Insert a Checkbox in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word provides the ability to add a number of special characters to your document including bullets, copyright and trademark symbols, various styles of arrows and much more. One of these available additions are checkboxes, which can be utilized in various ways such as creating a static or interactive checklist.

There are two types of checkboxes available in Word — those that just appear to be checkboxes, which are useful in printed documents, and those that actually function as such 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

Inserting checkbox in Microsoft Word

Lifewire / Scott Orgera

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

  1. Select the line or lines of text that you wish to add checkboxes to. If you just want to insert standalone boxes then you can skip this step.
  2. Click on the Home tab, if it is not already selected.
  3. Select the drop-down list accompanying the Bullets button, circled in the accompanying screenshot example.
  4. When the Bullet Library pop-out appears, click on Define New Bullet.
  5. The Define New Bullet dialog should now be displayed, overlaying the main Word window. Click on the Symbol button.
  6. Dozens of available symbols will now appear. Scroll up or down until you locate one suitable to use as a checkbox, clicking on 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) and peruse additional sets of symbols.
  7. Once satisfied with your selection, click on OK.
  8. You'll now be returned to the Define New Bullet interface. Select OK again. If you followed the instructions correctly, one or more checkboxes should now be added to your document.

Inserting Checkboxes for Electronic Documents

Functional checkboxes in Microsoft Word

Lifewire / Scott Orgera

In addition to just a visual symbol as we described above, Word also lets you add functional checkboxes to your document. These can come in handy when creating online checklists or other types of forms that require user interaction.

  1. Click on File, located in the upper left-hand corner of the Word interface.
  2. Select Options.
  3. The Word Options dialog should now appear, overlaying the other open windows. Click on Customize Ribbon.
  4. Under Customize the Ribbon, choose the Main Tabs option from the drop-down menu if it is not already selected.
  5. Locate the Developer option and click on the + (plus symbol) found to the left of its name, expanding the list. Next, place a checkmark next to Developer by clicking on its accompanying checkbox once.
  6. Click on the + (plus symbol) next to the option labeled Controls, expanding its list as well.
  7. Select Check Box Content Control and click the OK button to return to the main Word interface.
  8. Click on the Developer tab, now added to the main menu towards the top of your screen.
  9. In the Controls section, select the checkbox icon.
  10. A new checkbox should now be inserted into your document. The main difference with this checkbox and the one that we inserted in the previous tutorial is that it is active and a user can place a mark in it by clicking on it once. By default, an 'X' is placed in the checkbox when it is clicked upon. This symbol can be changed, along with many other attributes of your new checkbox, by selecting it and clicking on the Properties button — found within the Controls section. From here you can modify the appearance of both checked and unchecked symbols, as well as the behavior of the checkbox itself when utilized within your electronic document.