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


In HTML, there are two types of lists:

  • unordered lists - the list items are marked with bullets
  • ordered lists - 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 type of list item marker is specified with the list-style-type property:

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

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

Values for Unordered Lists

Value        Description
none        No marker
disc        Default. The marker is a filled circle
circle        The marker is a circle
square        The marker is a square
Values for Ordered Lists

Value                     Description
armenian                The marker is traditional Armenian numbering
decimal                    The marker is a number
decimal-leading-zero     The marker is a number padded by initial zeros (01, 02, 03, etc.)
georgian                 The marker is traditional Georgian numbering (an, ban, gan, etc.)
lower-alpha             The marker is lower-alpha (a, b, c, d, e, etc.)
lower-greek             The marker is lower-greek (alpha, beta, gamma, etc.)
lower-latin             The marker is lower-latin (a, b, c, d, e, etc.)
lower-roman             The marker is lower-roman (i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.)
upper-alpha             The marker is upper-alpha (A, B, C, D, E, etc.)
upper-latin             The marker is upper-latin (A, B, C, D, E, etc.)
upper-roman             The marker is upper-roman (I, II, III, IV, V, etc.)
Note: No versions of Internet Explorer (including IE8) support the property values "decimal-leading-zero", "lower-greek", "lower-latin", "upper-latin", "armenian", or "georgian" UNLESS a DOCTYPE is specified!

An Image as The List Item Marker

To specify an image as the list item marker, use the list-style-image property:

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

The example above does not display equally in all browsers. IE and Opera will display the image-marker a little bit higher than Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

If you want the image-marker to be placed equally in all browsers, a crossbrowser solution is explained below.

Crossbrowser Solution

The following example displays the image-marker equally in all browsers:

list-style-type: none;
padding: 0px;
margin: 0px;
background-image: url(sqpurple.gif);
background-repeat: no-repeat;
background-position: 0px 5px; 
padding-left: 14px; 
Try it yourself

Example explained:

  • For ul:
    • Set the list-style-type to none to remove the list item marker
    • Set both padding and margin to 0px (for cross-browser compatibility)

  • For li:
    • Set the URL of the image, and show it only once (no-repeat)
    • Position the image where you want it (left 0px and down 5px)
    • Position the text in the list with padding-left

List - Shorthand property

It is also possible to specify all the list properties in one, single property. This is called a shorthand property.
The shorthand property used for lists, is the list-style property:

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

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

  • list-style-type
  • list-style-position (for a description, see the CSS properties table below)
  • list-style-image

It does not matter if one of the values above are missing, as long as the rest are in the specified order.