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How to Insert Checkbox in Excel Without Developer Tab (2 Easy Methods)

Hello and welcome to our blog post on how to insert checkbox in Excel without Developer tab!

In a recent article, we covered how to add checkboxes using the Developer tab in detail. We understand, however, that not everyone has access to the Developer tab or prefers to keep their Excel interface clutter-free.

There are two types of checkboxes in Excel, Form Control Checkbox and Text Symbol Checkbox. each having a unique purpose. 

The first kind, the form control checkbox, can only be inserted with the form control tools found on the Developer tab. While this sort of checkbox is normally located in the Developer tab, there are other ways to get to it without using the Developer tab. Adding the checkbox control to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) is one example. This allows you to access and use the same Developer tab checkbox from a new entry point, making it more accessible and handy.

The second form of the checkbox is the text symbol checkbox, which may be directly inserted into cells as text or a value. These checkboxes, unlike form control checkboxes, are not clickable, but they serve as a visual representation of data and can be beneficial in some instances.

In this blog article, we’ll look at how to add both sorts of checkboxes in Excel without using the Developer tab. We’ll walk you through the process of inserting checkboxes, regardless of the version of Excel you’re using or your particular choice for accessing these useful form control features.

Let’s get started and discover how to easily add checkboxes in Excel without using the Developer tap.

What is a Checkbox in Excel?

Before we go into the developer tap free method of adding checkboxes in Excel, let’s define a checkbox for our Excel beginners.

A Checkbox is a useful form control element in Excel that adds interactivity to your spreadsheets. It has the form of a little box that may be checked or unchecked and functions as a binary toggle switch, signifying two states of a choice or an option.

A Checkbox’s principal function is to allow users to make simple binary decisions within the spreadsheet. It’s frequently found in data entry forms, checklists, to-do lists, and interactive reports. By ticking the box, you affirm or pick an item, whereas leaving it unchecked denotes a negative or unselected condition.

One important feature of the Checkbox is its connected cell reference, which indicates its checked or unchecked status with the value “TRUE” or “FALSE”. This feature facilitates conditional formatting, filtering, and data analysis, making it an essential tool for proficient Excel users.

The Checkbox in Excel is flexible and user-friendly, improving the functionality and user experience of your spreadsheets. Knowing how to utilize it will surely help you improve your Excel skills and boost your data management efforts.

How to Insert Checkbox in Excel Without Developer Tap

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter and learn how to insert checkboxes in Excel without the need for the Developer tab. 

Follow these simple steps to seamlessly add interactive checkboxes to your Excel sheet, improving data handling and analysis.

Step 1: Add the Checkbox element to your Quick Access Tool Bar

Excel’s Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) is a useful tool that allows users to simply configure and access commonly used functions. 

You can add the Checkbox element to your Quick Access Toolbar, giving you quick access to this useful form control feature without having to visit the Developer tap.

Follow these steps to add the checkbox element to your QAT:

  • Launch Excel and navigate to the Quick Access Toolbar: Locate the Quick Access Toolbar in the top-left area of the Excel window, immediately above the ribbon.
Excel Quick Access Toolbar
  • Personalize the QAT: On the right side of the QAT, click the little drop-down arrow. This will bring up a drop-down menu with several alternatives.
  • Click on “More Commands”: Click the drop-down box and choose “More Commands.” This will launch the Excel Options dialog box.
  • In the “Choose commands from” drop-down menu, select “Commands Not in the Ribbon.”: There are two columns in the Excel Options dialog box: “Choose commands from” on the left and “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” on the right. Select “Commands Not in the Ribbon” from the “Choose commands from” drop-down menu.
  • Locate and Insert the Checkbox Element: Scroll down the command list until you locate “Checkbox (Form Control).” After selecting it, click the “Add” button in the middle of the dialog box. This will add the Checkbox element to the right-side command list.
Adding Checkbox Form Control to Quick Access Toolbar in Excel
  • Press the “OK” button

Congratulations! You’ve added the Checkbox element to your Quick Access Toolbar.

