Insert a check box to make a checklist

Checking off an item in a list can be very satisfying. There’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment you get when you fill a series of boxes with check marks.

Example of list with check boxes

Start with this quick procedure to set up Word to create a checklist.

Make a bulleted or numbered list into check boxes

Sometimes a bulleted or numbered list is actually a to-do list, and what you want is to change the bullets or numbers to check boxes and a list that you’ll print and check off as you go.

  1. Select the entire list. The bullets or numbers won’t appear selected.

Bulleted list text selected

  1. Click Home, and then click the arrow next to Paragraph> Bullets.

Paragraph Bullets

  1. If you don’t see a check box in the Bullet Library, click Define New Bullet.
  1. Click Symbol, and choose a check box symbol from the table of symbols.
  1. Click OK, and then click OK again in the Define New Bullet dialog box.

The check box symbol will appear in the Bullet Library to use whenever you want a to-do list instead of a bulleted list.

If you use a lot of checklists, you might have preferences for whether to check off your list electronically or on paper. Use the following procedures to set up checklists the way you like to use them.

What do you want to do?


Make a checklist that you can check off in Word

For check boxes that you can check off in Word, you’ll add a check box content control to your document. To find the check box control, you’ll have to add the Developer tab to the ribbon first. Here’s how:

Step 1: Show the Developer tab

  1. Click the File>Options>Customize Ribbon.
  2. Under Customize the Ribbon, click Main Tabs.
  3. In the list, select the Developer check box, and then click OK.

Developer check box

Step 2: Make your list

  1. Click Developer>Controls>Check Box Content Control, and then press TAB
  2. Type the first item in your list, and then click ENTER.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each item in your list.

 Tip    If typing each item gets tedious, another way to create the list is to type all the items in the list, insert the check box control and tab character for the first item, and then use copy and paste to add the check box and tab character to each item in the list.

 Note    When you start to check off items on the list, Word will make an X when you click the check box. If you want to use a check mark symbol instead of the X, select the check box content control, click Properties in the Controls group, and then click the Change button next to Checked symbol. You can then choose a new symbol. The new symbol will replace both the box and the X.

Step 3: Refine the layout

If some of the items in your list are more than one line long, you might want to adjust the layout so that the items are aligned.

  1. Select the list. The bullets or numbers won’t appear selected.

Bulleted list text selected

  1. Click Home> Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher.

Paragraph dialog box launcher

  1. Under Indentation, type 0.25 in the Left box.
  2. Under Special, click Hanging.

Step 4: Group the controls so that you can check the items in the list

To check off the items by clicking in the check boxes, you need to group the controls. This will lock the text and layout.

  1. Click Home>Editing>Select>Select All.

Select All on the Select menu

  1. Click Developer>Controls>Group>Group.

O14 Ribbon

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Make a checklist to print

If you want to create a checklist with check boxes that you check off on paper, change your bullet style to a box symbol. You can choose from a variety of box characters.

  1. Type your list of items.
  2. Select the list. The bullets won’t appear selected.

Bulleted list text selected

  1. Click Home, and click the arrow next to Paragraph>Bullets.

Paragraph Bullets

  1. Click Define New Bullet>Symbol.
  2. In the Font box, click the arrow and choose a symbol font that is installed on your computer, such as Wingdings.
  3. Scroll through the list of available symbols, and then double-click the box symbol that you want to use, such as an open box (Open box ) or a three-dimensional box (3D box ).

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Applies to:
Word 2013