Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Check Box In Excel


When navigating through large sets of data in Excel, it's crucial to have a clear way to keep track of what has and hasn't been completed. This is where check boxes come in handy. In this tutorial, we will provide an overview of how to create and use check boxes in Excel, so you can effectively organize and manage your data with ease.

Key Takeaways

  • Check boxes in Excel are crucial for keeping track of completed tasks within large sets of data.
  • Accessing the Developer tab is the first step in creating and customizing check boxes in Excel.
  • Customizing check boxes includes adjusting size, properties, and adding text or labels for clarity.
  • Linking check boxes to cells allows for easy tracking and manipulation of data.
  • Copying and pasting check boxes can streamline the process of organizing data and user interaction.

Step 1: Accessing the Developer Tab

When you want to add a check box in Excel, you'll need to access the Developer tab in order to perform this task. The following sub-points will guide you through the process.

A. Opening Excel and locating the ribbon

First, open Excel on your computer. Once the program is open, look for the ribbon at the top of the screen. The ribbon contains various tabs, including Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, and View.

B. Finding and enabling the Developer tab

To access the Developer tab, you'll need to right-click on any of the existing tabs on the ribbon. A dropdown menu will appear, and you will need to select "Customize the Ribbon." In the Excel Options window that opens, locate the Developer tab in the right-hand column and check the box next to it. Click "OK" to enable the Developer tab, which will now appear on the ribbon alongside the other tabs.

Step 2: Inserting a Check Box

Once you have navigated to the Developer tab, the next step is to insert a check box onto your worksheet. Here's how you can do it:

A. Navigating to the Developer tab

In order to insert a check box in Excel, you first need to navigate to the Developer tab. If you don't see the Developer tab on your Excel ribbon, you can enable it by going to the File tab, selecting Options, then Customizing the Ribbon, and finally checking the box next to Developer in the Main Tabs section.

B. Selecting the check box control from the Insert menu

Once you are on the Developer tab, click on the Insert drop-down menu. From the menu, select the check box control. You can find the check box control under the Form Controls section.

C. Drawing the check box in the desired cell of the worksheet

After selecting the check box control, your cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag to draw the check box in the desired cell of the worksheet. You can resize the check box by clicking and dragging its edges. The check box will automatically link to the cell you draw it in, and you can move or resize it as needed.

Step 3: Customizing the Check Box

Once you have inserted a check box in your Excel spreadsheet, you can further customize it to fit your specific needs.

A. Right-clicking on the check box to access settings

To access the settings for the check box, simply right-click on the check box. This will bring up a menu of options that allow you to modify the properties of the check box.

B. Adjusting the size and properties of the check box

One of the key settings you may want to change is the size of the check box. You can adjust the size by clicking and dragging the corners of the check box to make it larger or smaller. Additionally, you can change the properties of the check box, such as the color and style, by accessing the Format Control menu.

C. Adding text or labels next to the check box

If you want to add text or labels next to the check box, you can do so by inserting a text box and positioning it next to the check box. This can be useful for providing additional context or instructions for the check box.

Step 4: Linking the Check Box to a Cell

After successfully inserting a check box in your Excel sheet, the next step is to link it to a specific cell. This will allow the check box to display the value "TRUE" or "FALSE" based on whether it is checked or unchecked.

A. Right-clicking on the check box and selecting Format Control

Start by right-clicking on the check box you want to link to a cell. From the dropdown menu, select "Format Control." This will open a dialog box with various formatting options for the check box.

B. Entering the cell reference in the Cell link box

  • 1. In the Format Control dialog box, navigate to the "Control" tab. Here, you will find a "Cell link" field.
  • 2. Click on the "Cell link" field and then click on the cell where you want the linked value to appear. This could be any empty cell on the worksheet.
  • 3. Once you've selected the cell, the reference will automatically appear in the "Cell link" field.

C. Testing the check box to see if it is linked properly

Now that you have linked the check box to a specific cell, it's time to test if the link is functioning correctly.

  • 1. Click on the check box to see if it updates the linked cell accordingly.
  • 2. If the linked cell displays "TRUE" when the check box is checked and "FALSE" when it is unchecked, then the link has been set up successfully.

Step 5: Copying and Pasting Check Boxes

Once you have created your initial check box, you may need to duplicate it multiple times throughout your spreadsheet. This can be easily done using the copy and paste functions.

When copying and pasting check boxes, it is important to ensure that the linked cell reference is updated for each new check box to accurately reflect its status.

A. Using the copy and paste functions to duplicate the check box
  • Step 1: Select the check box that you want to duplicate.
  • Step 2: Right-click on the selected check box and choose "Copy" from the context menu, or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + C).
  • Step 3: Navigate to the cell where you want to paste the duplicate check box and right-click to choose "Paste" from the context menu, or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + V).

B. Ensuring that the linked cell reference is updated for each new check box
  • Step 1: After pasting the duplicate check box, right-click on the new check box and select "Format Control" from the context menu.
  • Step 2: In the "Format Control" dialog box, make sure that the "Cell link" field is updated to point to the correct cell for the new check box.
  • Step 3: Click "OK" to save the changes and close the dialog box.

By following these steps, you can easily copy and paste check boxes in Excel while ensuring that the linked cell reference is updated for each new check box.


In conclusion, adding a check box in Excel can greatly enhance your data organization and user interaction. To recap, the steps covered in this tutorial include:

  • Step 1: Select the cell where you want to insert the check box
  • Step 2: Go to the Developer tab and click on the Insert option
  • Step 3: Select the check box option from the Form Controls
  • Step 4: Resize and position the check box as desired

By incorporating check boxes, you can create interactive forms, to-do lists, and task trackers in your Excel spreadsheets. This simple tool can make a big difference in how you manage and interact with your data.

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