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?