CSS Lists

The CSS list properties allow you to:

  • Set different list item markers for ordered lists
  • Set different list item markers for unordered lists
  • Set an image as the list item marker

HTML Lists

In HTML, there are two types of lists:

  • unordered lists (<ul>) - the list items are marked with bullets
  • ordered lists (<ol>) - the list items are marked with numbers or letters

With CSS, lists can be styled further, and images can be used as the list item marker.

Different List Item Markers

The list-style-type property specifies the type of list item marker.

The following example shows some of the available list item markers:


ul.a {
    list-style-type: circle;

ul.b {
    list-style-type: square;

ol.c {
    list-style-type: upper-roman;

ol.d {
    list-style-type: lower-alpha;
Try it yourself »

Note: Some of the values are for unordered lists, and some for ordered lists.

An Image as The List Item Marker

The list-style-image property specifies an image as the list item marker:


ul {
    list-style-image: url('sqpurple.gif');
Try it yourself »

Position The List Item Markers

The list-style-position property specifies whether the list-item markers should appear inside or outside the content flow:


ul {
    list-style-position: inside;
Try it yourself »

List - Shorthand property

The list-style property is a shorthand property. It is used to set all the list properties in one declaration:


ul {
    list-style: square inside url("sqpurple.gif");
Try it yourself »

When using the shorthand property, the order of the property values are:

  • list-style-type (if a list-style-image is specified, the value of this property will be displayed if the image for some reason cannot be displayed)
  • list-style-position (specifies whether the list-item markers should appear inside or outside the content flow)
  • list-style-image (specifies an image as the list item marker)

If one of the property values above are missing, the default value for the missing property will be inserted, if any.

Styling List With Colors

We can also style lists with colors, to make them look a little more interesting.

Anything added to the <ol> or <ul> tag, affects the entire list, while properties added to the <li> tag will affect the individual list items:


ol {
    background: #ff9999;
    padding: 20px;

ul {
    background: #3399ff;
    padding: 20px;

ol li {
    background: #ffe5e5;
    padding: 5px;
    margin-left: 35px;

ul li {
    background: #cce5ff;
    margin: 5px;


  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Coca Cola
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Coca Cola
Try it yourself »


More Examples

Full-width bordered list
This example demonstrates how to create a full-width bordered list.

All the different list-item markers for lists
This example demonstrates all the different list-item markers in CSS.

Test Yourself with Exercises!

Exercise 1 »  Exercise 2 »  Exercise 3 »

All CSS List Properties

Property Description
list-style Sets all the properties for a list in one declaration
list-style-image Specifies an image as the list-item marker
list-style-position Specifies if the list-item markers should appear inside or outside the content flow
list-style-type Specifies the type of list-item marker