I would like to add a bullet in front of every \item[], i.e.

 \item[bla] blubb


bla blubb

I quickly found how to remove them from itemize statements, but not the inverse. So, I would like to know how to prepend every description's item label with something.


4 Answers 4


It would probably be better if you create your own list type using enumitem's \newlist feature.

If you don't want to do so, here's a hack, but it is somehow maintainable: Use the enumitem package and do the following:


That is, you encode the special stuff in the thing that should be your font, but it works fine, as long as the $\bullet (or equivalent) is in front of the actual description label.


\blindtext Coco likes fruit. Her favorites are:
\item [Bananas] yellow and banana shaped
\item [Apples] red and round
\item [Oranges] orange and round
\item [Lemons] yellow, kinda round
  • 2
    The following works really nice when put in the preamble: \usepackage{enumitem}\setlist[description]{font=\textendash\enskip\scshape\bfseries}
    – Marki
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 7:04
  • Works like a charm, but if the item text goes beyond one line, the wrapped text is not aligned properly. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 16:54
  • Still works perfectly. Tested under Texworks and Miktex 21 under Windows 10.
    – scs
    Commented May 1, 2021 at 21:44
  • I had to do two things to get suggestions here to work. 1. color didn't work until I added \usepackage{xcolor} to the preamble. 2. scshape didn't work until I added \normalfont right before it to clear previous font settings. Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 14:22

One quick way is to do it manually for each bullet:

  \item[$\cdot$ bla1] item 1
  \item[$\bullet$ bla2] item 2
  \item[$\ast$ bla3] item 3

This produces:

  • Obviously, that is not what I planned to do :-)
    – Marki
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 14:17
  • 1
    @Marki - there may be a way to do it for each item as a renewcommand, but the quick and dirty way works. Even with a lot of items, you could do a search/replace and put in the $\cdot$ command for each item. But, maybe someone will come along and present a different way to do it.
    – Chris Gregg
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 14:42
  • 2
    Though this was not the OP asked, I thank you @chris Gregg, as it was useful to me ;)
    – Sos
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 10:50
  • Hi, could you build subitem under your prescription? I used "\subitem[$\cdot$ bla1] item 1", it gives me "[. bla1] item1". I do not want the "[]".
    – user26143
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 13:17
  • I don't get it what is wrong with itemize? e.g. \begin{itemize} \item one. \item two. \item three. \end{itemize} sharelatex.com/learn/Lists Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 14:48

You can use the itemization function (https://www.sharelatex.com/learn/Lists)


\item one.

\item two. 

\item three.


And the output:

enter image description here

  • 5
    The question asks for description lists. Not itemize.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 10:21
  • 5
    Thanks for adding this answer nevertheless. Helped me with my issue. Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 6:54
  • this should be the accepted answer. Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 14:47

You can globally redefine the \descriptionlabel[1] to whatever you want.

In the case of this question, something like :

\renewcommand\descriptionlabel[1]{$\bullet$ \textbf{#1}}

The output

enter image description here

The code

\renewcommand\descriptionlabel[1]{$\bullet$ \textbf{#1}}
  \item [myDescriptionLabel] myItem

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