Adding a checkbox in Microsoft Excel

To add a checkbox (check box, tickbox, tick box) column in Microsoft Excel, you will need to first enable the developer ribbon in Excel, if it is not already enabled. To do so, take the following steps in Excel (the steps were written for Excel 2010 and 2013, but may be similar for other versions):
  1. Click on File and select Options.

    Excel - File - Options

  2. Click on Customize Ribbon, then click on the checkbox next to Developer on the right-side of the window in the Main Tabs section, and then click on OK.
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    Customize Ribbon

  3. Click on the Developer tab that will then appear at the top of the Excel window.

    Excel Developer Tab

  4. On the Developer tab, click on the Insert button, which appears to the right of COM Add-ins and beneath Data. Click on the check box button that appears in the Form Controls section.

    Excel - Form Controls

  5. Click in the cell where you wish the checkbox to appear. A rectangle will appear with a checkbox within it and text, e.g., "Check Box 1", to the right of the checkbox.

    Excel - Checkbox inserted in cell

    You can position and size the rectangle within the cell using the mouse. You can delete the text, if you wish, by clicking on the text and then using the cursor keys and backspace to remove the text. Or you can replace the text with other text, if you prefer.

    Excel - Checkbox placed in cell

  6. When you are satisfied you have the checkbox positioned in an appropriate cell and positioned appropriately within that cell, you can click on another cell to finalize the placement of the checkbox. If you then would like to copy the checkbox to other cells, you can click on the bottom, right-hand corner of the cell in which you have placed the checkbox and then drag downwards with the mouse to copy the checkbox into other cells beneath the current one.

    Microsoft Excel 103 - Advanced Excel
    Microsoft Excel 103 - Advanced Excel

    Excel - Checkbox Copied

You can then click in a checkbox to put a checkmark (check mark, tick) in the box.

Excel Shortcuts and Productivity Hacks 2.0
Excel Shortcuts and Productivity Hacks 2.0

Excel Checkbox Checked

You can also change the value in some other cell to be TRUE or FALSE based on whether the checkbox is checked. E.g., suppose, Dexter is tracking his bucket list in an Excel spreadsheet. Dexter has 10 items on his bucket list and there's a Completed column (column B) and a Done column that holds the checkboxes. If I wanted to have "TRUE" placed in a cell in column B if the checkbox is checked and "FALSE" placed there if the box is unchecked, I could take the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the first checkbox and choose Format Control.

    Checkbox select Format Control

  2. In the Format Control window, you will see radio buttons for checked, unchecked, and mixed.

    Format Control

    If the checkbox I've selected is in cell C2 and I want cell B2 to be set to "TRUE", I can select "Checked" and put B2 in the Cell link field.

    Format Control checked

  3. When I click on OK, I would then see TRUE appear in cell B2, if the cell C2 checkbox is checked.

    Checkbox checked - True

    If I uncheck the check box, the value will change to False. I can then follow a similar procedure for the other checkboxes.

Granted in the simple example above, there might not be much value in having "TRUE" for a cell in a Completed column right next to a checked checkbox, but you could use the same technique to change the value of a cell in another sheet, e.g., I could use Sheet2!A2 for the cell reference to change a cell's value in Sheet2 rather than the current sheet, Sheet1 in this example. Note: if you change the cell reference, the value stored in a referenced cell won't automatically go away. It will remain there until you manually remove it.

You could use the value set in the "cell link" cell to perform some calculation. E.g., if I set B2 to be TRUE if cell C2 is checked, I could check the value of B2 to determine if it is "TRUE" or "FALSE" in a formula elsewhere in the workbook.