How to Make a Drop Down Box in MS Word

Written by ernestine hill
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MS Word drop-down boxes are commonly found in survey forms, contracts, order forms and other documents requiring user input. Users choose from a pre-established list of drop-down box options. Drop-down box options might be figures, dates, amounts, yes-and-no answers, inventory numbers, sizes or colour. Prior to MS Word Drop-down box creation, design and complete the form the drop-down box will inhabit. When the form is ready, producing and populating the MS Drop-down box takes little time and effort.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Building the Drop-down Box

  1. 1

    Open a new blank document by clicking the blank sheet of paper icon on the MS Word Standard toolbar. Click "View," "Toolbars," "Forms." A floating toolbar titled "Forms" appears. Keep the toolbar open. If necessary, click in the grey area and drag the toolbar aside.

  2. 2

    Move the mouse pointer over the toolbar icons until Drop-Down Form Field appears.

  3. 3

    Click the Drop-Down Form Field icon to add a blank drop-down box to the document.

  4. 4

    Double-click the grey box. A Drop-Down Form Field options box opens for adding drop-down items.

  5. 5

    Type the word "Practice" in the Drop-down item field.

  6. 6

    Click "Add" to move "Practice" to Items in drop-down list box in the right window.

  7. 7

    Type "Steps" in the Drop-down item field then click "Add" to move Steps to the Items in drop-down list box.

  8. 8

    Type "For Drop-down Lists" in the Drop-down item field then click "Add" to place it in the Items in drop-down list box. Click "OK." "Practice" appears as the first word in the drop-down list window.

  9. 9

    Double-click "Practice" to reopen the Drop-down Form Field Options window then click the Move Up arrow to rearrange word order and show "Steps" in the box. Click "OK."

  10. 10

    Click "Protect Form" (lock icon on Forms toolbar). A drop-down arrow on the right of "Steps" appears. Click the arrow to view everything in the drop-down list. Click "For Drop-down Lists" to move it to first place in the box.

  11. 11

    Click the "Protect Form" icon, which looks like a lock, to protect the drop-down box and proceed to other parts of the form. To return to the drop-down box and make edits to the list, click the "Protect Form" icon again to unlock it, and then double-click the box text. The Drop-Down Form Field Options window reopens for editing.

Tips and warnings

  • Password protect the entire document through "Tools," "Protect Document."
  • Click the "Protect Form" icon to lock and unlock the drop-down box.
  • Remove drop-down box shading by clicking the Form Field Shading box (single "a") icon on the floating toolbar.
  • Add help-text to make the MS Word Drop-down box user-friendly.
  • Depending on the version of MS Word used, some icon and toolbar wording could vary.

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