How To Add Checkboxes In Google Sheets (Real-Life Examples!)

This tutorial aims to give you a definite guide on how to insert checkboxes in Google Sheets.

We will go over the basics, as well as some more advanced topics like conditional formatting with checkboxes, assigning custom values, and counting all the values from checkboxes.

We will even sum everything we know into a real-live example: a simple habit tracker.

Excited? So Am I!

PS. The tutorial should take you around 12-20 minutes to complete. You may follow along using the spreadsheet available here (just make a copy and you are ready to go).

How to Insert Checkbox In Google Sheets

Inserting a checkbox is actually super simple to do. These are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Select the cell where you would like it to appear

The screenshot shows a focus on B2 cell

Step 2: From the Options Menu select Insert and find the checkbox option

The screenshot shows how to create a checkbox from the Options Menu with highlights on the items we need to click on

Pro tip: To insert checkboxes in multiple cells simultaneously, select the desired range of cells and then click on Insert in the Options Menu

Gif showing the process of adding multiple checkboxes at once in Google Sheets

Checkbox Data Validation in Google Sheets

In this section, we will focus on how to take the value from our checkbox and put it to good use.

Google Sheets Checkbox Default Values (True/False)

The screenshot shows two possible values for checkbox: TRUE and FALSE

The default values for every checkbox are:

  • TRUE – when it is checked
  • FALSE – when it is unchecked

Although it seems super basic it opens a lot of opportunities for you mainly because you can now use the cell value in many different functions such as the IF function or even a SPARKLINE function if you want to be fancy and create a little graph for your data.

Let’s see it in action:

Step 1: Create a checkbox in the B1 cell.

The screenshot shows empty checkbox in B2 cell of our worksheet

Step 2: In the A1 cell add an IF function to show different values depending on the checkbox status.

This is the IF function that we will use:

=IF(B1=TRUE,"The value of B1 is TRUE","The value of B1 is FALSE")

And this is how it should look like:

The screenshot shows the IF function that checks whether B1 cell value is set to TRUE or FALSE and outputs the content based on the value

Using the IF function is the easiest way to programmatically check if the checkbox is checked or not

Gif showing how TRUE/FALSE value toogle changes the visible text

Now, let’s move on to customizing the checkbox so you’re not limited to just TRUE and FALSE values.

How To Add Custom Values to Checkbox

In many cases, you may want your checkbox to return a custom value that you will later use in your calculations or conditional statements. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Click on the checkbox you’ve created previously or create a new one and focus on it

Step 2: Go to Data > Data validation

The screenshot shows how to access Data validation settings from the options menu

Step 3: Make sure that “Criteria” is set to “Checkbox”

The screenshot highlights the Criteria options

Step 4: Select the “Use custom cell values” checkbox

The screenshot highlights the 'use custom cell values' options in the Data validation section

Step 5: Provide custom values for “Checked” and “Unchecked” inputs (in our case they will respectively be 1 and 0) and click on the SAVE button

The screenshot shows Checked and unchecked options that are enabled when you select 'use custom values' checkbox

Now you can use your checkbox exactly the same way but the output will cover the values you provided.

How To Do Conditional Formatting in Google Sheets

Alright, now that you know how to add a checkbox to Google sheets, how to read its value, and use it inside an IF statement let’s focus on putting this knowledge to something more practical.

In this section, we will cover conditional formatting. We will learn how to format one field based on the checkbox value of another field.

