Featured - How To Add Check Boxes to Word Documents

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 checkbox 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 will be able to 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 Add Check Boxes in Word via the 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:

  1. Open your Word document and press “File” in the top left

    Windows 11 - Word - Open File

  2. Press “More… > Options” in the sidebar

    Windows 11 - Word - File - Open Options

  3. Click “Customize Ribbon” in the sidebar, then chose “Main Tabs” in the “Customize the Ribbon” dropdown

    Windows 11 - Word - File - Options - Customize Ribbon - Main Tabs

  4. 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.

    Windows 11 - Word - File - Options - Customize Ribbon - Main Tabs - Developer - Accept

  5. 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.

    Windows 11 - Word - Developer - Checkbox

  6. 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.

    Windows 11 - Word - Developer - Checkbox - Result

  7. Click on a square to mark it with an “x”

    Windows 11 - Word - Developer - Checkbox - Click On to Mark

  8. Use the “⋮” to format or reposition the Word check box if necessary

     

    Windows 11 - Word - Developer - Checkbox - Select to format

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:

  1. 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.

    Windows 11 - Word - Home - Bullet List - Define New Bullet

  2. Click the “Symbol…” button

    Windows 11 - Word - Home - Bullet List - Define New Bullet - Symbol

  3. In the “Font” dropdown, choose “Wingdings 2”

    That’s right – contrary to popular belief, Wingdings can actually be useful.

    Windows 11 - Word - Home - Bullet List - Define New Bullet - Symbol - Wingdings 2

  4. 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.

    Windows 11 - Word - Home - Bullet List - Define New Bullet - Symbol - Wingdings 2 - 163 - Accept

  5. Press “OK” in the “Define New Bullet” window

    Windows 11 - Word - Home - Bullet List - Define New Bullet - Symbol - Wingdings 2 - 163 - Accept

  6. 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.

    Windows 11 - Word - Place Cursor - Home - Bullet List - Select Symbol

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.

Windows 11 - Word - Design - Paragraph Spacing - Double

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.