How To Add Check Boxes to Word Documents

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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

RELATED: How to Create Fillable Forms with Microsoft Word

In order to create fillable forms that include check boxes, 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.

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 answer 1) or select the whole form box (as we’ve done for answer 2) to move the check box around, format it, and so on.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Martin Hendrikx is a technology writer and author with years of experience. He has traveled to 47 countries and counting and is well versed in all things Windows.