Here are some real-life examples that you may find useful:

  • Creating a simple to-do app
  • Highlighting values

Creating a Simple To-Do App in Google Sheets Using Checkboxes

If you were ever wondering how to highlight a row if the checkbox is checked this is the answer you were looking for:

Step 1: Create a list of To-Do tasks in column A

The screenshot highlights the newly added tasks in the A column

Step 2: Create a set of checkboxes in Column B

The screenshot highlights the newly added checkboxes in the B column

Step 3: Select all tasks from the column A

The screenshot highlights all tasks from the column A being selected

Step 4: Select Format > Conditional formatting from the Options Menu

The screenshot highlights the steps required to access Conditional formatting settings from the options menu

Step 5: In the popup that will appear on the right side find the “Format Rules” section and in the “Format cells if” section select the “Custom formula is” from the dropdown menu

The screenshot highlights 'format rules' section in the conditional formatting settings

Step 6: In the custom formula input type =B2=TRUE

The screenshot highlights the input where you can add your custom function to apply to conditional formatting

Step 7: Pick your formatting style for completed tasks and click on Done

The screenshot shows formatting style options for conditional formatting. You have a several options to choose from such as making text bold, italic, underlined, struck, or changing the background color

That’s all you had to do, your small To-Do App is ready to be used 🙂

Gif shows a preview of our todo app where checking a checkbox causes the tasks to be marked as done - it has a green background and the text is struck

Highlighting multiple values based on single checkbox status

You can also use conditional formatting in Google Sheets to highlight and analyze your data. It will be quite similar to what we did a second ago but the filter will be toggled by only one checkbox.

The screenshot shows static preview of how you can control multiple entries with one checkbox in Google Sheets

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Open the “Highlight multiple values – start” worksheet (If you haven’t created a copy of the exercise spreadsheet yet, you can do so here.)

The screenshot shows where to access the 'highlight multiple values - start' worksheet in my exercise. It's 3rd tab from the left

Step 2: Create a checkbox in the F2 cell

The screenshot highlights F2 cell where we are going to put our checkbox

Step 3: Add a description in an E2 cell. In the exercise, I added “Show employees earning more than 5k a month”

The screenshot shows description being added to he E2 cell

Step 4: Select all the cells you want to apply the logic for. In this exercise, it will be A2:B31

The screenshot all entries from A and B columns being highlighted

Step 5: Go to Format > Conditional formatting in the Options Menu

The screenshot how to access conditional formatting settings from the options menu

Step 6: In the format rules section set the “Format cells if” to “Custom formula is”

The screenshot highlights where to set format rules to use custom formula

Step 7*: Add the formula: =AND($F$2,$B2>=5000) and click “Done”

The screenshot custom formula added for conditionally formatting all entries that are higher than $5000

Step 8: Use your checkbox to see if the values are highlighted

*I probably owe you a bit of explanation on what we did in step 8:

  • AND formula returns TRUE only when all provided criteria are TRUE (and FALSE when at least one of them doesn’t match)
  • The $ sign before the column name and row number ($F$2) tells Google Sheets to use that specific cell value for all cells in our data set.
  • The $ sign in the second argument ($B2>5000) ensures the checkbox is referenced correctly and that the checks are only applied to the values in Column B

This is our final output:

Gif shows how the entries where Salary is higher than $5000 are being highlighted in green when we use our single checkbox toggle

How to Count All Checkboxes in Google Sheets

COUNTIF is a quick and easy way to count all selected checkboxes in your sheets.

It returns the number of cells in a range that meet certain criteria.

And here’s the syntax for this function: COUNTIF(range, criterion)


  • range – is your selection of fields
  • criterion – is your pattern that you want to check the fields against

Let me break it down by giving you an example:

Step 1: Open the “Count all checkboxes – start” worksheet

The screenshot where to find the 'count all checkboxes' worksheet in our exercise spreadsheet. It's 5th tab from the left

Step 2: Create a set of 10 checkboxes in Column B

Step 3: Apply =COUNTIF(B1:B10, TRUE) function to the B12 cell

The screenshot highlights the COUNTIF formula being used to count all checked checkboxes

The function sums up all cells with a value of TRUE in a range between B1 and B10.

Gif shows the final effect of counting checked checkboxes. The number changes every time a checkbox is checked

How to Make a CheckBox In Google Sheets Mobile App? (iPhone, Ipad, Android)

Unfortunately, you can’t create a checkbox on your iPad or iPhone using the Google Sheets App for Apple devices because it doesn’t support data validation at the moment of writing this article. Hopefully, data validation for IOS will be supported in the future.