It is now easily situated in the upper-left corner of your Excel window.

Step 2: Insert the Checkbox

Look for the Checkbox icon you added to the QAT. It will appear as a small box with a checkmark. Click on this Checkbox, then click inside the worksheet where you want to place the checkbox.

Using Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to Insert Checkbox in Excel Without Developer Tab

Step 3: Customize the Checkbox 

If you want to further customize the checkbox, such as changing its size or linking it to a specific cell, follow these optional steps:

  • Right-click on the inserted checkbox.
  • Select “Format Control…” from the shortcut menu.
  • In the “Format Control” window, you can adjust the properties like “Size,” “Cell link,” and more.
  • To link the checkbox to a specific cell, select the cell reference you want to use from the “Cell link” section.
  • Click “OK” to apply your customization settings.

Read more on how to link and programme checkboxes in Excel.

Step 4: Repeat as Needed

You can repeat the process above to add more checkboxes to your Excel sheet in different cells.

That’s it! You’ve successfully inserted checkboxes in Excel without using the Developer tab. Your checkboxes will now reflect their checked or unchecked status in the linked cell, helping you with data analysis and filtering.

Now that you know how to insert checkboxes, stay tuned for the next sections where we’ll explore how to link checkboxes to cells, use conditional formatting, and unleash the full potential of checkboxes in Excel!

Checkbox Symbol Text in Excel

As I already mentioned in the beginning of this guide, it’s essential to understand that there are two distinct types of checkboxes (☑☐) that can be used in Excel – a text symbol checkbox and a form control checkbox

Although they may look similar at first glance, they serve different purposes and are inserted differently in Excel.

Text symbol Checkbox Vs form control checkbox.

The main difference between a text symbol checkbox  and a form control checkbox in Excel lies in their interactivity and functionality. 

The checkbox text symbol is a static character that can be inserted as part of the cell’s text or value, but it is non-interactive and behaves like regular content within the cell. 

In contrast, the form control checkbox is an independent object that can be added using the “Form Controls” feature under the “Developer” tab, offering user interactivity. Users can click on the form control checkbox to toggle between a checked and unchecked state, making it ideal for data entry forms, checklists, and interactive reports where binary decisions need to be made.

In this section, we’ll focus on inserting text symbol checkboxes in Excel.

How to Insert Text Symbol Checkbox in Excel without Developer Tap

Below are the various ways and steps you can use to insert 

Method 1. Copy and Paste the Checkbox

The easiest method is to copy a checkbox symbol (☑) from this article and paste it into the desired cell. 

You can double-click the cell or press F2 to enter edit mode and paste the symbol (Control + V). 

This manual approach is suitable for inserting checkboxes in a few places but is not recommended for extensive reports.

Method 2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts:

Shift + R.

To use this checkbox shortcut in Excel, change the cell’s font to Wingdings 2, and then use keyboard shortcuts to insert the checkbox symbol. 

This method is ideal when you only require a checkbox in the cell and do not need any other text or numbers alongside it.

Method 3. Using the CHAR Formula:

Use the CHAR function with font Wingdings to return a checkbox symbol in the cell.

For instance, =CHAR(254) would display a checkbox (☑) in the cell. 

This method is beneficial when you want to incorporate the checkbox into formulas and create dynamic reports.


Inserting checkboxes in Excel without using the Developer tab is easily achievable through the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). 

By adding the Checkbox element to the QAT, users can conveniently access this useful form control feature without cluttering the interface. 

The inserted checkboxes can be customized to fit specific needs, such as linking to cells or adjusting size. 

Furthermore, it’s essential to understand the distinction between a text symbol checkbox and a form control checkbox. While the text symbol checkbox is static and non-interactive, serving as a visual representation of data, the form control checkbox is interactive and allows users to toggle between checked and unchecked states, making it ideal for various tasks like data entry forms and checklists.

 By mastering these techniques, users can leverage checkboxes’ power to enhance their data management and analysis in Excel.