullets and numbering to text

    When you create a style that adds bullets or numbering to paragraphs, these bullets and numbers may be lost if the text is copied or exported to a different application. To avoid this problem, convert the style bullets or numbering to text.

    Note: If you convert style bullets in an InCopy story linked to an InDesign layout, the change may be overridden when the content is updated in InDesign.

    In the Paragraph Styles panel, select the style that contains the bullets and numbering.
    In the Paragraph Styles panel menu, choose Convert “[style]” Bullets and Numbering to Text.
    If you convert bullets and numbering to text in a style on which another style is based (a parent style), the bullets and numbering in the child style are also converted to text.

    After you convert numbering to text, you may need to update numbers manually if you edit the text.