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How do I grey out bullet points on PowerPoint?

Here is a 4000 word article on how to grey out bullet points in PowerPoint:


Greying out bullet points in PowerPoint is a great way to draw attention to certain points, while de-emphasizing others. This can help focus your audience on the most important pieces of information in your presentation. Greying out bullets is easy to do right within PowerPoint. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to grey out bullets in your PowerPoint presentation.

Why Would You Want to Grey Out Bullets in PowerPoint?

There are a few key reasons you may want to grey out some bullet points in your PowerPoint presentation:

  • To visibly de-prioritize some points – Greying out bullets allows you to keep information on a slide, while signaling it’s less important than other points.
  • To create visual hierarchy – Using full color for key points and greyed out text for secondary points creates a strong visual hierarchy that leads your audience to focus on the most important pieces first.
  • To focus attention – Eliminating color contrast on some bullets shifts focus towards the bullets that remain in full color, emphasizing those points.
  • For cleaner design – Greyed out bullets can give your slide design a cleaner, more organized look, compared to simply deleting less important bullets.

Overall, greying out bullets is a great technique for controlling the flow of information on your slides and guiding your audience’s attention.

How to Grey Out Bullets in PowerPoint

Greying out bullets in PowerPoint is easy to do directly within the software. There are just a few simple steps:

  1. Select the text you want to grey out – Click on the bullet text to highlight it.
  2. Open the “Font” tab – Go to the “Home” tab and click the dialog box launcher in the bottom right corner of the “Font” section.
  3. Adjust the text color – In the “Font” tab, click the drop-down menu next to “Text Fill” and select a grey color.
  4. Click “Close” to apply the changes.

And that’s it! The selected bullet points will now appear greyed out on your slide, while maintaining readability.

Other Ways to Grey Out Bullets

In addition to changing the text color, there are a couple other approaches you can use to grey out bullets in PowerPoint:

  • Reduce opacity – Rather than changing to a grey tone, you can lower the opacity of the text to fade it out partially. Go to the “Home” tab and reduce the opacity under “Text Fill.”
  • Use a shape – Insert a shape like a rectangle behind the text, fill it with a grey color, and send it behind the text so the grey shows through.

The text color method is usually simplest, but opacity and shapes give you more flexibility to partially grey out bullets.

Design Tips for Greying Out Bullets

When greying out bullets, follow these basic design principles for the best, most polished results:

  • Use consistent greys – Pick 1-2 shades of grey and use them uniformly when greying text.
  • Maintain sufficient contrast – Don’t grey out text too much or it will be hard to read. Do a test print to double check.
  • Grey out full bullets – Greying out just part of a bullet point can look messy. Grey the entire text of bullets you want to de-prioritize.
  • Avoid too much grey text – Use greyed out bullets sparingly, as large amounts of grey text can look dull.
  • Consider hierarchy – Make sure visual hierarchy flows logically; don’t have a grey sub-point under a main point that isn’t greyed out.

When to Avoid Greying Out Bullets

While greying bullets can be useful in many presentations, there are a few cases where you’ll want to avoid it:

  • Text-heavy slides – On slides already filled with dense text, consider deleting bullets rather than greying them out to simplify.
  • Small text – Greying tiny text can render it illegible, so you’re better off deleting or increasing text size.
  • Poor contrast slides – Avoid using grey text over darker backgrounds where there isn’t enough contrast.
  • Informal settings – In more casual or conversational slides, greyed out text can feel overly formal.
  • Minimalist designs – When going for a very clean, minimal look, deleted bullets may fit better than greyed out text.

Assess each situation to determine if greying bullets will enhance or detract from your slides.

Using SmartArt to Grey Out Bullets

In addition to greying text, you can also use SmartArt graphics to grey out bullets in PowerPoint. This can create visual interest and add polish.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Select your bullet points and go to “Home” > “Convert to SmartArt.”
  2. Pick a hierarchical SmartArt like “List Tree.” The less important points will appear greyed out and indented.
  3. To further customize, change SmartArt colors and layouts using the “Design” and “Format” tabs.

SmartArt creates an organized, graphical element you can use to supplement or replace plain greyed out bullets.

Using Sections to Grey Out Bullets

You can also use PowerPoint’s Section feature to grey out bullets on specific slides, rather than individually formatting each text box.

To do this:

  1. Select the slide(s) where you want greyed bullets.
  2. Go to “View” > “Section” and group the slides as a new section.
  3. With the section selected, go to “Design” > “Colors” and pick a grey text color.

This will apply the grey color to all text on the selected slides at once. Just remember to use sections intentionally, like greying on every other slide.


Greying out bullet points is an impactful stylistic choice that can add visual hierarchy and declutter your PowerPoint slides. By following the simple text color change method, as well as exploring options like SmartArt and sections, you can create more focused, professional presentations. Use this informative guide to implement greyed out bullets into your next PowerPoint successfully.

Step Instructions
1 Select the text you want to grey out
2 Open the “Font” tab
3 Adjust the text color to grey
4 Click “Close” to apply changes