How to insert a checkbox in a Word document (With steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Checklists or other documents with checkboxes, such as company forms, can simplify tasks and improve collaborative efforts at the workplace. Understanding how to insert checkboxes in a Word document can provide you with a valuable tool when completing your job duties. If you work in an office, you might wonder how to best incorporate checkboxes into Word documents. In this article, we discuss the essential steps for inserting a checkbox in both digital and print Word documents and why this word processing skill can be useful.

Why are word processing skills important?

Many jobs now require the use of computers and word processing programmes, such as Word. At the workplace, Word is typically used to create both digital and printed documents and templates, including data collection forms like questionnaires, customer satisfaction surveys and market research tools. To effectively perform your work tasks, understanding how to use the checkbox function in Word is often a valuable word processing skill. Some examples of documents that may contain checkboxes include data collection forms, employee forms, event planning lists and to-do lists.

Increasing your proficiency with Word can be a beneficial way to demonstrate your computer skills to your current or potential employers. Depending on your job duties or if you're applying for a position, here are several other helpful Word skills to possess:

  • using formatting features, such as page set-up, custom page layouts, formatting multiple columns, pagination and custom headers and footers

  • applying design elements, including drawing tools, graphics, fonts, background colours and page borders

  • utilising text boxes, Word art and hyperlinks to design engaging newsletters, flyers and letterhead

  • building basic webpages with Word's webpage format and uploading them to company websites

Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV

How to insert a checkbox in Word

If you're creating a Word document and would like to know how to insert a checkbox in Word, here are the steps to follow when doing so for both digital and print Word documents. There are different ways of creating checkboxes based on whether you're using Windows or working on a Mac:

1. In a digital Word document using Windows

Here are the steps to follow when inserting a checkbox in a digital Word document using Windows:

a) Enable the developer tab

Typically, the default option displays the developer tab. If you don't see the developer tab, you can enable the tab by following these steps:

  1. Select the 'File' tab in the top left.

  2. Scroll down to 'More' and choose 'Options'.

  3. Click 'Customise ribbon' from the sidebar.

  4. Find 'Main tabs' from the drop-down menu.

  5. Scroll down and then tick 'Developer' and press 'OK'.

b) Create your document

Once the developer tab is visible, create your Word document. Take care to list the items that require checkboxes. At this point, it's not necessary to include bullets or numbers with your listed items.

c) Add the checkboxes

Go to the 'developer' tab and place your cursor before your checklist item. From the 'check box content control' panel, click the 'checkbox' icon to insert a tick box before your list item. Repeat this process for each item where a tick box is necessary or you may choose to copy and paste the first checkbox and add subsequent tick boxes in this manner.

d) Review your document

Once you've finished your document, it's important to ensure that your checkboxes work correctly. Test them by ticking on the checkboxes to make sure they record checkmarks. Click on the checkboxes again to uncheck them.

e) Share with relevant co-workers

If you're using the digital document to collaborate on a project with team members or other co-workers, you can share it with them. Emailing or uploading the document to cloud software are two typical ways to share digital documents. To keep all staff up-to-date on the project, it's often helpful to have one communal or shared document that you tick off as a workgroup.

Related: What is a clerical officer? (Plus skills and duties)

2. For a printed Word document using Windows

If you're printing the document and ticking the checkboxes with a pen, it's not necessary to enable the developer tools in Word. Here are the instructions for creating printed documents with checkboxes when using Windows:

a) Customise a bullet point symbol for a checkbox

Open Word and then select the 'home' tab and click the 'bullet point' button. Next, select 'define new bullet' from the drop-down menu and choose 'symbol'. Select 'wingdings 2' from the 'font' drop-down list, choose the empty square symbol and click 'OK'.

b) Prepare your document and insert checkboxes

Once you've prepared your document, place your cursor before your list item or highlight multiple items requiring tick boxes. Select your new tick box bullet point icon in the 'home' tab. Press 'OK'. Checkboxes are now inserted in your document.

c) Print the document

Take care to proofread your document for any errors. Once it's finalised, you may print your document for completion by staff members, customers or other individuals, such as focus group or market research participants. Printed questionnaires and surveys can be useful when attempting to identify or expand a target market for your business.

Related: What is a target market? (With definition and examples)

3. In a digital Word document using a Mac

The steps for inserting checkboxes in a digital document are slightly different if you're working on a Mac computer. Here are the steps to follow:

a) Open Word and enable 'developer'

To begin, open the Word application on your computer and follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to 'Word' at the top left of your screen.

  2. Under Word, scroll down and select 'Preferences'.

  3. Choose 'Ribbon & toolbar' in the authoring and proofing tools section of the pop-up window.

  4. From the 'Customise the ribbon' list of functions, select 'Developer' and click 'Save'.

b) Follow the same steps for Windows

The remaining steps are the same as creating a document on Windows. To copy and paste on a Mac, remember to highlight the checkbox and use the 'copy' and 'paste' functions from the 'edit' toolbar or you can right-click the highlighted item and select 'copy' and 'paste' from the shortcut menu. As with Windows, you may either send the document via email or upload it to cloud software at your company.

4. For a printed Word document using a Mac

As with digital documents, the steps for inserting checkboxes in a printed document have slight variations if you're working on a Mac computer. Here's how to insert checkboxes in a printed Word document:

a) Customise a bullet point symbol for a checkbox

Open the Word application and complete the following steps:

  1. Select the 'Home' tab and click the drop-down arrow next to the bullet point icon.

  2. Choose 'Define new bullet' from the bottom of the pop-up screen.

  3. Click 'Bullet' from the 'Customised bulleted list' function, which prompts the symbol screen to appear.

  4. Select 'Wingdings 2' from the 'Font' drop-down list.

  5. Choose the empty square symbol and click 'OK'.

Alternatively, you can follow these instructions to create a customised checkbox symbol:

  • Open Word and select 'Format' from the top of the screen.

  • Scroll down the 'Format' toolbar and choose 'Bullets and numbering'.

  • In the pop-up window under 'Bulleted', select 'Customised' and then 'Bullet'.

  • Choose 'Wingdings 2' from the 'Font' drop-down list on the 'Symbol' pop-up screen.

  • Select the empty square symbol and click 'OK'.

b) Follow the same steps for Windows

The remaining steps are the same as creating a printed document on Windows. Take care to save your document between steps as you work on it. It's also important to carefully proofread your document for any mistakes before your final printing and distribution.

Reasons to insert checkboxes into a Word document

There are many reasons you might choose to insert checkboxes in a Word document, such as:

Creating a collaborative to-do list

A collaborative list often involves a project team or an entire department at a company. Co-workers can share the document and tick tasks off when they finish them. The list can also help the team members stay on track in completing their projects.

Gauge customer satisfaction

Both digital and print checkbox questionnaires are helpful in gauging customer satisfaction. Companies often use this feedback to modify current services or products. Customer feedback can also help guide a company's future product development.

Related: What is market research? (Definition and examples)

Track purchasing processes

Documents with checkboxes are helpful for tracking an organisation's procurement management processes. For instance, a purchasing team member might use a checklist to track the necessary tasks when fulfilling a supply order. Procurement teams can also develop shopping lists with checkboxes to document the raw materials needed for their products.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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