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You can insert form controls such as check boxes or option buttons to make data entry easier. Check boxes work well for forms with multiple options. Option buttons are better when your user has just one choice.

Sample check boxes Sample radio button controls

To add either a check box or an option button, you’ll need the Developer tab on your Ribbon.

  1. To add a check box, select the Developer tab, select Insert, and under Form Controls, select  Button image.

    the check box control on the ribbon

    To add an option button, select the Developer tab, select Insert, and under Form Controls, select  Button image.

    the radio button control on the ribbon

  2. Click in the cell where you want to add the check box or option button control.

    Tip: You can add only one checkbox or option button at a time. To speed things up, after you add your first control, right-click it and select Copy > Paste.

  3. To edit or remove the default text for a control, select the control, and then update the text as needed.

    edit text for a form control

Tip: If you can’t see all of the text, click and drag one of the control handles until you can read it all. The size of the control and its distance from the text can’t be edited.

Formatting a control

After you insert a check box or option button, you might want to make sure that it works the way you want it to. For example, you might want to customize the appearance or properties.

Note: The size of the option button inside the control and its distance from its associated text cannot be adjusted.

  1. To format a control, right-click the control, and then select Format Control.

    the Format Control dialog box options

  2. In the Format Control dialog box, on the Control tab, you can modify any of the available options:

    • Checked: Displays an option button that is selected.

    • Unchecked: Displays an option button that is cleared.

    • In the Cell link box, enter a cell reference that contains the current state of the option button.

      The linked cell returns the number of the selected option button in the group of options. Use the same linked cell for all options in a group. The first option button returns a 1, the second option button returns a 2, and so on. If you have two or more option groups on the same worksheet, use a different linked cell for each option group.

      Use the returned number in a formula to respond to the selected option.

      For example, a personnel form, with a Job type group box, contains two option buttons labeled Full-time and Part-time linked to cell C1. After a user selects one of the two options, the following formula in cell D1 evaluates to "Full-time" if the first option button is selected or "Part-time" if the second option button is selected.


      If you have three or more options to evaluate in the same group of options, you can use the CHOOSE or LOOKUP functions in a similar manner.

  3. Select OK.

Deleting a control

  • Right-click the control, and press DELETE.

Currently, you can't use check box controls in Excel for the web. If you're working in Excel for the web and you open a workbook that has check boxes or other controls (objects), you can't edit the workbook without removing these controls.

Important: If you see an "Edit in the browser?" or "Unsupported features" message and choose to edit the workbook in the browser anyway, all objects such as check boxes, combo boxes are lost immediately. If this happens and you want these objects back, use Previous Versions to restore an earlier version.

If you have the Excel desktop application, select Open in Excel and add check boxes or option buttons.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community or get support in Communities.

See Also

Add a check box, option, or Toggle button (ActiveX controls)

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