Create Bullet Lists in Apple Mail

Here are some tips on how to easily create and manage bullet lists in Apple’s Mail application.

Let’s start with the basics. You may know that you can type a few lines of text and then convert the text to a bullet list by selecting the text and then either clicking the bullet list button or going to the Format menu, selecting Lists and then Insert Bullet List.

That’s all well and good, but clients have asked me how to add more white-space between the list items and how to add sub-bullet lists. Both are possible once you know a few keyboard shortcuts.

1. To increase white space, you can add a blank line without a bullet on it by pressing Control-Return, instead of simply pressing Return key.

2. To add a sub-bullet list, press return and then press Tab. This will change the bullet’s appearance and indent it. When you’re done with the sub-bullet list and want to return to the main bullet list, press Shift-Tab.

Below is a minute-long video demonstrating all of these features. First I type three items. I select this text and convert it to a bullet list. Then I insert extra blank lines between the list items by pressing Control and Return. Next, I insert some sub-bullet items by pressing Tab and then typing the items. Finally, I press Shift and Tab to return to primary bullet list. I add some more items and then use Control-Return to insert blank lines.

Bullet List Demonstration Video

Note: These keyboard shortcuts work in other Apple applications like Pages and TextEdit.

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