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:
- Select the cell(s) where you want to add a checkbox or selection box.
- Under the Data menu, select Validation… to access Data Validation options.
- Select List of items within the Criteria area.
- 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.
- 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.