Insert a Checkbox in Microsoft Word

Add checkboxes to electronic and printed Microsoft Word documents

Microsoft Word supports special characters like bullets, copyright and trademark symbols, various styles of arrows, and related glyphs.

Use one of two types of checkboxes in Word—glyphs that appear to be checkboxes, which are useful in printed documents, and those that function interactively within the application. Learn how to insert both kinds via the instructions below.

This tutorial applies to Word 2010 and above on macOS or Windows operating systems. Anyone still running an earlier version is strongly encouraged to upgrade.

Inserting Checkboxes for Printed Documents

Placing checkboxes in your document strictly for visual purposes, whether on paper or on screen, is a simple process. While you can't actually add a checkmark to them within Word, use them as such on a printed page.

  1. Select the location for the box on the page.

  2. Select the Home tab, if it is not already selected.

  3. Select the drop-down list accompanying the Bullets button.

  4. When the Bullet Library pop-out appears, select Define New Bullet.

  5. The Define New Bullet dialog displays, overlaying the main Word window. Select Symbol.

  6. Scroll the list until you locate one suitable to use as a checkbox, clicking it once to select it. If you do not see an option that you like, choose a different value from the Font drop-down list (i.e., Webdings) to peruse additional sets of symbols.

  7. Select OK when you're done.

    Inserting checkbox in Microsoft Word
    Lifewire / Scott Orgera
  8. From the Define New Bullet interface, select OK. If you followed the instructions correctly, one or more checkboxes should now be added to your document.

Inserting Checkboxes for Electronic Documents

In addition to just a visual symbol, Word supports functional checkboxes. These come in handy for online checklists or other types of forms that require user interaction.

  1. Select File > Options.

  2. In the Word Options dialog select Customize Ribbon.

  3. Under Customize the Ribbon, choose the Main Tabs option from the drop-down menu.

  4. Locate the Developer option and select + to expand the list. Place a checkmark next to Developer by selecting its accompanying checkbox once.

    Word Options
  5. Select + next to the option labeled Controls, expanding its list as well.

  6. Select Check Box Content Control and select OK to return to the main Word interface.

  7. Activate the Developer tab, now added to the main menu towards the top of your screen.

  8. In the Controls section, select the checkbox icon.

  9. A new checkbox should now be inserted into your document.

    word checkbox

How to Change the Checkbox Symbol

By default, an X appears in the checkbox when it is clicked upon. This symbol can be changed, along with many other attributes of your new checkbox. Select it, then select Properties. From here you can modify the appearance of both checked and unchecked symbols, as well as the behavior of the checkbox itself when used within your electronic document.

Functional checkboxes in Microsoft Word