How to Make a Checklist in Microsoft Word in Seconds

How to Make a Checklist in Microsoft Word in Seconds

Making a checklist in Microsoft Word has been a challenge for some users. That is because until now, there is no one-click solution for creating a checklist, although doing it is actually easier than most people think.

In fact, with Microsoft Word, you can create two types of checklists:

  • A printable checklist using a bulleted list
  • A clickable checklist using content control

Note that you can easily create a printable checklist on almost any version of Microsoft Word, including its web application. Unfortunately, the content control, which is used in creating a clickable checklist, can only be accessed from the Microsoft Word desktop application.

With that, let us start with the first one:

How to create a printable checklist?

A printable checklist means that you need to have a paper copy of the checklist and be able to mark the finished items. The way to do this is by building a list on a Word document and use a special kind of bullet list.

To start, follow these steps:

  • Select the list that you want to transform into a checklist.
  • On the “Home” tab, click on the bullet list icon.
  • If you can see a checkbox that you want to use, select it.
  • If not, click “Define New Bullet”.
How to create a printable checklist?

After that, here are what you need to do:

  • Click on the “Symbol” box.
  • On the new window, select “Wingdings” as the font.
  • Scroll down on the given symbols and find the checkbox that you want to use.
  • Click “OK”.
Select the checklist symbol to use

There are a few boxes that you can use. Feel free to try all of them out to see which one you like the best.

Here is the result:

Printable checklist

All that is left now is for you to print the document.

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    How to create a clickable checklist?

    This next one is a little bit more complicated than the first. But rest assured, it is not that complicated to do.

    The first step you need to take is to activate the “Developer” tab, which is not enabled by default.

    Right-click on any area inside the ribbon. Then, select “Customize the Ribbon”.

    Customize the ribbon in Microsoft Word

    On the new window, on the right box, find and click the checklist for “Developer”. Click “OK” to enable the changes to take effect.

    Enable the developer tab on Microsoft Word

    To proceed, bring your cursor first to the beginning of the first line of the list.

    It is important that you do this first since the checkbox will behave like a special character that you insert into the text. It is more like a separate piece of content rather than part of the current text.

    After that, all you need to do is go to the new “Developer” tab and click on the check box icon.

    How to create a clickable checklist?

    By default, the checklist is automatically selected. To go back to editing the text, simply click anywhere on the document or click on the right arrow twice.

    Since the checklist is inserted as an object, you will have to correct the spacing yourself. You can either use indent or the space bar.

    Here is how it looks now:

    Clickable checklist

    To apply the checklist on all the lines, simply repeat the steps earlier and align them with the same spacing. You can also copy and paste the object (though make sure to highlight the box when you select the object).

    Changing the marked item appearance

    Congratulations! You now have a working clickable checklist. The next problem now is that you may not like the way the marked items look. By default, it will have an x inside the box, instead of the usual check.

    To change that, follow these steps:

    • Select a checkbox.
    • On the “Developer” tab, click on “Properties”.
    • On the properties window, find the “Change” box for the “Checked symbol”.
    • Find the box or appearance that you prefer.
    • Click “OK”.

    Note that you will have to change all the checkboxes that you have created. The changes you made on a single box will not affect the others on your list.

    Here is how the list looks now:

    How the modified checklist looks

    Locking the checklist

    Another problem that you may face is that other users may accidentally change the content of the list or the text that is associated with each checkbox. Fortunately, there is a way for you to lock the list where the user can only check or uncheck the boxes.

    All you need to do is to follow these steps:

    • Select your whole list.
    • On the “Developer” tab, click on the “Group” icon and select “Group” from the list.
    Locking the checklist

    Now, whenever someone tries to change the content or text, they will see a note on the status bar that says “You can’t make this change because the selection is locked”.

    You can’t make this change because the selection is locked

    In case you want to change the text, all you need to do is reverse the steps that you took to lock the checklist. Simply select on your list and select “Ungroup” from the “Developer” tab and you should be able to make changes.

    As you can see, although there is no one-click solution to creating a checklist on Microsoft Word, it is definitely easy to do. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a direct message via the contact page.

    About Ryan Clark

    As the Principal Solutions Architect at Mr. SharePoint, I help companies of all sizes better leverage Modern Workplace and Digital Process Automation investments. I am also a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for Office Apps & Services.

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