How to Create a Drop Down Box in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a drop-down box in Word is a nifty trick to make your document interactive and user-friendly. It’s perfect for forms, surveys, or any document where you want to give the reader options to choose from. Once you add a drop-down box, readers can click on it and select an item from a list that you provide.

After adding a drop down box in your Word document, you will have an interactive element that allows users to select an option from a predefined list. This can make your documents more user-friendly and professional.


Drop-down boxes in Word documents are not something you see every day, but they can be incredibly useful. Whether you’re creating a form for others to fill out, setting up a structured template, or simply want to streamline your own document editing process, drop-downs can add functionality and ease to your Word experience.

This feature is particularly relevant to individuals who create forms regularly, such as HR professionals, event organizers, or educators. But honestly, anyone who uses Word might find this trick handy from time to time. Imagine a dropdown list for report templates, invoice items, or even a list of chapters in a large document. The possibilities are endless, and learning how to create a drop-down box could be a game-changer for your Word documents.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Create a Drop Down Box in Word

The following steps will guide you through creating a drop-down box in Word.

Step 1: Enable the “Developer” Tab

To start adding drop-down boxes, you first need to enable the “Developer” tab on the ribbon.

The “Developer” tab is not visible by default in Word, but it’s easy to turn on. Right-click anywhere on the ribbon and select “Customize the Ribbon.” Under the “Main Tabs” list, check the box next to “Developer” and click “OK.”

Step 2: Insert a Drop-Down List

With the “Developer” tab now available, click on it and select “Drop-Down List Content Control.”

The “Drop-Down List Content Control” is a tool within the “Developer” tab that allows you to insert a drop-down box into your document. After selecting it, a box will appear where your cursor is located in the document, indicating where your list will be.

Step 3: Add Items to the Drop-Down List

Select the drop-down box and click on “Properties” in the “Developer” tab to add items to your list.

In the “Properties” pane, click on “Add” under the “Drop-Down List Properties.” Here, you can type in the display name and value for each item you want to appear in your drop-down menu. Repeat this process for all the items you want to include.

Step 4: Lock the Drop-Down Box

Once you have added all your items, you can lock the drop-down box to prevent further editing.

After setting up your list, click “OK” in the “Properties” pane. You can then choose to restrict the editing of your document if necessary, by clicking on “Restrict Editing” in the “Developer” tab. This step is optional but recommended if you are deploying the document for others to use.


User-friendlyAdding a drop-down box makes your document easier to navigate and interact with, providing a straightforward way for users to input information.
Professional appearanceA drop-down box can give your document a more polished and professional look, which can be particularly important in formal or business settings.
Error reductionBy limiting choices to a predefined list, drop-down boxes can reduce the likelihood of input errors, ensuring more accurate data collection.


Limited flexibilityOnce created, the options in a drop-down list are fixed, which can be limiting if you need to add or change items later on.
Requires “Developer” tabTo access the drop-down box tools, you need to enable the “Developer” tab, which may be an extra step that some users find inconvenient.
Compatibility issuesSome older versions of Word or non-Microsoft word processors may not support or display drop-down boxes correctly, which can be a problem when sharing documents.

Additional Information

Creating drop-down boxes in Word is a fun way to spruce up your documents, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, remember that the options you add to your drop-down list are what users will see and be able to select from. So, it’s essential to double-check for typos and accuracy before finalizing your document.

Another tip is to consider your document’s layout. Drop-down boxes work best when they’re seamlessly integrated into the document’s design. Think about alignment, spacing, and how the drop-down box will look alongside other elements on the page.

Lastly, don’t forget about accessibility. Screen readers and other assistive technologies might interpret drop-down boxes differently, so it’s good practice to provide alternative ways for users to input information if necessary.


  1. Enable the “Developer” tab on the ribbon.
  2. Insert a “Drop-Down List Content Control” from the “Developer” tab.
  3. Add items to your list through the “Properties” pane.
  4. Lock the drop-down box if needed to prevent further changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I edit the items in a drop-down list after I’ve created it?

Yes, you can edit the items by selecting the drop-down box and clicking “Properties” in the “Developer” tab. From there, you can modify existing items or add new ones.

How do I remove a drop-down box from my document?

To remove a drop-down box, simply click on it and press the delete key on your keyboard.

Can I create a multi-level drop-down list in Word?

Word does not support the creation of multi-level or cascading drop-down lists directly. You would need to use a workaround or a different software that offers more advanced form features.

Is it possible to link a drop-down list to data in Excel?

While you can’t directly link a Word drop-down list to an Excel spreadsheet, you can copy and paste the data from Excel into the drop-down list items in Word.

Can drop-down boxes be used in Word Online?

Drop-down boxes created in the Word desktop app will display in Word Online, but you cannot create or edit them in the online version.


Mastering how to create a drop-down box in Word can elevate your document creation skills significantly. It’s a feature that can transform a static document into an interactive experience, making it more engaging and practical for users. Whether you’re crafting forms, surveys, reports, or templates, drop-down boxes can help streamline processes, reduce errors, and enhance the overall appearance of your documents.

As with any skill, it takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your Word documents come to life!

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