How to Insert an Excel Checkbox (Step-by-Step Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A checkbox is an interactive feature in Excel that you can use to select or deselect an option. Adding a checkbox to an Excel spreadsheet can help make it more engaging and interactive for end-users. Understanding how to insert checkboxes in Excel can be helpful in creating interactive workbooks, forms and dashboards for data collection and analysis. In this article, we go over what Excel checkboxes are, why they're essential, how to insert one and some examples of how to use them.

What is an Excel checkbox?

An Excel checkbox is a widely used function for designing forms and checklists. On an Excel spreadsheet, checkboxes allow a user to choose from several predetermined options. This can make data input easier for end-users, since Excel checkboxes restrict users from typing manual responses. Data collection tools, such as questionnaires, feedback surveys and fillable forms, frequently include checkboxes in their design.

Related: Questions to Include in a 360-Degree Feedback Questionnaire

The importance of checkboxes in spreadsheets

You may include checkboxes and other interactive components in your Excel spreadsheet to:

  • Organise data: Checkboxes may help keep your spreadsheets structured.

  • Enhance its appearance: Adding interactive components to a spreadsheet can make it seem more professional.

  • Generate consistent data: When manually inputting text, users may use the wrong formatting, make spelling mistakes or input an invalid response. Using checkboxes can help ensure consistent data inputs and formatting from users.

  • Encourage reader interaction: Interactive components encourage readers to interact with the spreadsheet, which may aid them in better understanding the data.

How to insert a checkbox in Excel

When generating a checkbox in Excel, you can use the following steps to guide you:

  1. Right-click on the toolbar and select "Customise the ribbon."

  2. Select the "Developer" checkbox and click on " OK" to enable the "Developer" tab on the Excel toolbar.

  3. When you're in the "Developer" tab, click on "Insert" and under "Form Controls" click on "Check Box".

  4. Click anywhere in the worksheet to insert the checkbox.

  5. Right-click on the inserted checkbox and select "Edit Text" to give the checkbox an appropriate name.

  6. Link the checkbox to a cell in Excel by right-clicking on the checkbox and selecting "Format Control".

  7. When viewing the "Format Control" dialogue box, select the "Control" tab and ensure you've selected the checkbox for "Value" and under the "Cell Link" text box, you can either type in the cell or select the cell to get the reference and then click "OK".

Once your checkbox links to the cell you chose, the cell shows TRUE if you check the checkbox and FALSE when it's unchecked.

Related: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to create multiple checkboxes

If you want to insert several checkboxes, you can repeat the procedures for adding a single checkbox. You can also perform the following steps:

  1. Add a single checkbox.

  2. Select a cell that has one of the checkboxes.

  3. Drag the cell's bottom right corner down to the cells below to replicate it as many times as necessary.

  4. You can also copy and paste cells by hitting "Ctrl+C" to copy and "Ctrl+V" to paste. You can also select multiple cells by holding the "Shift" key while selecting cells and then clicking "Ctrl+V" to paste a checkbox in all the selected cells.

How to format checkboxes

Once you've created the necessary checkboxes, you can follow these steps to format them:

  1. Select "Format control" from the box's context menu.

  2. Use the "Colour and lines" tab to modify the text and box's colours and styles.

  3. You can adjust the size and scale of the text using the "Size" tab.

  4. Use the "Protection" tab to lock the content, which is only available if you protect the workbook.

  5. Using the "Properties" tab, you can have the box move or adjust in response to any cell adjustments.

  6. You can insert alternate text for the checkbox using the "Alt text" tab.

  7. Use the "Control" tab to associate the values of the checkbox with another cell.

If you associate the values of a checkbox with a cell, the chosen cell fills with TRUE or FALSE values, depending on whether a user checks the checkbox. This may aid in the organisation of data for further uses, such as filtering or charting.

Related: How to List Microsoft Office Skills on a Resume (With Examples)

How to delete an Excel checkbox

To remove a single checkbox, you can highlight the checkbox and then hit the delete key on your keyboard. To remove several checkboxes, you can use one of the following methods:

1. Using the "Ctrl" key

Here are the steps for removing multiple checkboxes in Excel using the "Ctrl" key:

  1. Hold down the "Ctrl" key on the keyboard and click on the checkboxes you want to remove.

  2. After selecting all the checkboxes you want to delete, you can click the "Backspace" or "Delete" key.

2. Using the "Selection Pane"

The selection pane is another technique to remove multiple checkboxes in Excel. Here are the steps on how to use the "Selection Pane":

  1. On the "Home" tab, in the "Editing" section, choose the "Find and Select" option on the ribbon and click the "Selection Pane" option on the context menu.

  2. Select all the checkboxes you want to remove from the selection pane and hit the "Delete" or "Backspace" key.

3. Using the "Go To Special" function

If you want to delete multiple Excel checkboxes using the "Go To Special" function, you can follow these steps:

  1. On the "Home" tab, under the "Editing" section, click the "Find and Select" option on the ribbon and choose "Go To Special."

  2. In the "Go To Special" window, check the "objects" box and click the "OK" button to select all the objects on the current sheet.

  3. Hit the "Delete" or "Backspace" key on the keyboard to remove the checkboxes.

You can use this option if you only have checkboxes as the only object on your spreadsheet.

Ways to use checkboxes

Here are some different ways you can use checkboxes:

Interactive to-do list

Include the tasks in column "A" with the checkboxes in column "B". To gather the values, link the results in column D to keep them separate from the table. In a separate column, select the cell next to the first task. You can enter an "IF" formula to change the text if you check the box and the value in column D changes. For example, you might include =IF (D2, "Complete", "To Complete"). Select this cell and drag and duplicate this formula for all items on the list. You can also apply conditional formatting to update the colours for cells when a user checks the boxes.

Making a report dynamic

Rather than a linear checklist, you can use checkboxes for other data in reports. You can create categories, such as months of the year, that can use the TRUE and FALSE results to update report information. For example, you can format the first quarter checkbox so selecting it hides the data for the other three quarters.

Altering data on a graph

You can use similar formulas and data for graphs if you've created a report. Highlighting the area where you have a table with data, you can select "Insert" from the toolbar and create a graph. Using checkboxes, you can select or deselect categories of data to show or hide different data on the graph.

Related: Excel Skills: Definition and Examples

Frequently asked questions about checkboxes in Excel

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about checkboxes in Excel:

What's the difference between a checkbox caption and a checkbox name?

The text at the front of a checkbox is the checkbox caption, while the name shown in the "Name Box" field is the checkbox's back-end name. When you right-click over a checkbox and choose "Edit Text", you're updating the checkbox caption. If you wish to modify the back-end name of the checkbox, right-click on it and then put an appropriate name into the "Name Box" field.

How do you resize a checkbox in Excel?

In Excel, you can resize a checkbox's frame. You can't adjust the size of the checkbox since it has fixed dimensions. The procedures for changing the checkbox's frame are as follows:

  1. Right-click on the checkbox you want to resize.

  2. From the context menu, choose "Format control".

  3. In the "Format control" menu, select the required size in the "Size" tab.

Is it possible to change the position of a checkbox?

In an Excel spreadsheet, it's possible to reposition a checkbox. Hover the cursor over a checkbox and a four-pointed arrow appears, which you can click and drag to move it around your worksheet. If you want to fix the position of a checkbox, right-click it and choose "Format control" from the context menu. In the "Properties" tab of the "Format control" window, you can select "do not move or size with cells" to stop a checkbox from moving when you resize cells.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles