If you’re creating a spreadsheet to share with others or just one for your own tracking, using a checklist can make entering data into Microsoft Excel a breeze. Here’s how to create a checklist in your spreadsheet and make it look like yours.
Why a checklist? You can use a checklist to keep track of items to pack for a trip, products for your business, a list of Christmas gifts, monthly bills, or to keep track of tasks. With a simple check box form control, you can create a checklist for anything you want in Excel.
Open the Developer tab
Before you can use the form control check box in Microsoft Excel, make sure you have access to the Developer tab. If you don̵
Right-click anywhere on your Excel ribbon and select “Customize the Ribbon” from the drop-down list. You can also click File> Options> Customize Ribbon from the menu.
On the right side of the window, under ‘Customize the Ribbon’, make sure that ‘Main Tabs’ is selected. Then check the box next to the “Developer” option in the list below.
Click “OK” and close the Excel Options window.
RELATED: Add the Developer tab to the Microsoft Office ribbon
Add your list of items in Excel
The best way to start your checklist is to add the list items. While you can always add or remove items later, this will give you the start to add your checkboxes. And of course you can add any row or column header you want.
Add checkboxes for your list items
The action part of a checklist is the check box. And this is where the Developer tab comes into the mix, so make sure to select that tab. Go to an item in your list and click the cell next to it where you want a check box.
In the “Control” section of the ribbon, click the “Insert” button. Choose the “Checkbox” option in the “Form Controls” area.
You will then see your cursor change to a crosshair (like a plus sign). Drag a corner and release when you see your check box.
By default, the check box has a label that you do not need for a basic checklist. Select that text and press your “Backspace” or “Delete” key. You can then select the check box and drag a corner to resize it, if necessary.
Format your check boxes
After inserting a check box, you can make changes to its appearance as needed. Right-click on the check box. Make sure to right-click the control and not the cell in which it is located. Select “Format Management” from the shortcut menu.
You will see tabs for “Colors and Lines” and “Size” that allow you to easily color the lines, add a fill color, scale the check box and lock the aspect ratio. Make sure to click “OK” after making your changes.
Check box Values and cell links
The other tab you may want to work with is the “Control” tab. Allows you to set the value, add a cell link if needed, and apply 3-D shading.
Values check box
By default, a check box is cleared when you insert it. Depending on the type of checklist you are creating, you may want the boxes checked by default. This forces the user to disable items they don’t want. To do this, highlight “Checked” under “Value” on the Review tab and click “OK”.
If you plan to use your checklist in conjunction with Microsoft Excel formulas, you probably use “Cell Link” in the “Control” tab. When you enter a cell in this box, a True or False value is displayed based on the box that is checked or unchecked.
Here’s an example. Say your checklist contains 25 items and you plan to use the COUNTIF function to see how many items have been checked. You can base your formula on the True and False values associated with the checked and unchecked boxes.
To use the “Cell Link”, simply type the cell reference in the box or click on the cell in your spreadsheet to have it auto-fill.
Add the remaining check boxes
Follow the steps above to add checkboxes to your remaining list items. Or, for a faster way, use AutoFill to copy the checkboxes through the cells of your other items.
To use AutoFill, place your cursor in the lower right corner of the cell with the check box. When you see the Fill Handle (plus sign), drag to fill the extra cells and release.
For marking a list of tasks, creating a gift list and checking it twice, or keeping track of bills you pay each month, creating a checklist in Excel is a great way to go!
And if you like the list idea, how about adding a dropdown list in Microsoft Exce, me too?