How to Add a Drop-Down Box to a Word Document

Updated July 19, 2017

A drop-down box in Microsoft Word is a form element known as a drop-down list that allows you to place a menu with pre-existing choices inside a Word document. A drop-down list form field is useful if you want your users to only enter information from a finite list you provide rather than allowing them to type freely on the form. The commands to add a drop-box to your Word document will differ slightly based on the version of Word you are using.

Open Microsoft Word 2007 and create your document.

Click the Developer tab at the top of the screen when you are ready to add the drop-down box to the document.

Click the icon for the Drop-Down List field on the left side (bottom row) of the Controls panel on the Developer tab.

Click "Properties" in the right column of the Controls panel to open the field options window.

Click "Add" and type the text to include in the drop-down box, then click "OK" to add it to the drop-down list.

Repeat step 5 for the number of items you want to have in your drop-down box.

Click "OK" to exit the options window. Your drop-down box is now ready to use.

Open Microsoft Word 2008 and create your document.

Click "View," "Toolbars" and then the "Forms" sub-command to show the Forms toolbar on your screen.

Click your cursor at the position in your document where you want to place the drop-down box.

Click the icon on the Forms toolbar for the Drop-Down Form Field (third from the left).

Double-click on the grey form field that now appears on your document to open the Drop-Down Form Field options window.

Type the selections that will appear in your drop-down box and click "Add" after each entry. Click "OK" when you have added all your selections to the drop-down field.

Click "Protect Form" on the Forms toolbar (far right) when you finish adding form elements to your document. This locks your changes and makes the form usable.


Older versions of Microsoft Word for Windows have form commands similar to Word 2008 for Macintosh. To make your form more user-friendly in versions of Word other than 2007, add a selection to your drop-down box that gives an instruction such as "Please Select" or "Choose one" to help readers understand how to use the drop-down box on the form. Word 2007 pre-adds the entry "Choose an item" to the top of your drop-down box field. Use the Properties command to change or remove this if it doesn't fit your needs. In Word 2008, click "Protect Form" on the Forms toolbar a second time to unlock the form if you need to edit it. The width of the drop-down box field is determined by the width of the selections, and the drop-down box will shrink or expand depending on the choice the user makes.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word 2007 for Windows
  • Microsoft Word 2008 for Macintosh
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About the Author

Katelyn Kelley worked in information technology as a computing and communications consultant and web manager for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2003. She specializes in instructional and technical writing in the areas of computers, gaming and crafts. Kelley holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and computer science from Boston College.