How to create a drop-down list in Word: A step-by-step guide

Creating a drop-down list in Word is a handy skill that allows you to present a list of items for users to choose from. It’s useful for forms, surveys, or any document where you want to control the input. In a nutshell, you’ll be using the "Developer" tab in Word to access the controls that let you insert a drop-down list, then you’ll define the options that appear in the list.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating a Drop Down List in Word

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. A drop-down list in Word is essentially an interactive field that lets you select an option from a predefined set of choices. This can be incredibly useful for standardizing responses in forms or documents.

Step 1: Enable the "Developer" Tab

First things first, you need to display the "Developer" tab on the ribbon, as it’s not visible by default.

The "Developer" tab is where all the magic happens for creating forms and other interactive content in Word. If you’ve never tinkered with the more advanced features of Word, you might not even know this tab exists! Once you’ve got it enabled, a whole new world of document customization options opens up.

Step 2: Insert a Drop Down List

Click on the "Developer" tab, then click "Drop Down List Content Control" in the controls group.

Now that you have the "Developer" tab open, you’ll see a bunch of icons that might seem a bit intimidating at first. Don’t worry, we’re focusing on just one of them right now – the one that looks like a little drop-down list.

Step 3: Define the Drop Down List Options

Select the drop-down list control you just added, and then click "Properties" to define the choices for your list.

This is where you personalize your drop-down list. You can add as many options as you need, and you can even set up a default value that will appear before the user makes their choice.

After completing these steps, you will have a fully functioning drop-down list in your Word document. Users will be able to click on the list and select an option from the choices you’ve provided.

Tips for Creating a Drop Down List in Word

  • Make sure to save your document as a Word Template if you plan to reuse it with the drop-down list.
  • Consider using a drop-down list to ensure consistency in responses, especially in forms.
  • Remember that you can edit the properties of your drop-down list at any time, so don’t worry if you need to make changes later.
  • If you need to add a lot of options to your drop-down list, it might be easier to type them in a separate document and then copy and paste them into the list properties.
  • Test your drop-down list before finalizing your document by entering "Design Mode" and trying out the list to make sure it works as expected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I create a drop-down list without the "Developer" tab?

No, the "Developer" tab is necessary to access the form control features, including the drop-down list option in Word.

Can I add more than one drop-down list to a document?

Absolutely! You can add as many drop-down lists as your document requires, following the same steps for each one.

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

While you can’t directly link a drop-down list to external data in Word, you could copy and paste the data into the list properties.

Can I change the order of the items in my drop-down list?

Yes, you can reorder the items in your drop-down list by accessing the properties and moving the items up or down the list.

Can drop-down lists in Word be exported to PDF?

Yes, you can export your Word document to a PDF, and the drop-down list will remain functional in the PDF file.


  1. Enable the "Developer" tab.
  2. Insert a drop-down list.
  3. Define the drop-down list options.


Creating a drop-down list in Word is a fantastic way to streamline data entry and ensure consistency across your documents. Whether you’re designing a form, a survey, or just need to guide users in providing specific information, drop-down lists can be an incredibly useful tool. Remember, it all starts with the "Developer" tab – your gateway to adding interactive elements to your documents.

Once you’ve got your list up and running, the potential applications are vast. Imagine creating a survey that automatically tallies responses or a form that’s error-proof thanks to standardized inputs. The key is to ensure that your list is well-planned and easy to use for anyone who might be filling out your document.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different options for your drop-down list. The more you practice, the more intuitive it will become. And if you ever get stuck, there are plenty of resources available online to help you refine your skills. Remember, creating a drop-down list in Word is just the beginning. The real power lies in how you use this tool to enhance your documents and streamline your workflow.

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy