How To Create A Checklist In MS Word (With Reasons To Use)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 September 2022

Published 14 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Checklists are essential to help you remember things and stay organised and productive at the workplace. Using Microsoft (MS) Word, you can create checklists and make your complicated tasks more manageable. If you want to achieve higher workplace efficiency, knowing the steps to create a checklist can be beneficial. In this article, we discuss what a checklist is, understand how to create a checklist in MS Word, explore a few reasons for using a checklist and discover the steps to create one on Mac.

What Is A Checklist?

A checklist is a management and organisation tool that creates a list of tasks, behaviours and activities that a person completes following the desired result. A checklist helps you move through tasks quickly. You can use a checklist to systematically check activities, ensuring that you do not skip or miss any essential steps. One advantage of using a checklist is that it allows you to systematise repetitive activities. Interestingly, you can use the checklist in every imaginable field, including medical surgeries, verification of product specifications and building inspections.

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How To Create A Checklist In MS Word

To understand how to create a checklist in MS Word, follow these steps:

1. Open a new document

The first step toward creating a checklist in MS Word is opening a new Word document. For creating a checklist, ensure that you turn on the ‘Developer' tab. For enabling the tab, navigate to the ‘File' tab and click on ‘Options'. From the ‘Word Option' windows that opens, click on the ‘Customise Ribbon' option. Finally, tick the checkbox beside ‘Developer' and click on the ‘OK' button under the 'Main Tabs'.

2. Type your list

Go to the blank document and type your list. From the toolbar, select the ‘Developer' tab. The toolbar is the blue panel that runs at the top of the screen. Click on ‘Check Box Control Option' from the 'Developer' tab. Search for a square box containing a blue tick mark to recognise this option easily. This symbol is in the 'Controls' part of the ‘Developer' tab.

3. Paste the checkbox in every line

After creating a checkbox for the first line, repeat the entire process. You can even select the checkbox by using ‘CTRL + C' and pasting the checkbox using ‘CTRL + V' at the desired location. Focus on pasting the checkbox in front of each line or step of the checklist. You can create as many checkboxes as you want. Also, you can mark or unmark the checkbox by clicking on it.

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Modifying The Symbols Used To Mark The Checklist

By default, the checkbox symbol is ‘X'. You can change it to another symbol or checkmark based on your requirement. The steps you can follow to change symbols used to mark the checklist are:

After creating the checkbox for your checklist, go to the ‘Developer' tab and click on the ‘Properties' box. From the ‘Content Control Properties' windows that appear, go to the ‘Check Box Properties' part. Click on the ‘Change' button next to the ‘Checked symbol'. From the ‘Symbol' window that appears, select the desired symbol and click on ‘OK'. You can even change the ‘Unchecked symbol'. For this, click on the ‘Change' button next to the ‘Unchecked symbol'. From the ‘Symbol' window that appears, select the desired symbol and click on ‘OK'. You can repeat the process for every checkbox that you create.

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How To Create A Checklist In MS Word For Printing

To create a checklist in MS Word for printing, follow these steps:

1. Open a new Word document

Start by opening a new Word document and clicking on the ‘Home' tab from the toolbar. Next, click on the arrow next to the bullet list icon. This opens a drop-down menu. From the drop-down list, select the ‘Define New Bullets' option.

2. Create a checkbox

From the ‘Define New Bullet' windows that open, click on the ‘Symbols' button. Next, search for a square-shaped bullet point from the ‘Symbol' windows that open. You can locate the square-shaped bullet point. Click on the drop-down menu next to ‘Font'. Now, choose ‘Wingdings' from the drop-down menu and click ‘OK'. You can even choose a desirable symbol.

3. Select your data

To create a checklist for printing, select your data. Click on the ‘Home' tab and click on the arrow beside the bullet list. The symbol you selected in step two appears on this list. Choose the symbol and give the print command from the ‘File' tab.

How To Create A Checklist In MS Word On Mac

To create a checklist in MS Word on Mac, follow these steps:

1. Open a new Word document

To create a checklist, open a new Word document. For creating a checklist, ensure that you turn on the ‘Developer' tab. To enable it, navigate to the ‘Word' tab click on the top-left corner of the new bar. Click on it and choose ‘Preferences'. Click on ‘Ribbon & Toolbar' from the window that opens and search for the ‘Developer' tab under the ‘Main Tabs'. Finally, tick the checkbox beside ‘Developer' and click on the ‘Save' button.

2. Type your list

The second step is typing your list and placing the cursor at the start of the first line. Now, click on the ‘Developer' tab from the menu bar and choose the ‘Check Box' option. Search for a square box containing a tick mark to recognise this option easily.

3. Paste the checkbox in every line

After creating a checkbox for the first line, repeat the entire process. You can even select the checkbox by using ‘Command + C' and pasting the checkbox using ‘Command + V' at the desired location. Focus on pasting the checkbox in front of every line or step of the checklist. You can create as many checkboxes as you want. Also, you can mark or unmark the checkbox by clicking on it.

Reasons To Use A Checklist In MS Word

Here are a few reasons checklists are essential in a business sphere:

  • Increases productivity: A checklist reduces mistakes during audits and inspections and helps you complete repetitive tasks more efficiently and quickly. This ensures that you have some extra time towards completing other essential tasks.

  • Ensures organisation: A configured checklist ensures you do not skip any step in a process. With a checklist, you can manage various tasks and keep track of your to-do tasks.

  • Provides consistency: Checklists provide a framework that ensures consistency in a process. Whether you create a checklist of making a telephone to the client or shipping products to customers, having ordered and defined steps can minimise the errors.

  • Saves time: Rather than remembering the steps required to perform a process, a checklist can help you save time because you document all steps. You can use this list every time you perform the same process.

  • Eases task delegation: When you have a list of work duties or tasks to complete, you might delegate the task to a colleague or team member. When instructing someone to complete one or more tasks, having a checklist can make delegation work a lot easier.

  • Helps in accomplishing goals: Setting financial and professional goals is essential for a rewarding career. By creating a checklist, you can reach those goals quickly.

Tips For Creating A Checklist In MS Word

Follow these tips for creating a checklist in MS Word:

Use existing checklist templates

MS Word comes with many built-in checklist templates. You can choose from wellness, emergency prep kit, festival, financial plan, resume writing checklists and among other checklists. Click on the ‘File' tab and select ‘New' to access the existing templates. The ‘New' page opens a new window that displays different templates. To limit your search, type ‘checklist' in the search bar.

Keep it simple

When creating a checklist, choose symbols easily recognisable with a checklist. The most commonly used checkbox is a square box, but you can even use a circle-shaped checkbox. Though you can use fancy symbols, your checklist might not look organised or professional.

Keep the cursor at the first line

When creating a checklist in Word, you cannot select the entire list and create a checkbox for all your steps at once. Focus on selecting one line at a time. Keep the cursor at the first line and copy and paste the checkbox at every line. When you select the entire list and click on the ‘Check Box Content Control', the checkbox appears on the first line and all other lines get deleted.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.


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