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How to make a checklist in Word?

Microsoft’s Word is perhaps the most popular word processor to ever exist. There are numerous features developed over multiple iterations to make the software extremely handy for professionals and casual users alike.

In this article, we’re talking about how you can make a checklist in Microsoft Word.

Also read: How to add a Strikethrough shortcut key in Word?

Making a checklist in Word (for newer editions)

There are basically two types of checklists you can make in Word.

  • Lists with checkboxes that you can print out and cross off on paper.
  • Lists with boxes that you can check off in Word.

Lists with checkboxes that you can print

These lists are actually quite straightforward and don’t require a lot of effort. All you need to do is make a regular bulleted list and change the bullets.

Follow these steps.

Step 1: Fire up Word and type out your list just like you normally would.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: In the Paragraph section under the Home tab, click on the drop-down arrow next to the bulleted list icon. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: If you see a checkbox under the Bullet library section, select it and you’ll have a checklist that you can print and check right off. Otherwise, click on Define new bullet.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 4: Under the Define New Bullet window, click the Font button.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 5: Scroll through the list and select a checkbox you like. For this article, we’re picking TW Cen MT. Click OK when you’re done. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 6: Click OK in the Define New Bullet window as well. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Your list will now be transformed into a checklist. Note that you can’t check these boxes inside of Word. This list is specifically for printing.

Also read: How to assign a Bullet Point shortcut key in Word?


Making a checklist you can check off in Word

(for newer editions)

If you want a list that you can check off in Word itself, you’re going to have to do a little bit more work by going through the Developer tab. Here’s how.

Step 1: Under the File tab, click on Options. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Under Customsise Ribbon, find and enable the Developer tab. Click OK when you’re done. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Now head over to the Developer tab. You’ll see the Check box content control button under the Controls section. Click this button to insert a clickable checkbox where your cursor is. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 4: Now you can either copy and paste each individual list and change it accordingly or use the button we used in the last step to complete your list.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 5: To check an item off, just click inside the checkbox. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Also read: How to change the Text Orientation in Microsoft Word?

Changing the checked box design

If you don’t find the standard cross drawn inside the checked box good enough, you can always change it to your liking. Here’s how.

Step 1: Select a checkbox from your documents and then click on Properties under the Controls section.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Click on the Change button in front of Checked symbol.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Select any symbol you want and click OK. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

You can also change the Unchecked symbol using steps 2 and 3.

Formatting the list

You may have noticed that this new list isn’t as concise as a regular bulleted or numbered list that we make in Word. Here’s a little bit of formatting you can add to the list to make it better. 

Step 1: Start by selecting your entire list. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Head over to the Home tab and click on the paragraph dialogue box launcher under the Paragraph section. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Type in 0.25cm in the Left indentation and select Hanging from the Special drop-down. Click OK when you’re done. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Locking the list in place

If you’re done adding everything to the list, you can go lock it so that anyone using the document can cross off items from the list but won’t be able to modify the list itself. 

Step 1: Start by selecting your entire list. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Under the Developer tab, you’ll see a Group option under the Control section. You can Group the list to lock it or Ungroup it to unlock the list for further modifications. 

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Also read: How to insert a Non-Breaking Space in Microsoft Word?


Making a checklist in Word (for older editions)

The process of making a checklist in older editions of Word which you can just print out and check off on a paper is exactly identical to the steps we followed for the newer editions.

You have two options when it comes to make a checklist that you want to print. 

  • You can use custom bullets
  • You can prevent altering the bullets by making the list as a table instead. 

Aforementioned, the first method is exactly identical to the one we demonstrated above. Here are the steps you need to follow for the second method. 

Step 1: Head over to the Insert tab and click on the Table option.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Click on Insert Table.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Make sure your table has two columns. You can have as many rows as you have items in your list. Click OK when you’re done.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Now that we have a table for our list, let’s add the checkboxes.

Step 4: Select the top left cell and then click on the Symbol option in the Symbols group. Click on More Symbols to proceed.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 5: Select the font you want in the Font drop-down and then select a checkbox symbol. Click Close when you’re done.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

You can now repeat this process for all rows and insert a checkbox for each item in the list.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Refining the list

Since we’ve used a table to define our list, we’re going to have to do some formatting to make it presentable.

Step 1: Right click on the table, hover over Autofit and click on Autofit to contents.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Right click on the table again and click on Table Properties.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Head over to the Table tab and click on the Options button.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 4: In the Left and Right boxes, enter a number you think will provide enough space between the checkbox and the text. We recommend setting this around 0.2-0.3 inches. Click OK when you’re done.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 5: Now click on Borders and Shading, follow by the Borders tab.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 6: Under Settings select None. Click OK when you’re done.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

You’ll notice that the table lines have disappeared and you have a clean looking list at hand.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Also read: How to insert a Bullet in Microsoft Word?


Making a list that you can check off in Word (older editions)

While the idea behind making a list you can check off in older editions of Word is pretty much the same as the newer editions, there are a few things we need to do differently.

First up, we’re going to create a table for our list. Then we’ll enable the developer tab and add the checkboxes from there.

Step 1: Head over to the Insert tab and click on the Table option.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Click on Insert Table.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Make sure your table has two columns. You can have as many rows as you have items in your list. Click OK when you’re done.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Now that the table’s ready, let’s get the Developers tab up and running.

Step 4: Click on the MS Word icon in the top right and click on Word Options.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 5: Under the Popular section, you’ll see a Show Developer tab in the Ribbon checkbox. Click it to proceed.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

You’ll notice that the Developer tab is now visible in the ribbon alongside your regular options.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Now let’s add those checkboxes.

Step 6: Select the top-left cell of your table. Now go to the Developer tab and under the Control group, click on Legacy Tools. You’ll see the option to insert a checkbox here named Check Box Form Field.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 7: Repeat the step above for all items in your list. You can also use CTRIL + Y(Redo) to quickly insert checkboxes in the table.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Refining the list

To refine the list we’re just going to use the exact step we did in making the previous checklist. So scroll up and repeat those steps to get rid of the table boundaries and any weird formatting you might have.

Locking the list

In order to be able to check off the checkboxes you just inserted, you’re going to have to lock the list. Do keep in mind though that once you lock it, you can’t make changes to the list anymore.

Step 1: Before we get started, make sure that the Design Mode option under the Controls section in the Developers tab is not selected.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Now under the Protect section, click on Protect Document followed by Restrict Formatting and Editing.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Under the Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane, make sure you have checked the Allow only this type of editing in the document checkbox .

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 4: In the dropdown below, make sure you have Filling in forms selected.

Step 5: Under Start enforcement, click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

Step 6: In case you don’t want anyone else to be able to change editing restrictions, you can set a password on this step.

How to make a checklist in Word? | Candid.Technology

And that’s all you need to do to have a checklist in Word. If you ever need to make any changes to your list, you can unlock the document by clicking Protect Document followed by Restrict Formatting and Sharing. You’ll see the option to stop protection in the Protect Document task pane.

Also read: How to make a copy of a Word document?

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