How to insert Text Fields, Check Boxes, Drop-Down Lists, Combobox, etc. in a Word document to create a Form


Word has this nice feature which enables insertion of text fields, check boxes, drop-down lists, etc. You can use these elements to create a form in Word.

These elements are available under the  tab menu Developer in the Word Ribbon. If you are unable to find this tab in the Ribbon, most likely you need to enable this using the Word Options dialog box.

To enable the Developer tab (Word 2007)

1.   Click the Office button Picture1. A drop-down list appears.

2.   Click the Word Options button from the bottom of the list. Word Options dialog box appears.

3.   On the dialog box, under the category Popular (see on the left hand side), select the option Developer tab in the Ribbon. Now, you can view the Developer tab in the Ribbon. See below  image.




To insert a legacy check box
1. Click the Developer tab.

2.  Under the group Controls, click the Legacy Tools button. A drop-down list of icons appears. See below image.

3.  Under the section Legacy Form, click the check box icon as shown in the below image. Word creates a check box at the cursor position. By       default, the checkbox is in design mode (you can see the Design Mode icon being enabled within the Controls group)


Note:  If you wish, you can remove the shading of the check box by clicking the Form Field Shading icon under Legacy Form.

4.  By the way, you cannot use the checkbox in design mode. To disable design mode, click the Design Mode icon within the Controls group.


Also, you should enforce protection to the document (or form) before you share it with others to capture information.

This step is applicable to all other controls as well.


To enforce protection
1.  Under the Developer tab, within the group Protect, click icon Protect Document. A drop-down list appears.

2.  From the drop-down menu, click Restrict Formatting and Editing. Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane appears on the right         hand side.

3.  From this dialog box, select option Allow only this type of editing in the document option. A drop-down is enabled. Select Filling in       forms option from the drop-down list. See below image.

4.  Click button Yes, Start Enforcing Protection. The Start Enforcing Protection dialog box appears, which prompts you to enter a                 password.

5.  Enter a password and retype password. Your document is protected and the check box is now clickable.

Untitled 1

Important: Remember that you cannot edit a protected document. If you wish to make changes in the document, you have to remove protection by entering the valid password.


To stop protection

1.   Under the Developer tab, within the group Protect, click Protect Document. The Restrict Formatting and Editing task pane appears.

2.   From the bottom of the dialog box, click the button Stop Protection. Enter valid password to remove protection.


To insert a drop-down list
1.    Under the Developer tab, within the group Controls, click the Drop-Down List icon. A drop-down list appears in the document. See below image.


2.   You can see the Properties button being enabled within the Controls group. Click Properties. The Content Control Properties dialog box appears.

3.   In the dialog box, under section General, enter a Title of the drop-down list.

4.   Under section Drop-Down List Properties , click button Add to enter the display name and value for the first list item in the Add Choice dialog box and then click OK. Item is added to the list.

In the similar way, you can keep adding items to the list.

5.   Click the Modify/Remove button to edit/delete list items.

6.   Finally, click OK to close the Content Control Properties dialog box. You can view the drop-down list displays all the list items. See below image.


7.  Enforce protection to the document, so that list values cannot be modified.


To insert an ActiveX Control check box

1.   Click the Developer tab.
2.   Under the group Controls, click the Legacy Tools button.
3.   From category ActiveX Controls, click the check box icon. A check box is created at the insertion point. See below image.

You can notice that the Design Mode icon being enabled within the Controls group. This is important to edit the check box properties.

4.   Right-click the check box. From the right-click menu, click CheckBox Object and then click Edit. The check is in edit mode. You can enter        a name of the checkbox.
5.   From the right-click menu, click Properties to control properties of the check box.

6.  Click Design Mode to disable. The check box is now clickable.



Note: The difference between a legacy and ActiveX control check box is that, ActiveX checkbox provides advanced or extended features, i.e. you can write program for it in visual basic to make the check box behave in different ways.


Insert text fields

1.   Click the Developer tab.

2.   Under the group Controls,  click the icon Rich Text or Text. A text field is created in the document. See below image.

3.   You can change the default text appearing in the text box by enabling the Design Mode button in the Control Group.



Insert a Combobox

  1. Under the Developer tab, within the group Controls, click the Combobox icon Untitled. A combobox is created at the cursor position.
  2. Select the combobox and then click Properties (available within the group Controls. The Content Control Properties dialog box appears.
  3. In the dialog box, under the section General, enter a Title of the combobox.
  4. In the dialog box, under the section Drop-down List Properties, click the Add button. Add Choice dialog box appears.
  5. Enter a display name and value for the first list item. Click OK.
  6. Click Add again to enter a second list item. Click OK. You can keep adding as many item as you need.
  7. Finally, click OK.

The combobox list is populated with the list items. Remember, the combobox should not be in Design Mode to view the list of items. You can find the Design Mode icon within the group Controls . See below image.




Also See:





About wordknowhowhttp://wordknowhow.comThis blog site was started to help people with Microsoft Word. I use Word a lot at work, and I understand that some features are difficult to use. There were no simplified instructions online to help me use these features. It is for this reason that this site exists; to make your life easier with Word. Feel free to post your comments, queries, suggestions, etc. I will do my best to help you!

