Cochrane Style Manual

In this section: General guidance | Lists within paragraphs | Bulleted and ordered lists

General guidance

There are different ways of formatting lists. The choice of format should be based on the clearest way to display the information.

Lists may form parts of sentences within paragraphs, or different levels within a list may be differentiated using bullet points (bulleted lists), or numbers with or without letters (ordered lists).

In general, the choice of formatting (i.e. bulleted or ordered lists) and numbering should be consistent within a single document.

Within paragraphs



Separate each item with a comma.

Note: the comma or semicolon before the 'and' is optional (see Punctuation).

Risk factors include a previous history of macrosomia, maternal obesity, maternal weight gain during pregnancy, multiparity, and male fetus.

In complex sentences, such as those including several long phrases, introduce the list with a colon and separate each item with a semicolon. Items in the list should be parallel in form (all nouns or all phrases, etc.).

The conference included several topics: preparing a protocol; searching databases and trial registers; and drafting a Methods section.

Bulleted and ordered lists

Bulleted and ordered lists, in which each item is displayed on a separate line, can be set out in a number of ways. Bulleted and ordered lists can go to three levels within a single list (nested lists), as shown below. Nested lists can be constructed using the indent buttons in Review Manager 5 (RevMan 5) to adjust the level of list items. Do not attempt to format the list by using spaces to indent the items because the formatting changes during the publication process and the published result may look unsatisfactory. The 'and' before the final item in the list is optional (see Punctuation).



Platform phrase and list items are a single sentence


The programme aims to help you:

  1. learn about systematic reviews;
  2. develop your protocol; and
  3. learn how to develop your search strategy.

The programme aims to help you:

  • learn about systematic reviews;
  • develop your protocol; and
  • learn how to develop your search strategy.

Platform phrase with a full stop before starting the list


The programme aims to help you with the following.

  1. Learn about systematic reviews.
  2. Develop your protocol.
  3. Learn how to develop your search strategy.

The programme aims to help you with the following.

  • Learn about systematic reviews.
  • Develop your protocol.
  • Learn how to develop your search strategy.

Independent list with no platform phrase

Nested lists can be constructed using the indent buttons in RevMan 5 to adjust the level of list items.

  1. Australia (country)
    1. South Australia (state)
      i.    Adelaide (city)
      ii.   Port Augusta (city)
    2. Western Australia (state)
      i.     Fremantle (city)
      ii.    Perth (city)
  2. USA (Country)
      1. California (state)
        i.     Anaheim (city)
        ii.    Los Angeles (city)
      2. Illinois (state)
        i.    Chicago (city)
    • Australia (country)
      • South Australia (state)
        -    Adelaide (city)
        -    Port Augusta (city)
      • Western Australia (state)
        -     Fremantle (city)
        -     Perth (city)
    • USA (Country)
        • California (state)
          -     Anaheim (city)
          -     Los Angeles (city)
        • Illinois (state)
          -     Chicago (city)

      Secondary outcomes

      • Change (and rate of change) in wound size (with adjustment for baseline size where change or rate of change in wound size was reported without adjustment for baseline size).

      • Participant health-related quality of life/health status: measured using a standardized generic questionnaire such as EQ-5D, SF-36, SF-12 or SF-6. Ad hoc measures of quality of life that were not validated and were not be common to multiple trials were not eligible.

      • Wound infection: as defined by author.

      • Mean pain scores: we included this information only where the data were reported as either a presence or absence of pain, or as a continuous outcome using a validated scale such as a visual analogue scale.

      • Resource use: including measurements such as number of dressing changes, nurse visits, length of hospital stay, readmission and reoperation/intervention.

      • Costs: any costs applied to resource use.

      • Wound recurrence: as defined by study author.