While Google Docs and Google Slides have built-in tools to insert special characters, Google Sheets works a little differently. You may have tried searching through the menus to find that option, but it simply isn’t there. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you can’t do it, as there are at least four ways to add bullet points to your Google Sheets. First, you can copy and paste the bullet points, use a shortcut, or use the CHAR function. Additionally, you can use custom number formats, which affect how the cell’s contents are displayed without affecting the contents themselves.
In this guide, you will learn four different ways of adding bullet points in Google Sheets. Depending on your needs, some methods are more appropriate than others. For example, if you’re typing the list and want to add the bullet points as you type, the shortcut and the copy & paste method are probably the most useful.
However, if you already have a long list of items in Google Sheets, the CHAR function and the ampersand (&) can help you quickly rewrite the list with bullet points. Finally, if you only want to display the bullet points without adding them to the cells, you can use a custom number format. You have step-by-step instructions on all four methods, so you can decide how you want to add your bullet points in Google Sheets.
How to Insert Bullet Points in Google Sheets: Copy & Paste
You can copy bullet points - or any other character - from a different program and paste them into Google Sheets. For example, the tool that allows you to insert special characters in Google Docs features a wide selection of possible bullet points. You can then copy the one you want and start creating your list in Google Sheets.
- 1. Find a bullet point you like and copy it. For example, if you use Google Docs, go to Insert > Special characters and insert the bullet point you want to use.
- 2. Select and copy the bullet point.
- 3. In Google Sheets, double-click on the cell you want to use and paste the bullet point. You can then type a space, followed by your list item.
- 4. If you want your entire list within a single cell, use the new line shortcut after each item - Alt + Enter (Windows) and Cmd + Enter (Mac) and then paste another bullet point.
How to Insert Bullet Points in a Cell with a Keyboard Shortcut?
You can insert bullet points in your cells with a keyboard shortcut: Alt + 7 (Windows) and Option + 8 (Mac). Select the cell where you want to add the bullet point and double-click to edit. Use the corresponding shortcut to insert a bullet point.
When sharing a Google Sheets spreadsheet Google usually tries to share the entire document. Here’s how to share only one tab instead.READ MORE
How to Insert Bullet Points in Google Sheets with the CHAR Function?
The CHAR function is versatile and easy to use. Simply type the function and use the decimal Unicode character as the function’s only parameter. If you already have the list in Google Sheets, you can use the CHAR function together with the ampersand (&) or TEXTJOIN to add the bullet points quickly. You can then copy the results and replace the original using the ‘Paste values only’ option.
In this case, I want to add a bullet point, and there are quite a few options, including the more traditional symbols used as bullet points:
- Black circle =CHAR(9679)
- Black square =CHAR(9632)
- Black right-pointing arrow =CHAR(9656)
Follow the steps below to see how to combine CHAR with the ampersand symbol (&) to add bullet points to your list.
- 1. In an empty cell, type the equal sign followed by the CHAR function. For this example, I will use the black circle: CHAR(9679).
- 2. Add the ampersand symbol (&). If you want a space between the bullet point and the item, add a space between quotation marks (“ ”), and then add another ampersand (&).
- 3. After the ampersand (&), select the cell containing the first list item.
- 4. Press ‘Enter’ to see the result. Grab the fill handle and drag it down to the last item.
If you work with important data in Google Sheets, you probably want an extra layer of protection. Here's how you can password protect a Google SheetREAD MORE
How to Display Bullet Points in Google Sheets with a Custom Format?
In all the methods shown above, the bullet point is added to the cell’s contents. However, what if you want to display the bullet points without adding them to the cell's contents? In Google Sheets, you can create custom number formats, which will affect how the data is displayed, but not how it is stored.
- 1. Select the cells containing your list items and go to Format > Number > Custom number format.
- 2. To display a bullet point before the cell’s contents, use the format shown below. I have included a space between the bullet point and the contents, but you can skip the space if you prefer: “● @”.
- 3. As you can see, the selected cells all display bullet points, but the contents themselves are unchanged.
As you have seen, although there is no menu option to insert bullet points or any other special characters in Google Sheets, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. In fact, you now know four different ways of adding bullet points to your spreadsheet cells. If you plan to type your list into Google Sheets, you can copy and paste the bullet points as you go. You can copy the bullet points from another source, such as Google Docs, and paste them directly into your cells in Google Sheets. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut to insert bullet points wherever you place your cursor in the cell.
However, these two methods can be tedious, especially if your list already exists in Google Sheets. Fortunately, there are two more methods that are very helpful in these situations. First, you can use the CHAR function to insert the symbol you want to use as a bullet point. You can quickly rewrite your list with bullet points by combining it with the ampersand (&) or the TEXTJOIN function. You can then easily replace the original list with the new one using the ‘Paste values only’ option. Finally, you have a quick and unintrusive method: custom number formats. This method allows you to display your list items with bullet points without actually having to add them to the cell’s contents.