36 thoughts on “How to insert Text Fields, Check Boxes, Drop-Down Lists, Combobox, etc. in a Word document to create a Form

  1. How do you format drop down lists or combo box lists to allow multiple selections from a drop down list? Does this require programming? I have been wasting a lot of time trying to figure this out.

  2. Was helpful, thanks. Am still stuck trying to figure out how to create the drop-down arrow on those fields and how to advance from field to field using the tab key.

  3. This was very helpful, but I have another related question. I used these various fields to create a form. I created the form within a Table. When filling out the form, some of the cells are being stretched. How do I keep the form/cells fixed?

  4. very helpful, what i’ve spent years trying to know how to do it, but i’ve learn it on this page in few minutes. Thanks…

  5. Hi, I have a question, is there a way we could set dropdown options value to unlimited character limit, because my options get truncated due to the max character limit, Thanks in advance Anupam

  6. Hi! I sure hope I am not too late to ask a question!
    I am trying to figure out how to use the ActiveX Control “drop down box”. I am not very familar with coding and all that fun stuff, I am slowly trying to learn. From what I read in your post, you know more than I can possibly imagine! Here is what I have been tasked to figure out:
    I am trying to say if I select, lets say “B” from the drop down list, then a text box below will automatically populate with language I set.

    Is this possible to do in the ActiveX Control Drop down list?
    I know something similar is possible for the checkbox; however, in this case I do not want the other options showing once the form has been completed.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciate! I hope you are still recieving messages related to this post!

    Thank you!

  7. This is super helpful! I do have a question. I have enter fill-in fields in my document and they say “Click here to enter text.” How do I set it up so these don’t show up when the document is printed? Thanks a lot!

  8. Great information! Any idea how to get a table with a list of number entered into a protected doc to total after the last field is entered? I have the calculation in the total field, but once the doc is protected nothing totals.

    • It works for me Terry….how are you protecting?

      Create a table and enter values in subsequent rows or columns. Place cursor on the Total cell and then select the table. Under tab Table Tools >> Layout >> Data >> Click Formula. On the Formula dialog, in the Formula field, type the formula =SUM(ABOVE) if the numbers are in columns and the total field is at the last row. Type formula =SUM(LEFT) if the numbers are entered in rows and the total is at the last column.

      Now to protect, under tab Developer >> Protect >> Click Restrict Editing. On the Restrict Editing pane, under Editing Restrictions, select check box “Allow only this type of….” and select the value “No Changes (Read only)”. You are done.

  9. Hi this is a great page. I need help! I have managed to create a dropbox but now when someone clicks on one of the dropdowns I need a list to appear that is specific to that item. I have tried writing a macro but it is not working? A bit out of my depth as this is not something I do a lot of. Any help much appreciated! Vanessa

  10. Hi,

    First of all, great post, it was something I was looking for for quite some time.

    I have a couple of questions regarding these dropdown lists:
    1) I would like to show the value of the field, as I put a description in there that would be more appropriate to the document
    2) Can I select multiple items in a list like that? (Or should I use a combobox for that to show multiple row?)

    Or would all of this require VBA programming?

    Thanks a lot in advance,

  11. If someone wants to print a blank word form (versus filling it out electronically), is there a way to prevent the text box help text from printing??? (right now, each text box prints with the “Click here to enter text”.
    Thanks a lot!

    • If it is also printing the help text “Click here to enter text”, you can easily remove the same in ‘Design Mode’ of the text field. Select the text box and then under the ‘Developer’ tab in the main menu, within the group ‘Controls’, click ‘Design Mode’ and now you can remove the help text or replace with something else. Hope this helps. Thanks.

      • The help text is necessary for the user when viewing onscreen. Is there a way to turn the printing of the help text off when printing without having to delete it on the form?

      • I see this is the same question I just posted 🙂 Also it does not let you remove the “Click here” text. It does not let you exit Design Mode if it’s deleted.

  12. Great post. Can you help me out some more please?

    I am trying to put form fields into a table in word (it’s a booking form) so that people can only fill in the form fields – they should then, I believe, be able to tab from one box to the next. But when I open it and tab between the fields sometimes it skips one or more of the fields. Any suggestions please?

    • Hi Linnie, glad that you liked the post! If I understood correctly, you have a table and each cell in the table has a text field, right? and you facing problem with going through the fields.

      Please use the up, down, left and right arrow buttons of your keyboard to move from one text field to would work for sure. And don’t forget to protect the doc with Editing Restriction and then select “Filling in Forms” before sharing the document with the users. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other queries.

  13. Great post wordkonwhow! I have an additional question that builds on this post. Is it possible to link a value from a drop down form (say 2,3,4, etc) to a template; i.e. if I select “3” from the drop down box, is it possible to have three templates generated later on in the document?

    • It is possible, but there is no ready-made solution for this in Word. You can do so by executing a VBA program in a macro enabled word doc….I will try to write a post on this.


  14. this is really great but how do you allow for the combination of the above and for a user to enter information as deveoped? I have checkboxes, plain and rich text boxes but the user can only check the boxes and not enter any comments in the text boxes. Any ideas?

  15. Exactly how long did it acquire you to post “How to insert Text Fields,
    Check Boxes, Drop-Down Lists, Combobox, etc. in a Word document to create a Form MS Word Know How”?

    It comes with plenty of fantastic details. Thx -Lynda

If the post really helped you, please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.