How to Make Checkmarks in a PDF

Updated February 21, 2017

Part of the value of creating a PDF is that it's almost entirely locked down. Only one software program can edit a PDF, and that software doesn't come standard with operating system installations. But at times you need to access a PDF to add elements such as ticks. While doing this is possible, it just means creating a workaround with another software program that you may already have installed and be using regularly.

Open Word. Click "Insert" at the top of the work area. Click "Object. Click "Object" once more and click the "Create from File" tab. Browse to the PDF and double-click it. When it appears in the "Browse" box, click the "OK" button to add the PDF to the Word document.

Click the "Insert" tab and then the "Text Box" button. Click "Draw Text Box." Draw a text box where the check mark should go on the PDF.

Click inside the text box. Click the "Symbol" button on the ribbon. Click the check mark symbol and it's added to the text box.

Click the text box's border to open the "Text Box Tools" tab. Click the "Shape Outline" button and click "No Outline." Click the "Shape Fill" button and click "No Fill." Drag the check mark into place as needed on the PDF and repeat to add ticks.

Open Photoshop. Click "File" and "Open." Browse to the PDF and double-click it. When the "Import PDF" screen appears, click the "OK" button and the PDF opens on the Photoshop canvas.

Right-click the grey star, grey circle, grey square or line icon at the bottom of the "Tools" pane. Pull down the "Shape" menu at the top of the screen and scroll to the check mark.

Click into the "Color" box on the toolbar. Click black or your preferred check mark colour and click "OK."

Position the cursor where the check mark should go; click and hold down the left mouse button and drag the cursor to form the check mark. Release the mouse button and the check mark appears on the PDF.

Open Publisher and click the "Blank 8.5 x 11" button on the top-left of the screen. When the Publisher workspace opens, click the "Insert" tab. Click the "Object" button on the ribbon.

Click the "Create from File" radio button. Locate the PDF and double-click it, opening it on the Publisher page.

Click the "Draw Text Box" button on the "Insert" tab's ribbon. Draw a text box on the Publisher page. Text boxes by default in Publisher are transparent with no border.

Click inside the text box. Click the "Symbol" button on the ribbon. Click the check mark. Drag the text box to the place in the PDF to place the check mark.


If you have the Adobe Acrobat software installed -- the only software that allows PDF editing -- there are several other ways to make ticks in a PDF. Acrobat is the only software that can edit a PDF, so if the PDF has clickable check boxes, click them directly on the PDF. Another option is to use the PDF drawing tools to draw ticks in the boxes.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Publisher
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About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.