How to Insert a Checkbox in Excel

Create a checklist for everything you need

Checkbox marked off a to-do list.

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Excel is a natural choice for lists and progress tracking, whether you're packing for a trip or checking off tasks for a work project. You can just put an "x" in a column...or, you can follow these instructions to insert a handy (and satisfying) checkbox to click when your item is completed! Here's how to add a checkbox in Excel. (It's very similar to the way checkboxes are inserted in Word)

One important thing to understand before you proceed: Excel Online does not support the checkbox function.

The instructions in this article apply to Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Excel 2019 (for Windows), Office 365, and Excel 2008, Excel 2011 (for Mac).

  1. In Excel, make sure you have the Developer tab in your ribbon. If you don't, you can add it by:

    Clicking File > Options > Customize Ribbon and then selecting the Developer check box, and click OK in Excel 2010 and subsequent versions on a PC.

    In Excel 2007 on a PC, click the Microsoft Office button and select  Excel Options > Popular  > Show Developer tab in the Ribbon.

    Add the Developer tab to your Ribbon in Excel

    For Mac users, go to Excel Preferences and select Developer from the list in the view tab.

  2. In the Developer tab click Insert and then select the Checkbox icon.

    Form Controls being used to insert a checkbox in Excel

    Mac users should click directly on the Check Box button.

  3. In the spreadsheet, click where you would like to place the checkbox. You can immediately begin typing to edit the default text after the checkbox appears, or right-click on the checkbox to edit other characteristics.

    How to edit text when inserting a text box in Excel
  4. Options for the checkbox formatting include fill color, text color, borders, and other options when you right-click and select Format Control.

    Using Format Control to edit the fill color, line, size, and other items in a checkbox.
  5. Any edits to the checkbox must be done using a right-click; a left-click will check or uncheck the box.

Creating a Checklist in Excel with Checkboxes

The Checkbox function in the Developer tab only allows you to add a single checkbox at a time. However, once you have a few on your page you can select multiple checkboxes and use copy/paste to add more items to your spreadsheet quickly. Doing this is a little tricky, since regular clicks on a checkbox will just check/uncheck the box itself.

To copy/paste a checkbox:

  1. Right-click over the checkbox and select Copy.

  2. Right-click where you want to place the copied checkbox and select Paste.

  3. You can then right-click on the checkbox to edit the text or formatting.

You may find it easier to enter your line items in regular cells on the Excel sheet and then add a checkbox without using the checkbox text. When you click to place your checkbox just click and highlight the text, and press the Delete key on your keyboard. Using Copy/Paste to duplicate checkboxes is a lot more efficient this way, and it makes editing the text easier as well.

How to Delete a Checkbox in Excel

Have a checkbox that you don't want to check anymore? Deleting a checkbox isn't immediately obvious, since regular clicks just toggle the check on and off.

  1. Right-click the checkbox you want to remove.

  2. Select Cut.

  3. That's it! Just don't paste it anywhere and the checkbox is now safely out of your spreadsheet.