How To Insert A Checkbox and Tick Marks In Excel

Both checkboxes and tick marks can be very useful for creating to-do lists, interactive charts, and other dynamic functions in spreadsheets. However, not all checkboxes and tick marks are created equal. Some allow you to interact with them directly, while others are simply images that serve as replacements for cumbersome words or data points. Therefore, it is very important to understand how and why you’re putting checkboxes or tick marks into your spreadsheet.

But if you’ve never tried to insert a checkbox or a tick mark in your Excel spreadsheet, you probably have a few questions. For example, what’s the point of using checkboxes in Excel? How do checkboxes differ from tick marks? How can you make your checkboxes interactive? Finally, what are the best and easiest methods for adding checkboxes and tick marks in Excel?

In today’s guide, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. And remember, if you need additional help with Excel, you can always reach out to the trained IT experts at Geeker. Now let’s get started!

Why Use Checkboxes In Excel?

Checkboxes are a great interactive feature that you can add to any Excel spreadsheet. Essentially, you’re just adding a small square box that can be clicked or unclicked to add or remove a checkmark. Whether you’re using Excel for personal or professional reasons, you can use checkboxes to show completed and uncompleted tasks. Alternatively, checkboxes can simply be a way to signify different qualities or characteristics of data.

For example, let’s say you have a list of car models in Column A. In the remaining columns, you have different features that each model may or may not have. Rather than simply adding “Yes” or “No” to individual cells, you can check the corresponding box to indicate that a car model does have a particular feature. This also makes it easier to check or uncheck boxes as you get new information Here’s what that table might look like:

Four-Wheel Drive Automatic Transmission Rearview Camera Built-in GPS
Model A
Model B 𝤿 𝤿
Model C 𝤿 𝤿
Model D 𝤿

As you can see, this can make for a much more visually appealing spreadsheet. Adding checkmarks can clearly display unique data, while also making it easier to edit quickly, particularly if you’re collaborating with multiple people.

But it’s important to note that not all checkboxes you put in a spreadsheet are interactive. Some are preset images with or without checks, while others are empty boxes that you can click to add a check. If you’ve never added a checkbox to your spreadsheet before, you may be tempted to simply find a checkbox image online and copy and paste it into your spreadsheet. While this is a perfectly legitimate way to put a checkbox in your spreadsheet, you may run into formatting issues and your checkbox will definitely not be interactive.

How To Insert A Checkbox In Excel

There are a few different ways to insert checkboxes in Excel without using the copy-and-paste route. We’ll go over the step-by-step process for each method below:

Developer Tab

You might already have the Developer Tab available on the Excel ribbon. If not you can enable it by right-clicking on your ribbon, clicking “Customize the Ribbon,” and checking the box next to “Developer.”

The Developer Tab is by far the easiest way to add interactive checkboxes to your Excel spreadsheet. Once the Developer Tab is enabled, you just have to click on it and, from the Controls group, select “Insert.” From the dropdown menu, click on the checkbox icon. This will turn your cursor into a crosshair that you can use to customize the size of your checkbox. Once you create one, you can use copy and paste (or drag the fill handle) to add a checkbox to multiple cells.

CHAR Function

Adding a checkbox with the CHAR function is as simple as knowing the correct code, and it’s one of the easiest ways to do it without the Developer Tab. In Excel, the code for a box with a check in it is 254, while the code for a box with an X in it is 253. So, all you have to do is choose the cell you want and enter =CHAR(254) or =CHAR(253) to create a checkbox. However, when you use this method, it’s important to remember that your checkboxes are not interactive.

Keyboard Shortcut

You can also make a checkbox using keyboard shortcuts, but you may have to change your default font first. You can use either the Wingdings or Windings 2 font for these shortcuts. Once you make that change, you put a checkbox in any cell with the following hotkeys:

  • Box with a Check – Shift +R
  • Box with an X – Shift + Q or Shift + S or Shift + T

Once again, these will not be interactive checkboxes. So, if you choose this method, it is generally best for changing the aesthetic appeal of your spreadsheet, as opposed to the functionality of a Developer Tab checkbox.

How To Add Tick Marks In Excel

You may find that you don’t need to create a tick box for your particular spreadsheet. Instead, you may want to replace things like “Yes” or “No” and “True” or “False” with check marks and X symbols. Fortunately, you can use various methods, including some that have already been mentioned in this guide, to insert tick marks in your spreadsheet with ease.

That said, it is important to consider that tick marks tend to be less interactive than checkboxes. While you can still use them to change the appearance of your spreadsheet, you may not find them as intuitive as interactive checkboxes.

In any case, the Developer Tab is still the easiest way to go about it, but there are also some alternative methods to consider:

Symbol Command

Excel already has a built-in tick mark you can add to your spreadsheet — you just have to know where to find it. To add tick marks with the Symbol command, simply follow these steps:

  1. Click on the cell where you want to add a tick mark
  2. Go to Insert > Symbol
  3. Click on “Symbols”
  4. In the Symbol dialog box, click the arrow next to “Font” and change the font to Wingdings or Wingdings 2
  5. Choose the tick mark you like (there are various checks and X symbols to choose from)
  6. Click “Insert”
  7. (Optional) Copy and paste or drag and fill the tick mark to multiple cells

CHAR Function

You can also add tick marks (without boxes) using the CHAR function. You will just need to change the numbers depending on the type of symbol you want. For a regular check mark, choose a cell and enter =CHAR(252). If you want to use an X symbol instead, choose a cell and enter =CHAR(251).

Keyboard Shortcut

Just like checkboxes, tick marks have their own unique hotkeys, assuming that you’ve switched to the Wingdings or Wingdings 2 font. Once you’ve made the change, you can use Shift + P (for check marks) or Shift +O (for X symbols) in your spreadsheet.

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