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How to use bullet points


In another post, pendrake reported that he was having no joy with bullet points. I thought it was worth posting an explanation where everyone can see it, hence this post. Smile

pendrake's problem was that he was trying to do this:

Here are some bullet points:
* first point
* second point
* third point

As you can see, it isn't working. Now, while pendrake was correct in using three spaces, an asterisk, and another space, he's not left a blank line between "Here are some bullet points:" and the first point. Here it is with the blank line inserted:

Here are some bullet points:

  • first point
  • second point
  • third point

Yay! It works. Smile

Why do we need the blank line?

Our interpreter needs the blank line because the first thing it does is to split text into paragraphs. What it sees with the first example (the one that doesn't work) is a single paragraph with 3 line breaks (at the end of each of the first 3 lines). The asterisks are then "hidden" within the paragraph. With the second example it sees 2 paragraphs and, crucially, the second paragraph, starts with 3 spaces and a asterisk; that's the clue it needs to check inside the paragraph to see if it contains more bullet points.

If that behaviour seems odd, consider:

Mary had a little lamb.
It's fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

The above needs to be treated as a single paragraph but it needs the line breaks.

Note that poetry, even terrain related poetry, belongs in the off-topics forums. Smile

Additional Techniques:

While we're here, note that you can also insert a blank line between each of the bullet points, in which case you get this:

Here are some bullet points:

  • first point

  • second point

  • third point

This is useful if the points are longer than a few words

Finally, instead of the * you can use a # in which case you get numbers instead of bullet points:

  1. first point
  2. second point
  3. third point

or

  1. first point

  2. second point

  3. third point


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