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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Excel Tip: Add a simple tick box to your spreadsheet - and use its result!

Do you ever wonder how you get those professional looking tick boxes (or check boxes) in your spreadsheet?

They're easier to add than you think, and it's pretty straight-forward to have calculations depend on the result of the tick box.

In this post, I'll show you how to do both.

Before you can add a tick box, you need the Developer Ribbon enabled. If you don't see it as one of the named Ribbons at the top of Excel, then you can add it by selecting File - Options - Customize Ribbon and then ticking Developer in the list of Main Tabs on the right-hand side.

To insert a tick box, go to the Developer ribbon and click Insert in the drop-down menu that appears, click the Check Box (Form Control) icon. This is the tick box under the heading Form Controls - if you hover over it you will see the name "Check Box (Form Control)" appear.

Your cursor will become a cross and you can now click where you want the tick box to appear.

The box will appear with some default text to the right of it (this will usually be Check Box 1 if this is the first one that you have inserted into the spreadsheet. This text can be edited (or deleted) by double-clicking on the text and editing or deleting as required.

This is your tick box created and you can now click it to toggle between ticked and unticked.

However, I did say that I would show you how to use the result of the tick box.

If you right-click on the tick box you will see the menu option "Format Control". Click on this and go to the Control tab.

You will see a box entitled Cell Link. Enter a cell reference here, where you wish to store the result of the tick box (let's say C3). Now when you click the tick box, cell C3 will switch to show TRUE, and when you untick the tick box, C3 will show FALSE.

You can then use cell C3 in a formula. The most common way to use it would be as the criteria argument of an IF function. As C3 contains the logical value TRUE or FALSE, then this is all you need as your criteria argument, so:

=IF(C3,100,0)

will return the value 100 if the tick box is ticked, or 0 if not.

It's as simple as that!

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