In Microsoft Word, a checkbox (Also known as a selection box, tick box or check mark – ☑) is a small interactive box that allows users to select or deselect a value from a small set of options.

To insert a checkbox (☑) in Word, you have two options:

  • A non-clickable checkbox (not interactive)
  • A clickable checkbox (Interactive)
A clickable checkbox illustration

The clickable or functional checkbox allows the user to be able to check and uncheck the checkbox inside the Word document. And the non-clickable checkbox is just a visual symbol that doesn’t allow users to check and uncheck the checkbox.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to add these two types of check boxes into your Word document.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

How to insert a non-clickable checkbox in Word

Inserting a tick box which is not clickable makes sense if it is for a printed document. It can be an empty checkbox symbol or a checked one (i.e. with the correct tick).

There are several ways you can insert a non-clickable checkbox in Word. But I’ll show you these two easy and fast options you can use to perform this task.

Option 1: Using the Bulleted List Approach

This option is for you if you have a list of options where users will tick the applicable options when the document is printed.

Obey the steps below to add a checkbox to your list in Microsoft Word:

Note that if you are not dealing with a list of options as in this example, this approach will not work for you. Instead, you should jump to the next section where you can perform easily make an empty or ticked checkbox using the insert symbol dialog.

  • Type your list of options. Make sure each item begins a new line.
Define you list of Checkbox options
  • Highlight or select all the list options, go to the Home tab and select the down arrow next to the Bullets option.
Click the down arrow next to the bullets option
  • If the check mark symbol is already under the Bullet Library or Recently Used Bullets group, just click on it to insert into your Word document.
  • However, if you can’t find this check mark symbol from the immediate drop-down menu, Select Define New Bullet at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
Click on the Define New Bullet option
  • From the Define New Bullet dialog box, click on Symbols.
Click on the Symbols button
  • The Symbol dialog box appears. Select Webdings 2 from the Font drop-down to display some of the advanced Symbols in Word.
  • Click to select the checkmark you want to insert. In this case, select the empty checkbox symbol since the user of the document will be selecting from the list of options.
Select the Webdings 2 font and click on the checkmark symbol
  • Click OK for the Symbols dialog box.
  • Click OK for the Define New Bullets dialog box.

After obeying all the above steps, you’ll notice that a checkbox box is added to each one of the items.

The checkbox will now be added to your Word document unchecked

In the above illustration, the checkboxes are empty or they are not checked (i.e. no tick symbol inside the checkboxes). If you want to add checkboxes that are not empty (or checked), in the Symbols dialog box, select the check box with the tick symbol in it.

check mark symbol in a checkbox

Now see the check boxes with tick symbols:

checkboxes with the checkmarks

If you want some of the boxes checked and others empty, you should consider adding a clickable checkbox instead. This way, you can manually check some checkboxes leaving the others empty. Though, how to make a clickable checkbox in Word is addressed later in this article. So make sure you read up to the end to learn more.

Option 2: Using Insert Symbol to add Check Mark or Checkbox in Word

Aside from using the bulleted list to add checkboxes in Word, you can also use the insert Symbol approach.

If you are not dealing with a list of options, the above method will not work for you. Instead, you should use this method as it allows you to create the checkbox anywhere within your Word document.

Obey the steps below to create a checkbox anywhere in your Word document:

  • Place the insertion pointer at where you want to create the checkbox.
  • Go to Insert→Symbols→Symbol→More Symbols.
Go to Insert Tab>Symbols>Symbol>More Symbols
  • The Symbol dialog box appears. Select Webdings 2 from the Font dropdown list to display some of the Advanced Symbols in Word.
Using the Webdings 2 font, select the checkmark
  • Select the Checkbox symbol.
  • Click the OK button to insert the symbol into your document.

Once you enter the checkbox symbol into your document, you can copy and paste it to other places in your document, you don’t have to follow the above steps to insert it again.

The above two approaches will guide you to insert a non-clickable checkbox (whether empty or checked) into your Word document.

However, you can also add a clickable or functional checkbox in Word. The rest of the tutorials will teach you how to do it.

How to add a clickable checkbox in Word

With the clickable checkbox, users of your document can click to check and uncheck the checkboxes.

Illustration of a clickable checkbox in Word

To add this type of checkbox into your Word document, you’ll need the developer tab visible on the ribbon. This tab contains the controls that we need to insert the checkbox in Word.

By default, this tab is not visible. So, first of all, check on your Word ribbon to see if you can see any tab labeled Developer.

Check and see whether the Developer tab is active

If you have this tab active, that’s fine. You can skip this section.

However, without this tab active on your ribbon, just follow the steps below to add it.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to add the Developer Tab in Word.

Adding the developer to Word Ribbon

 Obey the steps below to display the developer tab on your ribbon.

  • Right-click on one of the already existing tabs on the Word ribbon.
  • Select “Customize the Ribbon”.
Rightclick on any of the tabs and select "Customize the Ribbon"
  • In the Word Options dialog box, click to check or tick the Developer checkbox. If this is ticked already, it means the Developer tab will become visible.
Check the Developer checkbox in the Customize the Ribbon section
  • Click the OK button.

You should now see the Developer tab on your Word ribbon.

Now, let’s look at how we can insert a checkbox in Word using the Controls in the Developer tab.

Creating the Checkbox (Clickable)

Now that you have the developer tab visible on your ribbon, follow the steps below to add a checkbox into your Word document:

  • Click to place the insertion pointer at where you want to add the checkbox.
Place the insertion pointer at where you want to insert the checkbox
  • Click on the Developer Tab.
Click on the Developer tab
  • In the Controls category, click Checkbox.
Click on the checkbox symbol in the Control category

The checkbox button will be added exactly where you placed your insertion pointer.

The checkbox will be added to your word document at where you place the insertion pointer
  • Follow the same steps to add the checkbox to the rest of the items. Or, copy and paste the checkbox at the beginning of each line.
You can also copy and paste the checkbox symbol anywhere you want.

By default, clicking on this checkbox will mark an “X” symbol in the box. But this is not what we want. We want to see a tick mark inside the tick box when it is clicked. You can change it to include any symbol you want (like this: ☑). Continue the steps below to learn how to change the checked symbol.

  • Click to select the symbol.
  • Go to the Developer tab, in the Controls category, click on Properties.
Go to Developer>Controls>Properties
  • In the Content Control Properties dialog, click on the Change button next to the Checked symbol option.
Click on the Change button next to checked symbol.
  • The Symbol dialog box appears. Select Webdings 2 from the Font dropdown to display some of the Microsoft Word Advanced Symbols.
  • Locate the tick symbol and click on it.
Find the tick symbol from the library of symbols and click on the OK button
  • Also, click the OK button for the Content Control Properties dialog.

Now you should have a tick on your checkbox whenever you click on it.

Illustration of a clickable checkboxes in Word

This how you may create a clickable checkbox/tick box into Microsoft Word documents.

If you have any questions related to how to insert a checkbox in Word, please mention it in the comments below.