Lists

How to use punctuation in a list depends on whether the introductory phrase is a dependent clause (it is not a complete sentence) or an independent clause (it is a complete sentence).

If the introductory phrase is a dependent clause, there is no colon.
In the past few months, I've been

• dressing more casually;
• finding unusual combinations of styles, colors, and textures; and
• looking for bargains.

If the introductory phrase is an independent clause, there is a colon.
People describe my wardrobe in many ways:

• sporty,
• colorful, and
• distinctive.

Here's what I think:

• My wardrobe is distinctive.
• I can decide what to wear depending on my mood.
• I need some new clothes.

My wardrobe has many distinct characteristics:

Unusual. Most people would not be comfortable making the same choices.
Versatile. I can dress comfortably for a business meeting or casual Friday.
Color-coordinated. I can mix and match garments to achieve a new look.

The following are examples of formatting alternatives for more complicated lists.

The major architectural components include

•    a thin client terminal hosting a Web browser—the client terminals periodically send location updates to the network;
•    an application server that delivers Web content prioritized according to user preferences—the application server formats the generated information content and adapts it for display on the client terminal; and
•    a context and profile manager (CPM) that tracks the user's dynamic context—the CPM also queries Web services and filters Web content data according to user profile context.
The architecture has three major components:
•    A thin client terminal hosts a Web browser. The client terminals periodically send location updates to the network.
•    An application server delivers Web content prioritized according to user preferences. The application server formats the generated information content and adapts it for display on the client terminal.
•    A context and profile manager (CPM) tracks the user's dynamic context. The CPM also queries Web services and filters Web content data according to user profile context.
The architecture has three major components:
•    a thin client terminal,
•    an application server, and
•    a context and profile manager (CPM).

The client terminal hosts a Web browser and periodically sends location updates to the network. The application server delivers Web content prioritized according to user preferences; it formats the generated information content and adapts it for display on the client terminal. The CPM tracks the user's dynamic context and also queries Web services and filters Web content data according to user profile context.