Weekly Computer Tip # 396
8 June 2013

What's the fastest way to insert check boxes (Word and Outlook 2003-2010)

During this week's Word Advanced course we were looking at the quickest way to insert check boxes in a document to create a survey that should be printed and completed on paper. Various options were brought on the table (the handout's method to insert a Check Box Form Field. Vicente's idea to create a table with a single cell and make that cell tiny. Zuleika's suggestion to use the bullets.) But we all agreed my idea (to assign a keyboard shortcut to a check box) was the fastest.

Here's how:

  1. In version 2003: use the Symbols command from the Insert menu. In version 2007-2010: On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol, followed by More Symbols.
  2. On the Symbols or Special Characters tab click the check box that you want to use.
  3. Click on the Shortcut Key button.
  4. The keyboard shortcut that is currently assigned to that symbol or character appears in the Current keys box. Press the combination of keys that you want to assign. For example, press ALT + C to assign an intuitive (at least, to me) keyboard shortcut to insert a check box, yet not overriding the useful keyboard shortcut to copy (CTRL + C).
  5. Press the Assign button.
  6. Press Close twice.

In future, you simply press the keyboard shortcut that you assigned rather than having to open the Symbol dialog box.

By the way, if you need to create a form that needs to be viewed and completed in Word it would be wise to work with form fields. If you want to know how to do this, why not book yourself a place on our next Word Advanced course scheduled for 5 August. (See mswordadv.php for details.)