Creating a Checkbox in Google Spreadsheet

I’ll admit that what I’m about to explain is a bit “geek speak,” but not too bad if you follow a few steps.

Problem: Within a Google Spreadsheet, I needed wanted a way to add checkboxes (or a yes/no selection box) in order to show completion of certain project tasks. You might think there is an easy way to do this; after all, most things with Google Docs or Spreadsheets are relatively straightforward. The key part of that was “you might think” as it seemed adding a checkbox (or selection box) was going to fall under the “not so easy” category. That said, I stumbled across a forum post with a similar need to add a checkbox function in a Google Spreadsheet.

Solution: There isn’t a simple “add checkbox” option in the text editor or menu. Instead, you can use “Data Validation” as a way to transform empty cells into check or selection boxes. The following steps will enable you to create them:

  1. Select the cell(s) where you want to add a checkbox or selection box.
  2. Under the Data menu, select Validation… to access Data Validation options.
  3. Select List of items within the Criteria area.
  4. In the empty field next to the Criteria dropdown menu, you will enter your options and separate with a comma (e.g., “Yes, No” or “X, √” or simply “√”). NOTE: You can copy and paste a checkmark/square root symbol (√) or use “option + V” on a Mac.
  5. Ensure Display in-cell button to show list is checked and then click Save.

This works really well when you need to collaborate with the rest of your team to easily display a completion status for a given task. If you simply need to add such a status indicator for your own purposes, though, you might opt for the super easy solution of using a Y or N (or using the combination of “option + V” on a Mac to add a checkmark) within each cell.

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Timely All-In-One Event Calendar

I recently contacted Timely (creators of the All-In-One Event Calendar) about its event calendar plugin for WordPress. I had been comparing its features (and add-on plugins) with Modern Tribe’s The Events Calendar and NetWebLogic’s Events Manager as the online calendar for a school district website. I also identified a non-Wordpress option, but my preference was to find something that would integrate within the existing WordPress environment. All three companies offered free and pro (paid) versions; however, Modern Tribe and NetWebLogic offered their pro version for free to non-profit/school organizations. This was one of the reasons I contacted Timely. The next day I received an email response from Bradley Roulston, VP Sales at Timely, and he stated that they did not have a non-profit offering at this time. That said, he worked with me on the pro version, so we should be in good shape to use the AIO Event Calendar for the 2014-15 school year.

We had some fairly unique requirements that Timely was seemingly able to address for us: 1) subscribe to calendar option with mobile devices (not just a snapshot or one-time download) – we needed any changes to be reflected within the calendar(s), 2) accept RSS feed from external calendar – we had two buildings who utilized a third-party site to create its printed handbook/events, and this would prevent them from having to maintain multiple calendars, 3) accept csv file as an import (we could easily have office professionals update a spreadsheet for us to populate events fairly easily/quickly via import), and 4) maintain a parent-children or push-pull relational model with our district and building sites (be able to create an event at the building level and mirror/sync with district site at an aggregate level).

From our initial testing, it appears that Timely’s All-In-One Event Calendar solution is the best WordPress plugin option for the district’s needs.

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