8.14 itemize


  \item[optional label of first item] text of first item
  \item[optional label of second item] text of second item

Produce an unordered list, sometimes called a bullet list. There must be at least one \item within the environment; having none causes the LaTeX error ‘Something's wrong--perhaps a missing \item’.

This gives a two-item list.

 \item Pencil and watercolor sketch by Cassandra
 \item Rice portrait 

With the default locale—without loading e.g. babel package with another language than USenglish—as a top-level list each label would come out as a bullet, •. The format of the labeling depends on the nesting level; see below.

Start list items with the \item command (see \item: An entry in a list). If you give \item an optional argument by following it with square brackets, as in \item[Optional label], then by default Optional label will appear in bold and be flush right, so it could extend into the left margin. For labels that are flush left see the description environment. Following the \item is the text of the item, which may be empty or contain multiple paragraphs.

Unordered lists can be nested within one another, up to four levels deep. They can also be nested within other paragraph-making environments, such as enumerate (see enumerate).

The itemize environment uses the commands \labelitemi through \labelitemiv to produce the default label (note the convention of lowercase roman numerals at the end of the command names that signify the nesting level). These are the default marks at each level.

  1. • (bullet, from \textbullet)
  2. -- (bold en-dash, from \normalfont\bfseries\textendash)
  3. * (asterisk, from \textasteriskcentered)
  4. . (vertically centered dot, rendered here as a period, from \textperiodcentered)

Change the labels with \renewcommand. For instance, this makes the first level use diamonds.


The distance between the left margin of the enclosing environment and the left margin of the itemize list is determined by the parameters \leftmargini through \leftmarginvi. (This also uses the convention of using lowercase roman numerals a the end of the command name to denote the nesting level.) The defaults are: 2.5em in level 1 (2em in two-column mode), 2.2em in level 2, 1.87em in level 3, and 1.7em in level 4, with smaller values for more deeply nested levels.

For other major LaTeX labeled list environments, see description and enumerate. The itemize, enumerate and description environment use the same list layout parameters. For a description, including the default values, and for information about customizing list layout, see list. The package enumitem is useful for customizing lists.

This example greatly reduces the margin space for outermost itemized lists.

\setlength{\leftmargini}{1.25em} % default 2.5em

Especially for lists with short items, it may be desirable to elide space between items. Here is an example defining an itemize* environment with no extra spacing between items, or between paragraphs within a single item (\parskip is not list-specific, see \parindent & \parskip):


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