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First, you need to customize Word's ribbon and enable the “Developer” tab to show the option to add check boxes. Then, select “Developer” and click the “Check Box Content Control” button to insert a check box into your document. You can also transform Word's bullets into checkboxes.

When you create surveys or forms with Microsoft Word, check boxes make the options easier to read and answer. We’re covering two good options for doing just that. The first is ideal for documents that you want people to fill out digitally within the Word document itself. The second option is easier if you’re planning to print documents like to-do lists.

Option 1: Use Word’s Developer Tools to Add the Check Box Option for Forms

In order to create fillable forms that include checkboxes, you first need to enable the “Developer” tab on the Ribbon. With a Word document open, click the “File” drop-down menu and then choose the “Options” command. In the “Word Options” window, switch to the “Customize Ribbon” tab. On the right-hand “Customize the Ribbon” list, select “Main Tabs” on the dropdown menu.

Select "Customize Ribbon," then make sure that "Customize the Ribbon" is set to "Main Tabs."

On the list of available main tabs, select the “Developer” check box, and then click the “OK” button

Notice that the “Developer” tab is added to your Ribbon. Just position your cursor in the document where you want a check box, switch to the “Developer” tab, and then click the “Check Box Content Control” button.

You should see a check box appear wherever you placed your cursor. Here, we’ve gone ahead and placed a check box next to each answer and, as you can see, those check boxes are interactive. Click a box to mark it with an “X” (as we’ve done for answers 2, 3, and 4) or select the whole form box (as we’ve done for answer 4) to move the check box around, format it, and so on.

You can add as many check boxes as you want.

RELATED: How to Create a Fillable Form With Microsoft Word

Option 2: Change Bullets to Check Boxes for Printed Documents

If you’re creating a document to print out—like a to-do list or printed survey—and just want check boxes on it, you don’t have to mess around with adding Ribbon tabs and using forms. Instead, you can create a simple bullet list and then change the bullets from the default symbol to check boxes.

In your Word document, on the “Home” tab, click the small arrow to the right of the “Bullet List” button. On the dropdown menu, select the “Define new bullet” command.

In the “Define New Bullet” window, click the “Symbol” button.

In the “Symbol” window, click the “Font” dropdown and choose the “Wingdings 2” option.

Set the font to "Wingdings 2."

You can scroll through the symbols to find the empty square symbol that looks like a check box, or you just type the number “163” into the “Character Code” box to automatically select it. Of course, if you see a symbol you like better—like the open circle (symbol 153)—feel free to choose that instead.

When you’ve selected your symbol, click the “OK” button to close the “Symbol” window, and then click the “OK” button to close the “Define New Bullet” window, too.

Scroll until you find the empty box character, or enter "163" into the "Character Code" box. Then hit "OK."

Back in your Word document, you can now type your bullet list. The check boxes appear instead of the regular bullet symbol.

You add new check boxes just like you would any other bullets.

And the next time you need the check box symbol, you don’t have to navigate through that whole set of windows. Just click that small arrow to the right of the “Bullet List” button again, and you’ll see the checkbox listed under the “Recently Used Bullets” section.

The "Bullet List" check boxes are not interactive, so only use them for printed documents.

Again, this method is really only useful for documents you want to print out. The check box symbols are not interactive, so you can’t check them off inside a Word document.

If you’re also creating spreadsheets and presentations, you may want to learn how to insert checkboxes in Excel and add checkboxes to PowerPoint too.

RELATED: How to Add a Check Mark or Tick Mark in Word

Profile Photo for Martin Hendrikx Martin Hendrikx
Martin Hendrikx has been writing about technology for years. His freelance career includes everything from blog posts and news articles to eBooks and academic papers.
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Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
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