Check boxes are an important Word processing feature for anybody creating surveys or forms. We're going to cover how to add check boxes in Word for both printed and digital documents so that you can add extra clarity to your questions.
Inserting a Check Box in Word Is Still Possible!
Though Microsoft has tucked the Word check box feature away, it is entirely functional and works great. When sent the document, users can view the checklist in Word, tick any boxes that apply to them, and save the changes to the document.
Alternatively, writers can switch bullet points out for a check box square that is non-interactable, but easier to implement and larger for printed documents. Here's how to insert a checkbox in Word using either method:
How to Insert a Checkbox in Word using Developer Tools
For some strange reason, Microsoft has hidden the Microsoft Word checkbox feature behind the developer tab of the ribbon, which you have to enable manually in settings. This makes creating a checklist in Word finicky the first time you do it, but once you get into the flow of things, it's quite simple. Here's how to enable and use the check box tool:
- Open your Word document and press “File” in the top left
- Press “More… > Options” in the sidebar
- Click “Customize Ribbon” in the sidebar, then chose “Main Tabs” in the “Customize the Ribbon” dropdown
- Scroll down until you find the “Developer” option, tick it, and press “OK”
That's right, you have to check a box to enable check boxes. Good practice, I guess.
- Place your cursor before your checklist item, open the “Developer” tab, and click the check box icon
This will add a checkbox in Word directly behind the list item.
- Repeat the process for your other Word checklist items
You can speed up the process by selecting the box and copy-pasting it for each line.
- Click on a square to mark it with an “x”
- Use the “⋮” to format or reposition the Word check box if necessary
How to Create a Checklist in Word for Printed Documents
If your survey is only going to be filled out physically, you don't need to go through the process of enabling developer tools and inserting a real checkbox. Instead, below we'll show you how to add check boxes in Word by changing your bullet point simple to blank squares:
- Open the “Home” tab of your ribbon, press the bullet point button, then click “Define New Bullet…”
This feature will allow you to create your own custom bullet point symbol from Microsoft Word's library of fonts.
- Click the “Symbol…” button
- In the “Font” dropdown, choose “Wingdings 2”
That's right – contrary to popular belief, Wingdings can actually be useful.
- Select Character code 163 (the empty square) and press “OK”
Squares with thicker borders are available, but they're generally a bit cramped for our purposed.
- Press “OK” in the “Define New Bullet” window
- Place your cursor in front of your list item and select your new bullet style via the bullet icon in your “Home” tab
That's it. You now know how to add check boxes in Word via the bullet point menu. Now that it's all set up, you should be able to repeat this trick very easily.
Extra: How to use Double Spacing in Word
With that out of the way, you can learn how to double space your surveys in Word by following the linked guide. Doing so will give respondents more space to write their answers between the lines of questions.
Extra: How to Customize the Ribbon in Microsoft Word
If you'd like to insert checkboxes without the developer tab in the future, you can also follow our guide on how to customize the ribbon in Word. This will allow you to add the checkbox button to a custom tab.