Creating a reusable rubric in Word 2011 (Mac)

Hello blog readers. If you’re a teacher who has a large number of students you probably use rubrics or checklists to assess students from time to time. Rubrics are a great way to assess students. A good rubric is not vague, concise, and gives clear expectations. However, grading with paper rubrics can be a bit tedious and wasteful. Microsoft Word (in fact just about any word processing program) has the answer. You can turn your rubric into a template. This will allow you to open up each time and it will be blank and ready to fill in. Still, I yearned for more, such as fields to enter text into, drop down menus for scores, and with Microsoft Word I can do that! Read on past the break to learn how you can make easy, effective rubrics to help you speed through grading those projects.

The first thing you want to do is just create a rubric for your project. No need to do anything special quite yet. Here is mine. Here is a rubric I used to grade a Photoshop project.


Saving this as a template is easy enough, but I want a little more functionality that will help me speed through the grading. Sometimes I accidentally click in the wrong cell, or put the wrong number. This will help me avoid these mistakes.

‘Now that your rubric is finished, let’s start adding these new shiny features to it.

Developers Tab
Whether you are using a Mac or Windows (that guide is coming very soon), you need to add the developer’s tab, which is super easy.

First go to Word -> Preferences.


When your preferences open up click on Ribbon. It will be at the bottom.


A new window will open up. You will need to scroll down and select Developer.


This will add a new tab with new options to your Ribbon at the top.


Now we can start to format our rubric. I want to put a drop down menu with choices of four to zero. First I will click in the place where my score for the first row goes. Then I will select Combo Box from the ribbon. It sounds a little confusing doesn’t it? Take a glance at the picture, it should clear it up.


Now double click in the grey box that just appeared. This will bring up a new window that will let you format your choices for your drop down menu.


I will type in “4” then click add. I will do the same for each value and for each column. When you are done, you will not be able to use the drop down menu quite yet. This is normal and expected.

Adding a field for text

Next I selected the place I wanted to type the student’s name and clicked Text Box in the ribbon.


You can leave this a grey box if you like, but I like to customize it. Just like the drop down menu we will double click the grey box.


Whatever you type here will be displayed in the grey box. I will add another text box the final score and for the comments. Now we have to protect the document, then save it as a template and we’re done!

Protecting the Form

In order to activate all the text boxes and the drop down menus we need to protect the form. This will keep you or anyone else from changing the rubric, except to score. To do this simply click Protect Form. That is it. Now we just need to save it as a template and we’re ready to start grading.

Saving it as Template

Saving it is a template is just like saving it normally. You only have to make one change. So click on File -> Save as… The save window will appear.

Type in a name for the file and below you can save what type of file it will become.

defaultfolderxhelper.jpg microsoftword.jpg

THen click save. It will save the template in a special folder. This will help keep it safe from accidentally getting deleted.

Accessing your template

On Microsoft Word click on File -> New from Template. A window will open and make sure that you have My Templates selected. Now all you have to do is scroll through the different templates, find yours and click Choose.


Just fill out the rubric, save it (it will ask you to save it as a different name), then open up the template again. Rinse, wash, and repeat! Below is the drop down menu in action. Nice.


I will adda video in the next two days or so to go along with this post. Thanks for reading everyone, and don’t forget to leave a friendly or constructive comment below!

5 thoughts on “Creating a reusable rubric in Word 2011 (Mac)”

  1. Hi guys, I need an advise. How do I easily lock the position of a textbox while I permit to change its content? Many Thanks

    (MS Word 2011 Mac)

  2. Well, I figured out this much on my own. What I’d like to add, though, is the adding; that is, I’d like the form to calculate the total points given. This can be done if text boxes are used rather than the combo boxes. But, as you’ve shown, the combo-boxes are very convenient!

    How does one coerce the form into calculating totals from combo-box entries?

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