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How To Add Check Box In Google Sheets (with Examples)

Checkboxes will assist you in making your Google Sheets as simple to use as possible.

They make taking an action on your spreadsheet as easy as, well, checking a box.

Checkboxes allow users to select one or several options in a list, making it easy to collect simple data from your spreadsheet users without asking them to type out lengthy responses.

One of the checklist examples we’ll create in this guide is a to-do list that will allow users to cross out completed tasks or activities by clicking on a checkbox.

If you’ve ever wondered how to set conditional formatting based on other cells, this is it.

See that in action below:

Illustration of using checkbox to strikethrough in Google Sheets

In the second example, we’ll show you how to use conditional formatting and checkboxes to highlight employee names based on departments and salary level.

Illustration of the checkboxes in Google sheets

I have a secret I’d like to share with you. Inserting checkboxes in Google Docs is a simple and straightforward process. That’s no way to have fun. The thing that most impresses us is what you can do with it. In this guide, I’ll show you everything.

Continue reading if you don’t want to miss out on this and other incredible things you can do with checkboxes in Google Sheets.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

How to Add Check Box In Google Sheets (Quick Guide)

Before I get into the specifics of each step, here’s a quick guide on how you can go about it.

To add a checkbox in Google sheets, simply select the cells where you want to insert them, then click on the Insert menu and select Checkbox from the insert menu items. To remove them, select the cells with the checkboxes you want to remove and press Delete on your keyboard.

This is just an overview.

Let’s dive right into the details.

Adding Checkboxes in Google Sheets (Step by Step)

Using the Insert menu, as demonstrated in the quick guide above, is the quickest and easiest way to add checkboxes in Google Sheets.

For greater clarity, we’ll go over each step in detail in this section.

Follow the steps below to add a checkbox to your Google Sheets.

Step 1: Open your Google Sheets spreadsheet

Obviously, you must first open Google Docs before you can add a checkbox.

Do this, and then proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Select the cell or cells that will contain the checkbox

At this step, you need to select all the cells to which you want to add the checkboxes.

It could be single or multiple cells. There aren’t any limits here.

Hold down the Control key while clicking on the cells to select non-adjacent cells.

In this task example, we want the checkboxes to go into the cells under the status column.

So I’ll select all the cells in this column.

select the cells to contain the checkboxes

Note: When you add a checkbox to a cell with data, the checkbox will replace the content that was there. We, therefore, recommend that you insert checkboxes in cells that have no content in them.

Step 3: Click on the Insert menu

This step is easy.

Just navigate your mouse pointer to the Menus at the top section of Google Sheets and hit on the Insert menu.

Click on the Insert tab in the Google Sheets menus

You should see a list of items in the drop-down menu.

Step 4: Select Checkbox

The checkbox is placed under the Insert menu.

Once you click on the insert menu and the drop-down list appears, locate and click on the Checkbox near the bottom.

And there you have it.

The simple steps above will allow you to seamlessly add a checkbox or checkboxes to your Google sheets.

Note: In Google Sheets, checkboxes can be used with charts, filters, pivot tables, and functions.

Note: As it is possible to add checkboxes in Google Sheets using your phone app, we don’t recommend it. It’s better to create a checkbox from a desktop simply because you have a better view and there’s less scope for mistakes. Once you add them on your computer, it’ll be available for you to check and uncheck on a mobile phone.

How To Add/Remove Checkbox In Google Sheets App (For Android)

If you value convenience, making checkboxes on a computer will be much easier.

However, checkboxes can also be added to the Google Sheets app for Android users.

Before I begin, go to the Google Play store and quickly download and install the Google Sheets app on your phone.

When you’re finished, return to this page and follow the steps below to quickly insert checkboxes in Google Sheets using the Android app.

Step 1: Open your spreadsheet in the Google Sheets app

To begin, open the Google Sheets app and either create a new spreadsheet or open an existing one.

Step 2: Select the cells to contain the checkboxes.

Here, you’ll need to select the cell or cells in which you want to insert the checkboxes.

It could be a single cell or a range of cells.

To select a range of multiple cells on the Google sheets app, first, select the first cell, and using the square handle at the bottom right or top left, drag over the cells you want to select.

Step 3: Tap on the Menu button

The menu is the three vertical dots at the top left section of the app.

Tap on this three dots icon to reveal more of the menu items

Step 4: Select Data validation from the menu items

The data validation pane should appear immediately.

Step 5: Under “Criteria”, select Tick box or checkbox.

Once you see the Data validation pane, simply select the Tick box or Checkbox from the Criteria list of items.

