How to use bullets to make a long sentences easier to read

If a sentence contains a series of related ideas or laundry-list items, put them in a
bullet format. To make a bullet format, follow these steps:
Step Action Bullets
1 Break the sentence into a lead-in statement and list ideas under it.
Use this technique only for a long series. Don’t use it for a series of
only two or three ideas unless you want to emphasize them.
Punctuate the lead-in statement in one of two ways:
If the lead-in statement is then use
a complete sentence a colon (:).
an introductory phrase an em dash (—).*
2 *Style may vary, as explained below.
3 Use the same grammatical form for each listed item, such as an
infinitive phrase, noun, or verb.


Departure information will include a complete forwarding address, the reporting
date to the new unit, the order and paragraph number, the issuing headquarters,
and the date of departure.
Departure information will include
– complete forwarding address
– reporting date to new unit
– order and paragraph number
– issuing headquarters, and
– date of departure.
After—alternate style:
Required departure information:
• Complete forwarding address.
• Reporting date to new unit.
• Order and paragraph number.
• Issuing headquarters.
• Date of departure.

Punctuation conventions for bullet lists are flexible. To minimize punctuation in
this text, we’ve omitted the em dash after introductory phrases and limited the
use of periods and capital letters. Whatever style bullet or punctuation adopted,
be consistent throughout. When in doubt, follow local SOP.

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