How to Use a Checkbox in Excel

Updated on: December 26, 2022

Did you know Excel can do much more than formulas and tables? In fact, you can also make to-do lists, but it is more complex than making a supermarket list. In Excel, a checkbox can be even more advanced than you can imagine, and you can use it for organizing your data at a higher level. Keep reading because here you'll learn how to use a checkbox in Excel.

Link a checkbox to a cell

After importing a checkbox which is the first step, you must link them to a cell that will track whether the box is checked. Otherwise, they won't work. For that, you need to do the following:

  1. First, select the checkbox you want to link and click again on the checkbox.
  2. Go to the Formula Bar, the large white bar just down the principal panel you have on top, and type the equal sign (=).
  3. Click on the cell you want to link to the checkbox and press enter.

Remember that the cell you will link needs to be different from the cell containing the statement or phrase. Example:

  1. Cell A1: "Wash the dishes."
  2. Cell B1: The checkbox
  3. Cell C1: The linked cell to the checkbox

It's essential to choose another location so that each check box's "TRUE/FALSE" result will appear.

  1. Repeat the process as many times as you need.

So, now in the third column, the linked cells will show you "TRUE" when the checkbox is checked and "False" when you uncheck it.

Checkbox count

Another thing you can do when using a checkbox is the number count of completed tasks using the "COUNTIF" formula by typing the following syntaxis:


So, for example, if you have a checklist from cell B1 to B5, the formula will be:


But if you only have three checkboxes of that range of cells with the logical result as "TRUE," which means checked, then the result of that formula will equal three.

Note: You can do this count in any cell you prefer.

Conditional formatting

Conditional formatting is roughly an aid you can apply to your data depending on a few conditional rules you want to lay out. Hence, when using checkboxes, you can ask Excel to do a particular action like changing the cell color, strikethrough the statement, etc. When the logical result equals "TRUE."

Let's give a simple example of the strikethrough operation: 

  1. Select the cell you have the item or phrase you want to strikethrough.
  2. In the "Home" tab, click on the "Conditional Formatting" dropdown arrow, which is in the "Styles" group about the middle of the Home tools.
  3. From the options of "Conditional formatting," select "New rule."
  4. Now in the "New Formatting Rule" pop-up context menu, go to the "select the rule type and select "use a formula to determine which cells to format."
  5. In the "Edit the Rule Description," type the cell name containing the checkbox's formula.

Note: If we use the first example, then the cell you must choose is the C1 because the A1 corresponds to the statement, B1 to the checkbox, and C1 the linked cell to the formula.

  1. Now click on the "Format" button.
  2. In the "Format cells" window, search "Effects" and then pick the "strikethrough" option.
  3. Click "OK" on the prior windows. 

Alright! After this process, you must copy this formatting, but you can't do it with the basic commands (Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V). You must:

  1. Go to the "Home" tab
  2. Search the "Clipboard" group.
  3. Click on the brush icon.
  4. Click and drag from the starting cell to the last one you want to establish the formatting.

There you have it! Now nothing can stop you. Try it yourself and use as many checkboxes as you want. Good Luck!

Lorena M. Rodas leverages her experience across film, writing, and production to make complex tech concepts accessible through storytelling. With a background spanning sci-fi, AI, and emerging tech, Lorena translates her depth of knowledge into engaging, educational content. She is an expert at decoding high-level topics to reach broad audiences.
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