Step 6: Click Save.

The save button is located in the upper right corner.

When you click the save button, empty checkboxes will be added to the cells you’ve chosen.

You can click to check and uncheck them.

To remove the checkbox on the Google sheets app, select the cell, go to the menu and select Data validation. At the button of the Data validation pane, click the Remove rule command to erase the tick box from the spreadsheet.

Note: As of this writing, it is unfortunate that adding checkboxes is not available for iOS users. It is possible that Google is working on fixing this issue. We’ll update this guide once it is available on the iPhone or iPad.

Formatting Checkboxes in Google Sheets

In Google Sheets, you can format your checkbox in the same way that you would a regular cell.

If you don’t like standard checkboxes, you don’t have to use them.

You can avoid the mundane and impress your coworkers with a beautiful checkbox design.

The following points out where and how you may edit the design of checkboxes in Google sheets.

  • To change the color of a tick box, just apply the color to the entire cell and the checkbox will change to that color.
  • To enlarge the checkbox, simply select the cell and increase the font size.
  • Any formatting you want to apply to the checkbox should be applied on the cell that contains the checkbox.

To avoid repetitive work, make sure to check all the cells with the checkboxes before applying the formatting. Once you’ve finished working on one cell, you can copy and paste the formatting to other cells.

How to have fun with Checkboxes in Google sheets

Inserting checkboxes in Google Sheets is a no-brainer, as demonstrated in the guide above. It’s pretty straightforward, which makes it boring.

If you want to have fun with it, you must use it creatively, as I will demonstrate in a moment with examples.

Before we get into the examples, there are a few concepts I’d like you to understand.

Checkboxes, as you see them, are simply true and false values represented by checked and empty tick boxes.

This means that when you check a box in Google Sheets, you are changing the cell’s status from False to True and vice versa.

To see what I mean, click on a cell with a checkbox and then look in the formula bar. You should see False with an empty checkbox or True with a checked box.

This is what gives Google Sheets the ability to assign functionality to checkboxes.

With this concept in mind, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on when we start commanding our checkboxes with formulas.

Let’s get started with the examples.

Example 1: Create Interactive Task List in Google Sheets

Say goodbye to notepads and hello to Google Sheets for your to-do and task lists.

It is more convenient to use especially with the checkbox and strikethrough formatting working together.

In this example, I’ll show you how to make an interactive task list with a checkbox that allows you to cross out completed tasks or activities.

 See it in action in the screenshot below.

Illustration of using checkbox to strikethrough in Google Sheets

Without further ado, let’s begin with the steps you can take to create your own to-do list from scratch.

Step 1: Open your spreadsheet in Google sheets

This step is easy and straightforward.

Launch your browser and navigate to your Google sheets dashboard. Then create a new spreadsheet or open an existing one.

Step 2: Design your to-do list layout

This step is also a no-brainer.

It’s all about specifying which column to use for the task items and which one to use for the checkboxes.

See the screenshot below for some inspiration on how to design your to-do list.

select the cells to contain the checkboxes

The task list in this screenshot contains two columns; the My Tasks column and the Status column.

Create the design and enter all the items you wish to include in the list.

Step 3: Insert the checkboxes in their respective cells

Once you design your to-do list, select all the cells adjacent to the task items and add checkboxes to them.

As already explained, to add a checkbox, go to Insert > Checkbox whilst the cells are selected.

Checkboxes added to google Docs

Note: At this point, nothing will happen if you click on the checkbox. The remaining steps will show you how to apply the strikethrough formatting when a checkbox is clicked.

Step 4: Select all the cells with the items

Using your mouse, click and drag to select all the cells under the My Tasks columns.

These are the cells you want to cross out when the checkboxes are selected.

See how I did it in the screenshot below.

Step 5: From the Menus, Go to Format > Conditional Formatting

After selecting all the cells that contain the items, simply click the Format menu to display all of its functions which includes Conditional formatting.

Click once on Conditional formatting to launch the conditional formatting pane.

Step 6: Click the drop-down under Format Rules on the conditional formatting pane.

Step 7: From the list, scroll to the bottom and select “Custom formula is”.

How to add strikethrough formula in the Custom conditional formatting rules

Step 8: In the field with label ‘value of formula’, enter this formula: =$C3=TRUE

This formula simply states that cell C3:C9 must contain the value True in order for the formatting to work.

And, as previously stated, a checked box passes the value True, while an unchecked box passes the value False.

So, when you click on a check box, we get a true value, and the formatting is applied. If you uncheck a checkbox, it indicates False and thus no formatting.

