Bullets in Excel

posted May 1, 2013, 1:38 PM by Ezra Kenigsberg   [ updated May 2, 2013, 10:07 AM ]

#DataTipOfTheDay 2013-05-01

Q: "How do I make bulleted lists in an Excel cell?"

A: Two answers here, depending on how fancy you want to get.

The simple answer:
  1. copy-and-paste the formula below into any cell in your workbook. 
  2. replace each instance of "A1" in the formula with the address of the cell you want to show in bulleted format.
=IF(A1 <> "", CHAR(149) & " " & SUBSTITUTE(A1, CHAR(10), CHAR(10) & CHAR(149) & " "), "")

(Hat tip to MarinusP's array formula, at bit.ly/googlebullet.)

The fancy answer:
  1. right-click this link and click "Save Link As..." (or "Save Target As...") to save my add-in, "List 2013-05-01.xla"*, to your computer.
  2. I recommend saving it to
    • C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART (for Win7) or
    • C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART (for Win XP)
      ...XLAs saved to the XLSTART directory automatically open when I start Excel.
  3. use the BULLET() function to create a bulleted list. Examples shown below.
Bulleted List Screenshot

The BULLET() function takes up to three arguments:
  1. (required) the text (typically a cell reference) to be shown in bulleted format
  2. (optional) nudge left indent for wrapped lines (default is 0)
  3. (optional) nudge right margin for all lines (default is 0; positive numbers make lines longer, negative numbers make lines shorter)
(Hat tip to Skip Vought's "HangingIndent" function: bit.ly/hangingindent.)

* License for "List 2013-05-01.xla":
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
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Ezra Kenigsberg,
May 1, 2013, 1:38 PM
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