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How to add checkboxes (checkbox controls) in a Word document to create a Form


You may need to add check boxes in your Word document mainly for two reasons:

1)     To create an electronic Form containing clickable checkboxes, which can be used to capture user feedback (like a survey); see the following example:



2)     To create a printable checklist, containing a checkbox against each item in the document. See the following example:



Adding checkbox controls to create a electronic Form (Word 2007)

You can find the checkbox control on the Developer tab of the Ribbon menu.

Note: If you could not see the Developer tab on the Ribbon, you may need to enable it from Word Options. Read the following article to know how to enable it.


  1. On the Ribbon, under the tab Developer, within the group Controls, click the icon Legacy Tools. A drop-down list appears, which contains two sections: Legacy Forms and ActiveX Controls. See below.

legacy tool icon

Legacy tool drop down


ActiveX Control checkbox

  1. Both the sections have check box controls. If you choose to use the checkbox control available under ActiveX Controls section, click the Checkbox (ActiveX Control) icon. Word creates something like the following. Notice that the control is in Design Mode. Design Mode option is activated within the group Controls.

ActiveX Checkbox control

If you deactivate the design mode, the  checkbox becomes clickable and you can use it to create a Form.

i.    Right-click the checkbox control and select option Properties from the right-click menu.

ii.    On the Properties sheet, under the tab Alphabetic, against the row Caption, enter a caption for the checkbox. Alternatively, you can delete the default caption to retain only the checkbox. You can even insert a picture instead by clicking the row named Picture from the Properties sheet.

Note: The ActiveX Control checkbox provides extended features as compared to the Legacy checkbox.

iii.    You may find it difficult to format ActiveX checkbox controls if you are not in Design Mode. Switch to design mode by clicking the control. Now, place mouse cursor in front of the control and then use the TAB key to move it horizontally, SHIT+TAB to move it in the opposite direction, press ENTER key to move it a step down, and press the Backspace key to bring it a level up.

Note: You can easily delete, resize, etc. in Design Mode.


Legacy check box

  1. If you choose to use a legacy checkbox, click the check box icon under the section Legacy Forms from the Legacy Tools drop-down list. Word creates a shaded square box, which is unchecked by default. Double-click the box to open the Check Box Form Field Options window. Here, you can control the checkbox size, default value, etc.

Note: Interestingly, the legacy check boxes cannot be used readily until you apply protection to your document. By default, Word adds a shaded checkbox. If you wish you can remove the shading by simply clicking the Form Field Shading icon available under the Legacy Tools list. See below image.


Apply protection to your document

i.    To apply protection to your document, under the tab Developer, within the group Protect, click Protect Document. From the drop-down menu, click option Restrict Formatting and Editing.

ii.    On the Restrict Formatting and Editing pane, under the section Editing Restriction, enable option “Allow only this type of editing in the document” and then select the option “Filling in forms” from the list box.

iii.    Now, under the section Start Enforcement, click the button Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box appears, where  you need to set a password to protect your document.

Once protection is  enforced, you can select/deselect the check box. Remember that you cannot edit a protected document. Therefore, apply protection only after you are done with formatting the document. You can unprotect a document by clicking the Stop Protection button available at the bottom of the Restrict Formatting and Editing pane.


Creating a printable check list

It is easy to add checkboxes to a document to create a printable checklist document. There are many ways you can create check boxes in a word document.

Method 1: On the Word Ribbon menu, under the tab Developer, within the group Controls, click the Legacy Tools icon. From drop-down list, under the section Legacy Forms, click the Check Box Form Field icon. Word inserts a shaded check box. Click the Form Field Shading icon to  remove shading around the checkbox. Now, you can copy and paste the same to create multiple checkboxes in your document.

Method 2: On the Word Ribbon menu, under the tab Insert, within the group Illustrations, click icon Shapes. From the drop-down list, click the shape Rectangle. Change its dimensions  to make it a perfect square. Copy and paste the same to create multiple checkboxes.

Method 3: On the Word Ribbon menu, under the tab Insert, within the group Symbols, click icon Symbol. From bottom of the drop-down list, select option More Symbols. From the Symbols window, select a square shape and then click Insert. Word inserts a square at the cursor position.




  1. Philipp Wolf says:

    I need a little Help, I have to make a questionnaire in the same style of the first picture. I want to make sure that there can just be one answer per line marked.

    How do I do that?
    Grouping the Checkboxes did not give me the option to just mark one )or at least I did not find it).
    Could you please help me!

  2. Scott Mosley says:

    Perfect! Very helpful! Thanks a million!

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