However, you can easily add checkboxes if you are an Android phone owner. To do so, just follow these steps:

Step 1: Select the cell where you want to add your checkbox

The screenshot shows where to access Options Menu in Google Mobile App for Android devices

Step 2: Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner of your screen

Step 3: From the menu that will appear select “Data validation”

The screenshot shows where to access Data Validation setting in Google Mobile App for Android devices

Step 4: Change the criteria to “Checkbox” and click on “Add/Save” (at the top)

Final Task: Create a Habit Tracker

In our final task, we will create a simple habit tracker app.

Here are the features that we are going to cover:

  • We will determine the number of tasks completed each day.
  • We will calculate the number of tasks we were unable to complete each day.
  • We will calculate the % value of tasks completed each day so that you can identify the most productive days for you.

Let’s start!

Step 1: Open the “Habit Tracker – start” worksheet

The screenshot shows where to access 'Habit Tracker - start' worksheet in our exercise sheet. It's 7th tab from the left

Step 2: Add checkboxes for all tasks and every day of the week (B3:H9 range)

The screenshot shows multiple checkboxes being added in the B3:H9 range

Step 3: Focus on the B12 cell and add a formula that will count all checkboxes with TRUE as their value (we covered this in the previous section).

The screenshot shows implementation of counting the completed tasks for a single day of the week

Step 4: Spread the formula to other cells in this row (just drag and pull the small blue rectangle that is visible in the bottom right corner of the selected B12 cell)

Step 5: Now let’s do a similar operation in the B13 cell, just count all checkboxes with the value of FALSE

Step 6: In a similar way spread the formula across the row

Step 7: Let’s calculate the % value.

Focus on the B14 cell and add this formula: =COUNTIF(B3:B9,TRUE)/COUNTA(B3:B9)

The screenshot shows where to put the formulas to count the percentage value for completed daily tasks
  • The COUNTIF function will calculate all checkboxes that have the value set to TRUE
  • The COUNTA function will simply count the number of cells in the provided dataset

Now, all we need to do is change the number formatting to %. This is how to do it:

Step 8: While keeping your focus on the B14 cell navigate to Format > Number > Percentage Format in the Options menu

The screenshot highlights element that user has to click on in order to format a number as percentage

Step 10 (Optional): You can also add conditional formatting for your values.

If you want to do so go to “Format > Conditional formatting” and apply a few format rules.

In this exercise, we will set 3 different colors depending on the cell value. In order to do that just select a “Color scale” option rather than “Single color

  • If the value is less than 30% then the cell will be highlighted in red
  • If the value is between 31 and 69 then the cell will be highlighted in orange
  • if the value is 70 or greater the cell will be highlighted in green

Here is the preview:

And this is the final effect:

Gif shows the fully working habit tracker ap that keeps track of our daily tasks. Counts completed tasks, counts incompleted tasks, calculates the percentage of tasks that were done and applies red,orange or green color as an indicator

Some Questions You May Have

Can I have multiple checkboxes in one cell?

No, you can’t have multiple checkboxes in one cell in Google Sheets. You will need to create separate checkboxes for each cell. Alternatively, you can use a drop-down menu that can have multiple values to pick from. All you need to do is to go to Data > Data Validation and pick “List of items” as your criteria (you need to provide the list too)

How do I delete a checkbox in Google Sheets?

To delete a checkbox from your sheet, just select the cells with the checkboxes and then hit the Delete key on your keyboard. This will remove any existing data validation rules as well as all values.

Is there a way to make a checkbox “checked” by default?

No, you can’t make a checkbox “checked” by default. The default value for the checkbox is unchecked and you can only change it manually by clicking on the checkbox itself.

My final thoughts

Checkboxes are a great way to quickly add interactivity to your Google Sheets. With this tutorial, you learned how to use checkboxes in Google Sheets in many different ways. Especially how to use formulas and conditional formatting with them.

I hope this guide was helpful! If you have any further questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and happy spreadsheeting!

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