Microsoft Word Logo Hero

A drop-down list in a Microsoft Word document lets people select from a predefined items list. Adding this drop-down list is fairly easy, and we’ll show you how to do it.

First, Enable the Developer Menu

The option to add a drop-down list is located in Word’s Developer menu. This menu is hidden by default, so you’ll have to enable it before you can add a list.

Start by opening Word on your Windows or Mac computer. At the lower left of the window, select “Options.” If you already have a document open, select the File menu to reveal the “Options” command.

Select "Options" in Word.

In the “Word Options” window that opens, on the left sidebar, select “Customize Ribbon.”

Select "Customize Ribbon" in Word's "Word Options" window.

In the “Customize Ribbon” pane on the right side of the screen, scroll down the list and enable the “Developer” option.

Enable the "Developer" option on Word's "Word Options" window.

Advertisement

Click “OK” at the bottom of the window to close it.

Add a Drop-Down List to a Word Document

After adding the Developer menu, you’re now ready to add a drop-down list to your Word document. To start, either open an existing Word document or create a new document.

RELATED: How to Create Fillable Forms with Microsoft Word

In your document, place your insertion point where you want to add the drop-down list.

Select area to add a drop-down list in a Word document.

Next, select the “Developer” menu.

Click "Developer" at the top of the Word window.

On the “Developer” menu, in the “Controls” group, click the “Drop-Down List Content Control” icon (It looks like an actual drop-down icon.).

Select the drop-down option in Word's "Developer" menu.

You now have a drop-down list in your document.

A drop-down list in a Word document.

Configure Your New Drop-Down List

This drop-down list is not configured and is currently empty. To configure it and add items to it, click the drop-down list to select it. Return to the Developer menu and, in the “Controls” group, click “Properties.”

Click "Properties" in Word's "Developer" menu.

Word will open the “Content Control Properties” window. Start by entering a title for your list. This will appear at the top of your drop-down list.

Select "Title" on Word's "Content Control Properties" window.

Note: Note: Word automatically fills in the “Tag” field to match the Title field. The tag for a content control object is used mostly by other programs to identify content control data in a document’s XML structure. So, unless you’re building some document automation and specifically need to set the tag, just ignore it. 
Advertisement

Use the “Color” option to select a color scheme for your drop-down list.

Select a drop-down list color on Word's "Content Control Properties" window.

If you want to prevent people from editing your drop-down list, activate the “Content control cannot be deleted” option. Note, though, that unless you lock your document, anyone can go and disable this option.

Lock the drop-down list from Word's "Content Control Properties" window.

You’ll now add items to your drop-down list. To add your first item, under the “Drop-Down List Properties” section on the current window, click the “Add” button.

Click "Add" to add a drop-down list item on Word's "Content Control Properties" window.

On the “Add Choice” window, type a new item name into the “Display Name” field. The “Value” field automatically fills itself with the data from the first field, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Then, click “OK” to add your item. Repeat this process for each item that you want to add to your drop-down list.

Enter the item name in "Display Name" field and click "OK."

After you have some items added, you can change their order. To change an item’s position in the list, select that item, and then click either “Move Up” or “Move Down” on the right.

Select "Move Up" or "Move Down" to change the item order.

Finally, click “OK” to save your changes.

Click "OK" to save the drop-down menu.

Advertisement

Your drop-down list will now display your added items. Click it to test it for yourself.

Click the drop-down menu on the Word window.

Delete a Drop-Down List from Microsoft Word

To remove this drop-down list from your document, select the list. Then, from the “Controls” section at the top, click “Properties.” Disable the “Content control cannot be deleted” option, and then click “OK” at the bottom.

Unlock the drop-down list in Word.

Right-click the drop-down list in your document and select “Remove Content Control.” The list will now be removed.

Remove the drop-down list from a Word document.

And that’s how you give people predefined options to select from in your Word documents!


Did you know that you can add checkboxes to your Word documents, too? This is yet another way to let people select items in your documents.

RELATED: How To Add Check Boxes to Word Documents

Mahesh Makvana Mahesh Makvana
Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who specializes in writing how-to guides. He has been writing tech tutorials for over a decade now. He’s written for some of the prominent tech sites including MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and Online Tech Tips.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.