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Bulleted and numbered lists

Bulleted and numbered lists are an important part of the general style in and we have some general rules that should be followed.


Lists exist to highlight important content to the reader and therefore tend to be fragments of sentences (not complete sentences). When creating a list item, the first letter should not be capitalised and the point should not end with punctuation (a comma or full-stop/period).

The only time when a list item should have terminal punctuation is if the content is really a sentence (in which case you should probably consider taking it out of a list) or where there is a terminal colon indicating a sub-list.

An examples of a list:

  • first item
  • second item
  • third item with a list:
    • sub-list item one
    • sub-list item two
Bulleted lists

Bulleted lists are the commonest use-case at and a great way to highlight content to a reader.

Numeric lists

Numeric lists should only be used when the order of the list is important to the reader, e.g. when describing the types of choledochal cysts.

Mixed lists

Mixing numbers and bullets is perfectly fine providing the numeric list is used correctly:

  1. condition A
    • point
    • point
  2. condition B
  3. condition C
Lists with headings

In some circumstances, a list will contain headings. This is common in anatomy articles or, when listing staging or classifications. This is one of the few cases where bulleted lists can contain bold text, e.g.:

  • arterial supply: example
  • venous supply: example 2

The emboldened text will be followed by a colon which should also be bold.

Parentheses in lists

Parentheses are used sparingly in lists and usually surround percentages, e.g.:

  • hyperdense (68%)

If parentheses are used outwith this setting, it is usually in error and the list item should be reworded to use a colon or other punctuation.

Dashes in lists

In most cases, a dash or hyphen shouldn't appear in a list. In most cases, it will be taking the place of a colon or other appropriate punctuation.

Related articles

Help and Style Guide

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