Google Sheets Checkbox – How to Add Them and Tricks

  • by

Google Sheets Checkbox are a simple and easy way to keep track of a list of items. They’re just one of the features of Google Sheets that make the whole ecosystem so welcoming and easy to use.

With checkboxes, you can create a simple way to keep track of tasks and mark things. You can create an attendance list for your class, create an entry and exit list for employees, and so much more. It’s much easier to just click a box instead of having to manually type in Yes or No.

In today’s article, we’re explaining how you can make checkboxes and use them to change the color of rows as well.

How to add a checkbox to Google Sheets

Adding a checkbox to a cell is super-easy. Simply:

  • open up the sheet you’re working on
  • Select the cell(s) you want to add a checkbox to
  • Click Insert from the top menu bar
  • Scroll down the menu and click on Checkbox
google sheets checkboxes how to add
Clicking it will include all the selected cells with a checkbox

There you go! All the cells that you selected should now have a checkbox in them. The default value of checkboxes are always empty (False). When you click on them, they become filled (True).

If you need to delete a checbox, just select it and press Delete from your keyboard.

Now you might be wondering: can I do more with checkboxes to make them useful? Well, the answer is a big yes. Google Sheets is very powerful and offers a lot of customization. You can add a personal touch to almost everything and checkboxes are included.

If you’re interested in doing more with checkboxes, continue reading about them below.

Customize checkbox values

Checboxes can be customized to show something other than True or False. This is useful when you want your checkboxes to show more meaning and be self-explanatory. If you send the file to someone, you don’t want them guessing what the checkbox means. Giving them custom values will eliminate confusion when others see the file.

To change their values:

  • Select the checkbox(es) with your mouse
  • Right-click and scroll to the bottom
  • Click Data Validation
  • Press ‘Use custom cell values’
  • Enter your custom values for the Checked and Unchecked fields
  • Press Save
google sheets checkboxes data validation
We added Yes and No as our custom values

Now your checkboxes will show the checked and unchecked values you entered in the Formula bar on top.

Change row color with checkbox

We’re now going to look at how you can change the color of a row by marking a checkbox. This is very useful in keeping track of payments or deliveries. A filled checkbox row should have a different color than an unfilled one.

This technique allows you to skim through your spreadsheet and make a note of priority items. To do this, we’ll look at conditional formatting. Conditional formatting basically means ‘IF something, THEN something else’.

What we’re trying to do here is ‘If checkbox is filled, THEN change the row color’.

How do I Conditional Format a checkbox in Google Sheets?

Create a column of checkboxes. We added our checkboxes to the first column for this example. The next set of columns are shown below.

google sheets checkboxes data
Our dummy data

Our goal is to highlight ticked rows in blue and unticked in yellow.

It’s pretty simple.

Select the first row with data, namely columns B2, C2, and D2. Then right-click and select Conditional formatting from the menu.

google sheets checkboxes conditional formatting
How the condition rules should look like

Let’s now look at the conditional format rules one by one.

The Apply to range button shows the cells we’re targeting and it shows B2:D2. The dropdown menu below shows ‘Custom formula is’ selected which is available at the bottom of the menu. In the box below it, we’ve written our rule which is ‘=$A2=TRUE’.

All of this translates to: If the checkbox in cell A2 is filled (TRUE), then highlight the selected cells in light blue. Press Done in the menu and now clicking the checkbox should give the following results.

google sheets checkboxes example

We now have a working checkbox. Give yourself a pat on the back and then let’s move forward.

To make an unfilled row Yellow, just add another rule. To add that rule, select the 3 cells again and open conditional formatting. You’ll see a rule already exists here. Press the ‘Add another rule’ button and repeat the previous steps, but type ‘=$A2=FALSE’ and choose the yellow color.

google sheets checkboxes conditional formatting
Success x2

Now you must be wondering, ‘how do I add this functionality to the other rows?’ The answer to that is Paste special.

Using Paste special

Select the first 3 cells again and press the copy button (CTRL+C). Then, select all the cells below them and press right-click, hover over Paste Special, and click ‘paste conditional formatting only’. The formatting will apply to all rows now.

google sheets checkboxes paste special
The final step

The conditional formatting will now be applied to all rows. That’s it for our Google Sheets checkboxes tutorial.

There’s a lot you can do with conditional formatting. Better yet, there’s a lot you can do in Google Sheets to make the experience less work-like and more engaging.

Are there are any other Google Sheets tricks that you’d want us to cover? Let us know in the comments below!

Aslo check out our Google Sheets dropdown menu tutorial. We’re sure you’d love reading about something new.

2 thoughts on “Google Sheets Checkbox – How to Add Them and Tricks”

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Google Sheets doesn’t support options other than checkboxes as of now. You might be able to code them yourself, but that would take a lot of effort.

Leave a Reply