Make a checklist in Word

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2000 and 2002

You can create a checklist and check off items electronically by opening the document in Word. However, if you just need a checklist that you print, you can make a list where each item has a box that you check off on paper.

The result looks something like the following illustration.

Example of check list

 Note    If you cannot check off an item electronically, it might be formatted for printing only or the document might be locked.

Make a checklist that you can check off in Word

To use boxes that you can check off in Word, you insert the check box form field into your document. This looks best if you use a table to align the check boxes with the text, so your first step is to create a table. After you have the table, you can insert the check boxes in one column and the text in the other column, and then you can refine the layout. To check off the items, you lock the form.

Step 1: Create a table

  1. On the Table menu, point to Insert, and then click Table.
  2. In the Number of columns and Number of rows boxes, type or select 2 columns and the number of rows that you want. You need one row for each item in your list.
  3. Click OK.

Don't worry about the size of the columns or the border lines in the table. You will fix those later.

Step 2: Insert the check boxes and text

  1. Click the top left cell.
  2. On the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Forms.
  3. On the Forms toolbar, click Check Box Form Field Button image.

 Note   If the check box has a gray background, click Form Field Shading Button image on the Forms toolbar to remove the gray shading.

  1. Click the next cell where you want to insert a check box, and then press CTRL+Y to insert another check box.
  2. After you insert a check box for each item that you want, click the top right cell and type the text for the first item. Repeat this step for each item in the list.

Step 3: Refine the layout

Although you are using the table to lay out the list, you probably don't want the border lines that Word usually includes with the table. You probably also want to adjust the spacing so that the column that contains the check boxes isn't too wide, and the text is lined up close to the check boxes. To make these adjustments, do the following:

  1. Right-click the table, point to AutoFit, and then click AutoFit to Contents.
  2. Right-click the table, click Table Properties, and then click the Table tab.
  3. Click Options, and in the Left and Right boxes, type or select a number that will provide a little bit of space between the check box and the text, such as .02, and then click OK.
  4. Back on the Table tab, click Borders and Shading, and then click the Borders tab.
  5. Under Setting, click None, and then click OK.

 Note   After you remove the border lines, you may still see gray border lines. These are the table gridlines, and they do not show when the document is printed. If you'd rather not see them at all, you can hide them by clicking Hide Gridlines on the Table menu.

Step 4: Lock the form

To check off the items by clicking in the check boxes, you need to lock the form. However, when the form is locked, you won't be able to make changes to the text or layout, so be sure to do this step last.

When you want to edit the document, you can easily unlock the form. Just remember to lock it again so that you will be able to click the check boxes.

  • When you are ready to lock the form, click Protect Form Button image on the Forms toolbar.

 Note   If you need to unlock the form, just click Protect Form Button image again.

Make a checklist to print

If you just want to create a checklist that you will work with on paper, you can create a list that uses a box symbol as a bullet. This approach provides two advantages:

  • You won't need to unlock a form every time you want to edit the document.
  • You can choose from a variety of box characters, rather than being limited to a simple square.

The way that you create a list like this depends on whether your document already contains bulleted lists with different kinds of bullets. If your document already contains several bullet formats, you can prevent inadvertently altering them by using a table, similar to the procedure above. If your document does not already contain several different kinds of bullets, you can make a bulleted list with a custom bullet format.

ShowCreate a table to prevent altering the existing bullets

  1. On the Table menu, point to Insert, and then click Table.
  2. In the Number of columns and Number of rows boxes, type or select 2 columns and the number of rows that you want. You need one row for each item in your list.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Click the top left cell.
  5. On the Insert menu, click Symbol.
  6. In the Font box, click a symbol font that is installed on your computer, such as Wingdings.
  7. 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.
  8. Click Close.
  9. Click the next cell where you want to insert a box, and then press CTRL+Y to insert another box.
  10. After you insert a box for each item that you want, click the top right cell and type the text for the first item. Repeat this step for each item in the list.
  11. Right-click the table, point to AutoFit, and then click AutoFit to Contents.
  12. Right-click the table, click Table Properties, and then click the Table tab.
  13. Click Options, and in the Left and Right boxes, type or select a number that will provide a little bit of space between the check box and the text, such as .02, and then click OK.
  14. Back on the Table tab, click Borders and Shading, and then click the Borders tab.
  15. Under Setting, click None, and then click OK.

 Note   After you remove the border lines, you may still see gray border lines. These are the table gridlines, and they do not show when the document is printed. If you'd rather not see them at all, you can hide them by clicking Hide Gridlines on the Table menu.

ShowCreate a bulleted list with custom bullets

  1. Type your list of items.
  2. Select the list.
  3. On the Format menu, click Bullets and Numbering, and then click the Bulleted tab.
  4. Click a bullet format that is not being used elsewhere in the document, and then click Customize.
  5. Click Character.

 Note   In Word 2000, click Bullet.

  1. In the Font box, click a symbol font that is installed on your computer, such as Wingdings.
  2. 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.
 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003