Lists

Lists are a great way to present complex text in a way that's easy to scan.

A list should have at least two items but no more than seven items. Each item should be fairly short—the reader should be able to see at least two, and preferably three, list items at a glance. It’s OK to have a couple of short paragraphs in a list item, but don’t exceed that length too often.

Make all the items in a list consistent in structure. For example, each item should be a noun or a phrase that starts with a verb.

Bulleted lists

Use a bulleted list for things that have something in common but don’t need to appear in a particular order.
Examples
The database owner can:

  • Create and delete a database.
  • Add, delete, or modify a document.
  • Add, delete, or modify any information in the database.


Bring your customers into focus

  • Own your customer relationship.
  • Create raving fans.
  • Engage in new ways.

Numbered lists

Use a numbered list for sequential items (like a procedure) or prioritized items (like a top 10 list).
Example
To sign on to a database

  1. On the File menu, select Open database.
  2. In Username, enter your name.
  3. In Password, enter your password, and then select OK.

Introductory text

Make sure the purpose of the list is clear. Introduce the list with a heading, a complete sentence, or a fragment that ends with a colon.

If you introduce a list with a heading, don’t use explanatory text after the heading. Also, don’t use a colon or period after the heading.

Global tip If your content will be localized, avoid lists where an introductory fragment is completed by the list items below it. This can be difficult to translate.

Capitalization

Begin each item in a list with a capital letter unless there's a reason not to (for example, it’s a command that's always lowercase). If necessary, rewrite the list item so that all items begin with capital letters or all items begin with lowercase words.

Punctuation

Don’t use semicolons, commas, or conjunctions (like and or or) at the end of list items.

Don’t use a period at the end of list items unless they’re complete sentences, even if the complete sentence is very short.

Examples
Devices affected by this recall

  • Original Surface Pro
  • Surface Pro 2
  • Surface Pro 3


Limitations on meeting organizers

  • Only invited presenters can be selected as breakout room managers.
  • The number of breakout room managers is limited to 10.
  • Breakout room managers can't be assigned to specific rooms, but they can move freely between rooms.

If the list is introduced by a sentence fragment that ends with a colon, end all the items in the list with a period if any item forms a complete sentence when combined with the introduction.

Examples
Knowledge managers can:

  • Confirm or remove topics that were discovered in your tenant.
  • Create new topics manually as needed.
  • Edit existing topic pages.

Exception Don’t use periods if all items have three or fewer words or if the items are UI labels, headings, subheadings, strings, or similar types of text.


The administrative templates for Microsoft Edge are:

  • msedge.admx
  • msedgeupdate.admx


The topic answer will display:

  • The topic name
  • Alternate names
  • The definition

In UI

Often lists are a series of radio buttons or checkboxes inside dialog boxes or settings pages. Unless they’re complete sentences, don’t use punctuation for each item in a list. If punctuation is necessary for clarity, make sure punctuation is used consistently in the list and in other lists within the same section or screen.