How to make your lists readable and useful.
Why lists are important
Bulleted lists break up large blocks of text and make reading complex information easier.
Lists break up collections of similar items into more manageable chunks that are easier to read and use.
Numbered lists are useful for information where the order of steps is important.
Use lists to split up long sentences.
- complete a sentence
- be front-loaded with the most important information
- start with the same language element, like verb, noun, adjective
- be short (2 to 7 items)
- use only 1 level of nesting
- be grammatically correct.
For guidance on making lists accessible, see Lists — Web Accessibility Guidance project — NZ Government.
How to use single sentence lists
For single-sentence lists:
- 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
- check that each point makes a full sentence when read with the stem.
- use ‘and’ or ‘or’ on the second-to-last point
- place a comma after the last word before the ‘and’ or ‘or’.
How to use multi-sentence lists
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.
Code for lists
The ordered list element — MDN Web Docs
The unordered list element — MDN Web Docs