One symbol of check box, one symbol of empty box

Google Sheets | Insert a check box drop down using data validation

As of April 2018, checkboxes can be inserted using Insert, Checkbox from the menus. This tutorial is still relevant however, if you would like to use drop-downs with other types of characters.

If you want a way to choose yes/no in Google Sheets, using a checkmark can be a good way to do it. While it is not a built-in function, there is a way to create a checkbox drop-down in Google Sheets as shown in this linked Google Sheet. The method is a bit of a workaround, but it does end up giving you a drop-down with the option of a box with a checkmark in it or a blank box. Keep in mind that some newer spreadsheet programs have a built-in drop-down data type. The steps below will get you there quickly.

One symbol of checkbox, one symbol of empty box
Two symbols for check boxes

Video explanation

Note that this video discusses both dropdowns and checkboxes.

First Step – Data Validation

Click on the Data menu option and then Data Validation.

Data validation menu option
Menu option for Data validation

Once the Data validation window pops up, choose List of items from the criteria drop-down box.

List of items option from drop down box
Choose list of items

Pick from a few different symbols

Copy and paste the two checkmark symbols below. These will be the two options that show in the drop-down list. If you would like other symbols, consider using the Insert Special Characters add-on for Google Sheets. Below are two easy, intuitive symbols.


Following are more options you can use. Note that you can have the user click a checkmark for yes, and leave the drop-down empty for no if you want to just use a checkmark not the empty box.


End result

Keep the rest of the options at their defaults and choose save. You now have a check box!

Check box drop down
Check box drop down

 Live examples in Sheets

Go to this spreadsheet for examples of checkboxes that you can study and use anywhere you would like.

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