Make your own, better paper checklist in Word

Word has many options to make simple checklists that you can print out and tick with a pen (ink or digital).  Plenty of formatting choices for the shape of the tick ‘box’, it’s color and size. There’s a simple shortcut to re-order the list.

Previously we’ve discussed how to make an interactive check list in Word, involving the use of the Developer tab.  A paper list is a lot easier to make, free from the complicated Developer tool.

You can also save the document as a PDF to save paper, and use a PDF editor to check off each item using your device.

Create your paper check list

The steps to create your own paper checklist are simple to follow.

Make the list with one item per line. 

You can add or remove list items later, this is just to get the list started.

Then select the items and choose Home | Paragraph. Select the down arrow located next to the bullets button, choose a bullet.

From there, select Define New Bullet.

Next, select Symbol.

You can then choose your symbol from the selections, remember it needs to be something that can be ticked, so a hollow shape is best. If you’re having trouble locating one, select a font like Segoe UI Symbol, Segoe UI Emoji or Wingdings.

Once chosen, select the symbol so it has been highlighted and then press OK.

Rearranging the checklist

Re-ordering the list is easy. Select some list items then press Alt + Shift plus either the up or down arrow key (Mac: Control + Shift + up/down arrow). Your selection will move up/down the document.

This trick it’s just for lists, it’ll work with any selection in a Word document.

Or use Home | Sort to rearrange the whole list alphabetically or in reverse.

Checklist symbol options

Here’s just two of the many box-like symbols to choose from.

One possibility in the Segoe UI Symbol font is ‘Combining Enclosing Square’ Unicode 20DE

Another, nearby, option is a rounded rectangle, ‘Combining Enclosing Screen’ Unicode 20E2.

Now you will be able to create your list, just treat each new line with a bullet point like so.

Adjust the size and look of your bullets

If you’re unsatisfied with the size of the checkbox, you can easily highlight your list and adjust the size to make it larger. 

Some users might want to be a bit more creative, or only adjust the size of the bullets only, whilst leaving the text the same size.  We usually make the symbol/box larger than the Word default so it’s easier to ‘tick’ on a paper page.

Firstly, click anywhere on your list, then go back to Home | Paragraph and select the drop-down arrow next to bullets, then click define new bullet.   

This time, select Font… from here you can adjust the size, font style and even the color…

We’ve gone bold, italic and a larger font size. Once you’re happy, simply select OK twice and your bullets will be updated.

Now it’s ready to be printed or saved as a PDF.

As a PDF, you could open on a smartphone or tablet, using a finger to ‘tick’ items off using digital ‘ink’ options.

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