How to create checklists in Excel sheets and Word documents?

Applicable to: Word and Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 365. Microsoft and Apple Office versions.

Latest update: October 2019

Chances are that from time to time you might want create forms using in Office in order to easily capture user feedback or document a standard operating process. In today’s tutorial, we’ll teach you pretty much everything you need to know in order to create and format tick box lists either as part of your Excel spreadsheets or Word documents. Once done you might want to use your checklist as a template. The tutorial below refers to Office 2016 applications, however it is relevant to 2019 and 2013 versions as well.

Enabling the developer tab

Note: The developer tab allows you to access many useful controls that you’ll use when creating your form. You will need to enable the developer tab for each Office Application you’ll use.

  • Open Microsoft Word or Excel, click on File and select Options.
  • Open Customize Ribbon tab and select Main tabs option under Customize the Ribbon.


  • Click on Developer option and press OK button.


  • Once the Developer option is clicked it will be displayed as additional menu on top of the screen with several developer options.

Making Excel checkbox lists

Our task is to use Excel in order to create the following checklist.


  • Write your tasks in column A as shown above.
  • Under Developer option click Insert and then click check box tick which is placed under form control .


  • Select the required cell to place the check box.
  • To remove Check box 1, click on text and delete it.
  • Click on the right corner of the cell and drag down till the last item of the list.


  • Right click the check box and click format control.


  • Link the check box to the cell next to it. If C 2 then Click on Cell link under control and type $C$2.Repeat the same for all check boxes.


  • To count the number of items marked insert a COUNTIF function next to the last item of the list.


  • Hide cell C.
  • Insert IF function at the end of the list.
  • The final result looks :



Insert check boxes in Word

The procedure in Word is not majorly different, compared to Excel:

  • In Word, open your document
  • Open the Developer tab
  • Hit Design Mode
  • From the Controls button group, use the Check Box Content Control to add checkboxes as needed.
  • For each item, specify also the label text (ITEM1, ITEMS 2 etc’)


  • Once done, go ahead and turn off the Design Mode.
  • Hit File and then Save As.
  • Specify a location, document name and suffix (docx or docxm for documents containing Macros).
  • Use/Distribute your document as needed.


1 thought on “How to create checklists in Excel sheets and Word documents?”

  1. Thanks.

    Which is better to use for checklists word or excel please?

    Any pros/cons of each?

    thank you

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