I like the Boadilla layout for Beamer presentations, but I find its enumerate bullet points illegible, as illustrated below (from the Beamer Theme Matrix).

Boadilla bullet points

How can I change the formatting of the bullet points in the enumerate environment to something more legible, like the default style, illustrated below?

default bullet points

Is it possible to borrow a different style's bullet point formatting, either in whole, or in parts (itemize and enumerate separately)?


4 Answers 4


You can use

\setbeamertemplate{itemize items}[default]
\setbeamertemplate{enumerate items}[default]

See section 12.1 of the manual of beamer for more information.

  • 4
    This is cool, but it seems not to change the TOC items. Also, it'd be good to include a section number for the manual, cause that's one dense document.
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 3:23
  • 7
    Also, items is the parent of both enumerate and itemize items, so you can just do something like \setbeamertemplate{items}[square], and it will apply to both.
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 3:31
  • For changing the style of the TOC items, you can call \setbeamertemplate{sections/subsections in toc}[...] (i.e., with default). Alternatively, see here. Commented yesterday


% Adapted from beamerinnerthemedfault.sty
\setbeamertemplate{itemize item}{\scriptsize\raise1.25pt\hbox{\donotcoloroutermaths$\blacktriangleright$}}
\setbeamertemplate{itemize subitem}{\tiny\raise1.5pt\hbox{\donotcoloroutermaths$\blacktriangleright$}}
\setbeamertemplate{itemize subsubitem}{\tiny\raise1.5pt\hbox{\donotcoloroutermaths$\blacktriangleright$}}
\setbeamertemplate{enumerate item}{\insertenumlabel.}
\setbeamertemplate{enumerate subitem}{\insertenumlabel.\insertsubenumlabel}
\setbeamertemplate{enumerate subsubitem}{\insertenumlabel.\insertsubenumlabel.\insertsubsubenumlabel}
\setbeamertemplate{enumerate mini template}{\insertenumlabel}



  • It's right, but not the common use.
    – Leo Liu
    Commented Feb 15, 2011 at 21:58
  • @Leo Liu: I suspected so, and only posted my answer because the original version of your one didn't seem to work.
    – lockstep
    Commented Feb 15, 2011 at 22:00
  • You're right. I misused braces (should be bracets).
    – Leo Liu
    Commented Feb 15, 2011 at 22:04

You can use inner theme constructs to achieve a uniform style. For instance, when I prefer to use square face for items, sections and subsections, I would use the following.


Please browse the beamer source code for various themes to get an idea about available inner themes and how various themes define certain styles. I felt that this way was easier to find what I was looking for to customize instead of reading the beamer manual.

  • This is excellent!
    – mcp
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 20:49

Abstraction of Properties in Beamer

\defbeamertemplate{element id}{option id}[argument index][default optional arg]{...definition...}

Beamer's Technique: Give everything a label (or unique id) and apply things by referring to their label/id.

Equivalent words for ids in beamer jargon from my experience

  • template
  • alias

Enumerated List Template Definitions

\defbeamertemplate{enumerate item}{circle}{...definition...}
\defbeamertemplate{enumerate subitem}{circle}{...definition...}
\defbeamertemplate{enumerate subsubitem}{circle}{...definition...}
\defbeamertemplate{enumerate mini template}{circle}{...definition...}

To make formatting easier, all of those levels can be abstracted into one object we can call a parent with

\defbeamertemplateparent{enumerate items}{enumerate item,enumerate subitem,enumerate subsubitem,enumerate mini template}{}

It is also possible to abstract the hell out of the layers again by assigning an alias to the whole thing, but this is not done for enumerated lists:

\defbeamertemplatealias{itemize item}{triangle}{default}
\defbeamertemplatealias{itemize subitem}{triangle}{default}
\defbeamertemplatealias{itemize subsubitem}{triangle}{default}

Example of Defaults for Enumerated

As you can see, there is no formatting, just numbering. This is why using ``''

\defbeamertemplate*{enumerate item}{default}{\insertenumlabel.}
\defbeamertemplate*{enumerate subitem}{default}{\insertenumlabel.\insertsubenumlabel}
\defbeamertemplate*{enumerate subsubitem}{default}{\insertenumlabel.\insertsubenumlabel.\insertsubsubenumlabel}
\defbeamertemplate*{enumerate mini template}{default}{\insertenumlabel}

Example Using fontawesome as Bullet

Makes the bullet a right-facing chevron in itemized lists.

\defbeamertemplate{itemize item}{chevron}{\usebeamerfont*{itemize item}\raise1.25pt\hbox{\faAngleRight}}



It just imports another inner theme, which controls aspects of the content of slides. It loads rounded. Without looking into the details of rounded, I can guess from the semantics of the name that that is ther reason for the ugly enumerated balls.

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