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Is there a standard way to give a list of bullets a title in LaTeX? For instance, if I wanted something akin to this:

Pros:

  • Pro 1
  • Pro 2
  • Etc.

Cons:

  • Con 1
  • Con 2
  • Etc.
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

I'm not aware of any "standard" way to do it, but often \subsection* or \subsubsection* is (mis-?)used for this. It depends on the document layout. The lower level \paragraph* and \subparagraph* normally don't break the line and aren't usable because of that.

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I'd add that 'headed bullet lists' like this are not necessarily great design. There are of course places where they are appropriate, but for those as Martin says a (sub)section is usually the best choice. – Joseph Wright Oct 10 '11 at 8:48
    
\paragraph breaks the line. Only \subparagraph doesn't. (at least for article class) – Seamus Oct 10 '11 at 10:52

One thing you could do, is nest these itemize environments in a description environment:

\begin{description}
  \item[Pros:]\ 
    \begin{itemize}
      \item Pro 1
      \item Pro 2
      \item Etc.
    \end{itemize}
  \item[Cons:]\ 
    \begin{itemize}
      \item Con 1
      \item Con 2
      \item Etc.
    \end{itemize}
\end{description}

But note that I had to add a "\ " space at the end of the description items, and that it messes with the indentation quite a bit. Probably not a very good solution overall...

Edit: I did not see Seamus' update... which is cleaner and to the point, but here is another solution:

\begin{description}
    \item[Pros:]
\end{description}
\begin{itemize}
  \item Pro 1
  \item Pro 2
  \item Etc.
\end{itemize}
\begin{description}
    \item[Cons:]
\end{description}
\begin{itemize}
  \item Con 1
  \item Con 2
  \item Etc.
\end{itemize}
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I tried this, but the spacing does go a bit odd. And (given my solution) I don't there's any need to next list environments to achieve this... – Seamus Oct 10 '11 at 8:50

What about:

\begin{itemize}
\item [\textbf{Pros}]
\item Pro 1
\item Pro 2
\item \dots
\item [\textbf{Cons}]
\item Con 1
\item Con 2
\item \dots
\end{itemize}

pros and cons

OK, so it's a bit "unsemantic" but it looks fine...


Alternatively, use \paragraph:

\paragraph{Pros}
\begin{itemize}
\item Pro 1
\item Pro 2
\item \dots
\end{itemize}

\paragraph{Cons}
\begin{itemize}
\item Con 1
\item Con 2
\item \dots
\end{itemize}
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Because Pros and Cons are about the same length, this works fine. If you wanted words of obviously different lengths, and you wanted them left aligned (rather than right aligned as here) then you'd need to do some work... – Seamus Oct 10 '11 at 9:22
2  
Putting the title inside the list like this made it stick way out into the left margin for me. So, I just put \noindent\textbf{Title} on the line above \begin{itemize} so that it and the list form their own paragraph. That gave me results that look more like your screenshot. Honestly, it makes more sense to me to have the title outside anyway. Is there any reason not to do it the way I just described? – Brandon Oct 10 '11 at 10:25
    
@Brandon You can use \paragraph as per my updated answer. And anyway, if you knew how to do what you wanted, why did you ask the question? – Seamus Oct 10 '11 at 10:51
    
Could whoever downvoted this please explain why? – Seamus Oct 10 '11 at 15:06
    
Note that my question was "is there a standard way to title bullets", not "how do I put some bold text above a list of bullets". Yes, I know how to use bold text. From the responses I've gotten, the answer to my question seems to be "No, there is not a generally accepted 'correct' way to title a list of bullets. So if you just want to use some bold text or a subsection header to do it, those options are just as good as anything else." – Brandon Oct 10 '11 at 23:14

As to your question, Brandon: Yes, there is a standard way of doing such things in LaTeX. First, you check if there is a great package designed to do what you want. This is usually the case. If none exists, however, the best way to go forward is to define your own macro. The advantages of this approach have been stated many times but it's good to repeat them from time to time: Producing output that will likely be used multiple times throughout your document via a macro ensures consistency, easy adaptability (should you decide to change something later on) and readability of your code.

In your particular case, it seems best to simply define a new environment. Using paragraph to typeset the title as suggested by previous answers, you could write something like this:

\documentclass{article}

\newenvironment{titlemize}[1]{%
  \paragraph{#1}
  \begin{itemize}}
  {\end{itemize}}

\begin{document}

\begin{titlemize}{Pros:}
\item Pro 1
\item Pro 2
\item Etc.
\end{titlemize}

\begin{titlemize}{Cons:}
\item Con 1
\item Con 2
\item Etc.
\end{titlemize}

\end{document}

Here's the output:

Titlemize environment in action.

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