50+ Sample Document Checklists

What Is a Document Checklist?

A document checklist is a comprehensive checklist that is used as a tool to guide or help an individual stay on top of their tasks. A typical checklist enumerates the various requirements used in a number of areas including business, immigration and project management.  

According to an online article by Business.com, document challenges make up 21.3% of productivity loss. Further, professionals spend about 50% of their time searching for and looking up information. It also takes an average of 18 minutes to locate a document.    

Examples of Important Documents

There are dozens of types of documents that are used in various fields. Whether it is finance, health, education or even immigration, each document or form serves a particular purpose. The following examples are just some major and common types of official documents.  

Application Forms. An application form is perhaps one of the most common types of documents. It is used in all areas, industries and disciplines. Almost every person at one point in their life will encounter an application form. Whether you are applying for a job, an educational grant, a business permit or even a driver’s license, filling out an application form is standard procedure. In most cases, you need to provide general and personal information in order for your request to be processed. How detailed an application form is will usually depend on the organization or body requiring your information. It will also depend on the objective. For example, if the form is a tourist visa application, then usually the details asked would include travel history, financial capacity, employment background, etc. Contract Agreements. Another essential document is a contract agreement. Like an application form, it can be applied in multiple areas and scenarios. Contracts are typically used in joint ventures, partnerships, financial transactions and other official business. Some of the most common agreements include employee contracts, vendor contracts, independent contractor agreements and the like. A formal agreement is needed to establish terms and conditions that will dictate ang guide the mutual agreement. Contracts are usually lengthier compared to other official documents. But they are necessary in order to prevent potential conflict and confusion. A clear and detailed contract agreement can help ensure and protect the interests of both parties. Invoices and Receipts. Invoice statements and official receipts are another common and universal document. They serve as proof or evidence that a transaction has taken place. It is one of the key requirements for documentation. In the sale and purchase of goods and services, a receipt must always be issued not just for the recipient’s record but in most cases, for state tax purposes as well. Whether you are selling a property, taking out a salary loan, purchasing grocery items, or simply buying a product from a retail store, it is both the seller and the receiver’s responsibility to issue a receipt. A basic receipt’s format is simple and straightforward. As long as you indicate the essential information, it should be enough. The point is that there is tangible documentation of the transaction or exchange. Company Bylaws. Another lengthy and comprehensive document is a company’s bylaws. If a democratic government is bound by its constitution, a private corporation or organization is governed by its company bylaws. Bylaws help direct and guide the internal decisions of an organization, specifically the board of directors and executive management. They are essentially the decision-making body of a company. What they choose to do or put forth affects everyone in the organization. Thus, it is crucial for the governing body to have an established set of rules and guidelines that will help conduct their internal affairs and decisions. A company’s bylaws should be comprehensive and clear. Having rules and policies that are too ambiguous or general may make it vulnerable to misinterpretation and legal loopholes.

Tips for Creating a Document Checklist

Having touched on the different types of checklists, it is important to know how to keep track of these documents and stay on top of your tasks. A document checklist is an excellent way to keep track of your different requirements. The following tips below are just some simple yet practical tips on creating a more effective document checklist.

Do your research. A document checklist would obviously depend on your individual objective or purpose. And if you want to create an accurate and comprehensive checklist, the best way to ensure that is by conducting the proper research. Especially if you are unfamiliar with the requirements or need help understanding them, doing a simple online search can already be a big help. For instance, some countries require a visa before you can travel there. Be informed and learn about the different visa application requirements from official embassy websites or other credible sources. Alternatively, you can ask friends or acquaintances who have recently traveled there as well. Preparation is key when it comes to creating document checklists. You need to take it upon yourself to educate yourself and be informed about what documents are required. Maintain a structure and flow in your list. If you want to improve your document checklist, another important tip to keep in mind is to maintain a sense of order and logic. What this essentially means is how you arrange your checklist matters. Content is important, of course, but there has to be a logical flow even if it’s just individual entries or items. Maintaining a structure and logical flow in your document checklist can give you a better sense of focus and prioritization. For example, one way you can arrange your document checklist is by order of importance. You can place the most important or urgent requirements at the top of the list. This way, you can address or accomplish the documents that require your attention first. If you find it difficult to arrange your checklist, it helps to have a clear objective in mind and a broad understanding of the documents you need.

How to Create a Document Checklist

To create a comprehensive document checklist, you need to have a general understanding of the kinds of documents you will need. And if you are looking for easy and quick checklist templates, there are ready-made sample templates that are free and editable! Simply select one that suits your needs and follow the step-by-step guide below.  

Step 1: Do Research

As discussed in the previous section, you need to do some adequate research first before enumerating items on your checklist. A document checklist is not a spontaneous or random list, it requires deliberate planning. Part of planning or preparation is research and evaluation. You need to inform yourself and evaluate the information presented to you. By doing this, you are able to craft a more comprehensive and accurate document checklist. Lastly, it is important to note that prior research may be done by someone other than yourself. A lot of firms and organizations prepare document checklists for their clients and customers’ convenience.    

Step 2: Establish the Format

The next step in crafting a document checklist is ensuring a format that works. There is more than one way of creating a checklist. You can always use a standard checklist template with simple lines and checkboxes. But others prefer to get a little more creative. Further, how detailed and specific you want your checklist to be also entirely depends on you. It is not necessary to place additional notes under each item on your checklist; but if you feel that the notes may be helpful reminders then you can do so. Just keep in mind that the format of your document checklist should guide or help the reader to easily understand the content.     

Step 3: List the Documents 

The meat of your document checklist will obviously be the items listed down. Depending on your objective, the items in your checklist will be the documents required to accomplish or complete your objective. If your objective is to obtain a tourist visa, then your checklist should list all the different documents needed for submission. As suggested in the previous section, it would be a good idea to arrange your checklist in a logical manner as well. A checklist that has structure and logical flow can potentially be more helpful than a random or disorganized list. You can arrange your document checklist in any manner you see fit. For example, your list can be arranged according to prioritization or urgency.   

Step 4: Keep the List Updated

Once you have completed your checklist, the last step is to constantly update it. A document checklist is rarely stagnant, it is an on-going process that needs to be constantly updated. When you prepare a checklist, you go through the list item by item. It is only in some cases that several items can be crossed off at the same time. Otherwise, when you have accomplished or completed a document, you can move on to the next one. Basically, you need to make sure that your document checklist is updated to prevent any unnecessary confusion.     


How do I create a checklist for documents?

To create a checklist for documents, you need to prepare and plan effectively. It helps to have a clear objective in mind. If you are unfamiliar or unsure of the required documents, do your research. The list should be organized and accurate. Refer to the previous section for more detailed instructions on how to create a document checklist.

What is a checklist example?

Some examples of document checklists include college education applications, visa applications, business registration applications, contract agreements, etc.

Are there checklist templates in Word?

If it’s convenience you are after, Microsoft Word has a wide selection of predesigned checklist templates that you easily edit or use as reference. Simply search the catalog of Word templates and choose one that suits your needs and preferences.

A document checklist is a useful tool to help you keep track of your different requirements. It can be as simple or detailed as you want it to be. Browse the extensive library of editable templates to customize and create your own checklist today!