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Answered By: Jan McCartney, Design & Technology Librarian
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2016     Views: 432

How to Create a Self-Grading Worksheet in Microsoft Word


Just because your course is online doesn't mean that grading is necessarily easier. As a course developer and instructor, I'm always on the look-out for ways to grade assignments more quickly and accurately. I've looked at Google Forms, but that's more suitable for surveys. Microsoft Excel is an option but not only is it overkill but it's also difficult to include formatted text and images and keep them looking good.


The current standard for creating student assignment worksheets is Microsoft Word. Up until now, that meant grading assignments manually, which is slower and can be error-prone, particularly when all forty of your students submit their assignments at the last minute, bless them.

You Have:

Microsoft Word (Windows/Mac OS X/IOS)


  • This has been tested in Word for Windows, Mac OS X and IOS but not Android.
  • This does not currently work in Word Online.
  • When you submit your graded worksheet back to the student you may wish to convert it to a format that is read-only.


  1. In the section with the graded questions, create a two column table. The leftmost column will contain the question and answers; the right will have the points earned by the student for that question. (Your document can have more than one table.) The final row will have the total points for that section.
  2. Select the final right-hand cell (the one containing the total points). If it's not empty, delete whatever's in it.
  3. On the Table Tools->Layout tab, click Formula in the Data group.
  4. In the formula text box, type ‘=SUM(ABOVE)’. Alternatively, you can pick the function from the Paste Options dropdown.
  5. Pick your number format from the dropdown
  6. Click OK.


  • Select the cell with the total number of points.
  • Right-click and select Update Field. Alternatively, press F9.

Example Worksheet 

Here's an example that you can actually play with (download attached Word document).



What is your name? (5 pts.)


What is your quest? (5 pts.)


What is your favorite color? (5 pts.)


Total Points



If You Prefer to Not Use Microsoft Word

You have two options:

●Don't bother with this guide and continue to grade manually.

●Create your content with your preferred tool and use MS Word as the final step.

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