Software

Use Word 2010's check box content controls to mark attendance

Check box controls provide a visual way to express two possibilities. In this quick example, learn how to use them to mark attendance.

Check box controls offer an easy way to indicate state - on or off, true or false, yes and no, and so on. Technically, this control is a user interface representation of a binary state, reflecting selected and not selected. With a little imagination, you can use check boxes to represent any two-state situation. For example, the simple form below uses Word 2010's check box content controls to denote attendance. As you can see, four of the six members attended this meeting. You can quickly discern attending members by scanning the check box controls.

Creating the document is incredibly easy. First, you create the table. Then, you enter a check box content control into each cell as follows:

  1. Select a cell.
  2. Click the Developer tab.
  3. Click the Check Box Content Control in the Controls group. Press the right arrow key and then add a space or tab before entering a member's name. In Word 2007, click the Legacy Tools dropdown in the Controls group and select Check Box Form Field.

In Word 2003, insert a check box form field from the Form toolbar. When using check box form fields in Word 2007 and 2003, you must protect the document to use the check box controls.

Attending members get a check! An empty check box represents an absent member.

This is a simple technique, but the point is to use Word's tools to your advantage. Checking and unchecking a few check boxes is quicker than recreating a list of attending members for each meeting. In addition, the check boxes are easier to scan than a traditional list. But, you might not think of a check box to denote attendance.

It just takes a bit of knowledge - knowing that the check box represents two states - and a little imagination. How do you use check box controls?

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

5 comments
schladitz28
schladitz28

Worked the same for me using 2010. Pressing the right arrow key twice is the key.

WSplawn
WSplawn

For me, following the instructions above didnt work in WORD 2010. The solution was to press the right arrow key twice. Pressing it a second time de-selects the check box and makes it possible to enter a word, like "Mary". Pressing it once and trying to type something did not work at all.

spiras
spiras

Nice tip, but I would comment as follows: Firstly, I can use the Legacy check box control even without protecting the document. I use Word 2007. Secondly, I would recommend using the Activex check box control instead of the Legacy one. In that way you can just check the box with a click of your mouse instead of going through a dialogue box. Don't forget to turn off the "Design Mode" button in the ribbon, otherwise you won't be able to check the box. To edit the name, right-click the label when you're still in Design Mode and select CheckBox Object => Edit.

winlak
winlak

You don't have to protect it but if you do then you will stop getting the dialog box i.e. a mouse click will check the legacy box too