How to Create a Fillable Form In Word for Windows

Create Word documents that let readers make choices, check boxes, and more

A screen shot of Microsoft Word with the Developer tab selected and a red circle around the Controls group.
The Developer tab and Controls group.

Joli Ballew

You can create a fillable form document in almost any version of Microsoft Office Word, for free. The exceptions are Word Online (Word 365) and the mobile apps for iOS and Android. This tutorial will only cover Word for Windows.

The form data you create can include the option to choose a date, mark a check box, select Yes or No, and more. Before you can configure these “controls, as they are called, you must add the Developer tab to Microsoft Word. You create and configure any form data using this tab.

How to Add the Developer Tab in Microsoft Word

A screen shot of the Customize Ribbon options in Microsoft Word 2016.
Add the Developer tab.  Joli Ballew

To add the Developer tab in Word 2016, 2013, 2010:

  1. Click File.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Customize Ribbon.
  4. In the right pane of the dialog of Customize Ribbon part, choose Main Tab.
  5. Check the box for Developer.
  6. Click OK.

In all versions of Microsoft Word that support it, you add the Developer tab in the Customize Ribbon options. Once you are there, you only need to select a single check box and click OK to make the Developer tab appear.

To add the Developer tab in Word 2007:

  1. Click the Microsoft Office button.
  2. Click the Word Option button.
  3. Click Popular.
  4. Check the box for Show Developer Tab in the Ribbon.
  5. Click OK.

Note: Word Online in Office 365 has a File menu but no Options entry; you will have to opt to work in the full version of Word if you want to use the Developer tab.

How to Create a Fillable Form in Word with a Checkbox

There are several types of fillable form options in Word. These are called “Controls”. The options are in the Controls group on the Ribbon. You can add a check box, date selection box, a combo box with choices you create, drop-down lists, and more. These controls are on the Developer tab.

A screen shot of Microsoft Word Developer tab with the checkbox option selected.
Checkbox Control.  Joli Ballew

To create a basic fillable form in Word by providing a checkbox:

  1. Type the text to apply the checkbox to. Examples include:
    1. “Opt in to promotional emails”.
    2. “I agree to the terms stated in this document”.
    3. “I have completed all tasks”.
  2. Click the Developer tab.
  3. Place your cursor at the beginning of the sentence you’ve written.
  4. Click the Check Box Content Control that adds a check mark. (It has a blue checkmark on it.)
  5. Click somewhere else in the document to apply it.

Note: To remove any fillable entry, right-click it and choose Remove Content Control. Then use the Delete key on the keyboard to delete anything remains. In some instances simply clicking Delete will suffice.

How to Make a Form in Word with a Date Control

A screen shot of the Developer tab in Word with the Date Control option circled and a date control entered.
Add a Date Control.  Joli Ballew

You add a Date Control from the Developer tab to enable users to select a date from a pop-up calendar that appears when they click the control.

To add a Date Control fillable form entry:

  1. Place your cursor in the document where you’d like to add the Date Control.
  2. Click the Developer tab.
  3. Click the Date Picker Content Control entry for inserting a date control
  4. Click outside the new entry to apply it.

How to Make a Form in Word for a Combo Box

A screen shot that shows how to create a Combo Box fillable form entry in Word.
Add a Combo Box.  Joli Ballew

If you want to have users choose something from a list that you provide, you use a Combo Box. After you create the box using the Developer tab options, you then access the Properties options for it to enter the available choices. In this example you will create a drop down list for a party invitation, with options including Yes, No, Maybe.

To create a Combo Box to Make a Form in Word:

  1. Write a sentence that will precede the options you’ll provide. Examples include:
    1. “Will you attend the party?”
    2. “Will you be bringing a dish to the party”
  2. Click the Developer tab.
  3. Place the cursor in the document where you want the options to appear.
  4. Click the Combo Box Content Control icon. (It’s generally located to the right of the blue checkbox icon.)
  5. On the Developer tab, in the Controls section, click Properties.
  6. Click Add.
  7. Type Yes and click OK.
  8. Click Add.
  9. Type No and click OK.
  10. Add.
  11. Type Maybe and click OK.
  12. Make any other changes (if desired).
  13. Click OK.
  14. Click outside the box to apply it; click inside the box to see how it works.

Create More Free Fillable Forms in Word

There are other types of form options you can create in Word. When experimenting with these, you’ll generally work in this order:

  1. Type an introductory sentence or paragraph
  2. Place the cursor where you want the new control to go.
  3. Choose the control from the Controls group on the Developer tab (hover your mouse over any control to see its name).
  4. If applicable, click Properties.
  5. Configure properties as necessary for the control you’ve selected.
  6. Click OK.