Step 9: Under the Formatting style, select the strikethrough icon

This is the formatting that will apply when the checkbox is checked.

The other formatting settings you can apply include Bold, Italic, Underline, Font Color, or Fill Color.

Step 10: Click done

And there you have it.

Illustration of using checkbox to strikethrough in Google Sheets

It’s pretty simple if you know the formula to use which I’ve explained in step 8.

Example 2: Using Checkbox to Highlight Data in Google Sheets

You can present your data in an easy-to-understand format by using checkboxes.

In this example, you’ll learn how to do that.

We’ll make a spreadsheet containing some names of employees, their salaries, and their departments. Then, using checkboxes, we’ll highlight employee names according to their departments and salary level.

This example is illustrated in the animation below.

Illustration of the checkboxes in Google sheets

This spreadsheet, like the previous one, employs conditional formatting based on checkboxes. When a checkbox is selected, it indicates that a condition is true, triggering the formatting. There will be no formatting if a false condition exists.

In the steps below, you’ll learn how to create a spreadsheet like this one.

Step 1: Open your spreadsheet in Google sheets

This step is easy and straightforward.

Launch your browser and navigate to your Google sheets dashboard. Then create a new spreadsheet or open an existing one.

Step 2: Design the layout of your spreadsheet

This step is also a no-brainer.

Simply type the employee names in one column, the departments and salary in the next columns as I’ve done in this example.

See the screenshot below for some inspiration on how to design your spreadsheet.

Also, don’t forget the checkboxes on the right. We’ll link these checkboxes and the main data so that whenever we click on of the checkboxes, our data will be highlighted accordingly.

Step 3: Select all the cells under the Employee column

Here, the cells you select are the ones that will be formatted when the boxes are checked.

In this example, I’d love it that only the names are selected according to the boxes checked.

In this case, select all the employee names.

Step 4: Go to Format > Conditional Formatting

Step 5: Click the drop-down under Format rules in the conditional formatting pane.

Step 6: From the list, scroll to the bottom and select “Custom formula is”.

Step 7: Using the Custom formula field, enter the following formulas

  • Formula 1: =AND($G$5,C3=”Marketing Dept”)
  • Formula 2: =AND($G$6,C3=”Finance Dept”)
  • Formula 3: =AND($G$7,C3=”HR Dept”)
  • Formula 4: =AND($G$8,D3>9000)
  • Formula 5: =AND($G$9,D3<4000)

Note: After entering the first formula, specify the formatting you want for that particular rule under formatting style. Then click done and add more rules to include all the given formulas above.

Illustration of the checkboxes in Google sheets

Explanation formulas in this example

The formulas listed above are simply conditions that are set to control the formatting.

All of these formulas use two conditions each, which necessitates the use of the AND function.

The AND function returns true if all of the arguments are logically true, and false if any of them are false. This is the ideal function to use in this situation.

Let’s take a look at one of the formulas and explain how it works. Understanding the anatomy of one formula will give you the foundation for understanding the rest and even creating your own.

Here we go: =AND($G$5,C3=”Marketing Dept”)

The arguments in this AND function are $G$5 and C3=”Marketing Dept”.

These arguments in the function are stating a rule that says that if cell G5 is true (i.e., checked) and cell C3 contains Marketing Dept, only if these two conditions are met, highlight their names in the employee column.

Using relative referencing, this formula will apply to all the cells under the employee column.

This is the most basic way to explain these formulas.

How to copy a Checkbox to other cells

You can copy checkboxes the same way you copy cells in Google sheets.

This is due to the fact that when you insert a checkbox, it becomes part of the cell and can thus be copied to other cells like any other copy and paste operation.

Thus, to copy a checkbox in Google Sheets:

  • Select the cell that has the checkbox
  • Press Ctrl+C (on Windows) or Command+C (on Mac).
  • Select the cell or cells where you want to paste the checkbox.
  • Press Ctrl+V (on Windos) or Command+V (on Mac)

Note: if you want to copy to adjacent cells, you can use the fill handle to speed up the process.

How to remove checkboxes in Google Sheets

You may want to remove your checkboxes after you’ve added them for a variety of reasons.

It’s also as simple as pressing the Delete key after you’ve selected the cells with the checkboxes.

If the cells are numerous, select all of them before pressing the delete key to speed up the process.


And this is our best guide for getting started with checkboxes in Google Docs.

As I always say, simply inserting checkboxes isn’t fun.

What makes it interesting is what you can do with them, as demonstrated by the examples.

Thank you so much for sticking with me until the end.

In the comments, please let me know what you think of this guide.