Make a checklist in Word

With Word you can create two kinds of checklists:

  • Lists with boxes or check marks instead of bullets or numbers. Use boxes if you plan to print the list and check off each item you complete.

  • Lists you can check off in Word. This involves adding a content control from the Developer tab, but you don't need to be a developer to do it.

Replace bullets or numbers with check marks or boxes

  1. Select the entire list. The bullets or numbers won’t look selected.

  2. Click Home, and then click the arrow next to Bullets.

    Paragraph Bullets

  3. If you see the check mark or check box you want in the Bullet Library, select it. Otherwise, go to step 4.

  4. Click Define New Bullet

    The Define New Bullet dialog box opens.

  5. Click Symbol, and choose a symbol from the table of symbols.

    For more choices, in the Font box choose a symbol font, such as Wingdings.

  6. Scroll through the list of symbols and select the symbol you want to use, such as an open box ( Open box ) or a three-dimensional box ( 3D box ).

  7. Click OK, and then click OK again in the Define New Bullet dialog box.

The symbol you chose will be added to the Bullet Library so it'll be handy if you want to use it again.

Make a checklist you can check off in Word

To create check boxes you can check off in Word, add check box content controls to your document. Want to change an existing check box?

Step 1: Show the Developer tab

  1. Click File>Options>Customize Ribbon.

  2. Under Customize the Ribbon, select Main Tabs from the list.

  3. In the list, select the Developer check box, and then click OK.

    Developer check box

Step 2: Make your list

  1. Click the Developer tab and in the Controls group, click the Check Box Content Control, and then click to the right of the box.

  2. Type the first item in your list, and click ENTER.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each item in your list.

Tip:  For a faster way to create the list, first type all the items in the list, then insert the check box control for the first item, select the control, click CTRL+C to copy it, and use CTRL+V to paste the check box in front of each item in the list.

Note:  Click inside a check box control to put an X inside the box. To use something other than an X and a check box, select a check box content control, click Properties in the Controls group, and next to Checked symbol, click Change, and then choose a new symbol to replace both the box and the X. Click OK to save the selection and close the dialog box.

Step 3: Refine the layout

If some of the items in your list are more than one line long, you can use hanging indents to align them.

  1. Select the list. Note that the bullets or numbers won’t look selected.

  2. Click Home and click the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher.

    Paragraph dialog box launcher

  3. Under Indentation, type 0.25 in the Left box.

  4. Under Special, click Hanging.

  5. Click OK when finished.

Step 4: Lock the text and controls

When you're satisfied with the list, group it to lock the controls and listed items in place. That way, people can check off items on the list without changing the items themselves.

  1. Select the list (the check box controls and the listed items).

  2. Click Developer and in the Controls group, click Group > Group.

    If you need to change something later, select the list again and click Group > Ungroup.

See Also

Make changes to check boxes in Word 2016

Make changes to check boxes in Word 2013

Create a fillable form

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows

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