Skip to content

We follow rules and guidelines when using bulleted and numbered lists on to make sure that you can easily understand both their purpose and meaning. 

Purpose of lists

We use lists to make it easier for you to:

  • scan the page, and
  • understand information by visually separating out the points.

Lists are always marked up with the correct html so they're accessible.

We use bulleted lists (coded as unordered lists) to list items or points, and numbered lists (coded as ordered lists) for processes where the order of steps is important.

We try to:

  • keep our lists short (2–7 items)
  • only use 1 level of nesting.

Bulleted lists (unordered lists)

We use 2 types of bulleted lists – single-sentence lists and multi-sentence lists.

When we’re writing a single-sentence list, we:

  • start with a stem sentence that all the points have in common
  • start each point in lower case, and only use a full stop on the last point
  • don't use 'and' or 'or' on the second-to-last point
  • check that each point makes a full sentence when read with the stem.

Multi-sentence lists are introduced by a complete sentence.

  • Each point in the list is also a complete sentence.
  • Each point can be 1–3 sentences long.
  • Each point begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.

Numbered lists (ordered lists)

We use numbered lists for processes, where steps need to be done in order.

  1. First, you do this.
  2. You do this next.
  3. To finish the process, you do this.

Tips for more complex lists

There are 3 main options for managing more complex information in lists – for example, when there is extra information attached to some bullets and not others, or when points have nested bullets and others don’t. The main aim is to make the information as clear as possible to read.

Use dashes and colons

Use dashes and colons to separate the information in a single-sentence list – although not grammatically correct, it is clear to read. If you're using a lot of dashes, you might need to consider one of the other methods.

Use a multi-sentence list

Turn the list into a multi-sentence list.

Restructure the content

Re-structure the content into headings and sub-headings.

Contact us

If you’d like more information, have a question, or want to provide feedback, email

Content last reviewed 21 October 2020.