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Conditional Formatting a Checkbox in Google Sheets [2024 Update]

May 8, 2024

In this article we will show you how to apply conditional formatting to a checkbox and how we can use this to create data that is more user friendly and responsive.

If you would like to know more about general information regarding conditional formatting, check out our article here:

When Should you use Conditional Formatting with Checkboxes?

Conditional formatting is a great way to make checkboxes easier to understand. As an example, data can be made green when a checkbox is checked and red when it is unchecked.

How to use Conditional Format on a Checkbox Cell

For the examples in this article a sample sheet was created, follow along by clicking here to access the sample sheet.

Example

Step 1: Select the checkbox cell range

Select the range of checkbox cells to be included in the conditional format.

Google Sheets conditional formatting checkbox

Step 2: Select Format > Conditional formatting

With the range highlighted from the top toolbar select Format, then select Conditional formatting from the format menu.

Google Sheets conditional formatting checkbox: Formatting menu

Step 3: Change the format rules

You will now see a pop up menu appear on the right hand side called Conditional format rules.

Google Sheets conditional formatting checkbox: Format rules

In the Format rules  select the drop down menu labelled “Format cells if…” be sure to change this from Is not empty to Text is exactly. This will show a new Value box underneath this menu. Enter TRUE. When a checkbox cell state is checked the cell value is set to TRUE and FALSE if not checked. We can utilize these parameters.

Google Sheets conditional formatting checkbox: Rules and style

Next change the cell fill color to your desired color choice using the color fill tool in the Formatting style options. Here you can also change the text to an array of options including bold, italic, underlined, strikethrough or text color. 

For this example we will choose the cell fill color to Green.

Google Sheets conditional formatting checkbox: Color fill

Step 4: Select Done to see the results

Select Done in the Conditional format rules, this will now apply your chosen specifications.

Google Sheets conditional formatting checkbox: Results

How to use conditional formatting with checkboxes in Google Sheets?

Example: Create a to-do list

In this example we will create a responsive to-do list. 

Step 1: Select the data range

Select the range of data you want to apply the conditional formatting to. In our example we will be selecting the item cells but we can include the full row by highlighting both columns at this step.

How to use conditional formatting with checkboxes Google Sheets

Step 2: Select Format > Conditional formatting

From the main toolbar select Format followed by Conditional formatting

How to use conditional formatting with checkboxes Google Sheets: Format menu

Step 3: Set Format rules to Custom Formula is

A menu will now appear to the right called Conditional format rules, select the drop down menu underneath the “format cells if …” label in Format rules. At the bottom of the drop down menu you will see the option for Custom formula is. Click on this option.

How to use conditional formatting with checkboxes Google Sheets: Custom formula

Step 4: Enter the custom formula and formatting style

When the Custom formula is selected, a new input box will appear below prompting for a value or formula, enter the formula:

=$ followed by the first checkbox cell. This will apply to the other cells in the column.

For our example this will be =$G4

We are then able to format the style of the text. We will apply the Strike-through format to our text.

How to use conditional formatting with checkboxes Google Sheets: Style

Step 5: Select done to see your results

Select Done, you can now test the results and see that when checkbox status is set to checked the item cell fills in green and the text the strike-through is applied.

How to use conditional formatting with checkboxes Google Sheets: Results

Conclusion and Sample Sheet

In this article we have demonstrated different ways in which we can apply conditional formats to checkboxes to make spreadsheets more dynamic and responsive. 

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our article on how to copy and paste conditional formatting in Google Sheets or our article on how to use the Google Sheets conditional formatting custom formula. 

If you want to learn how to link an email in Google Sheets, we also suggest checking out our detailed guide.

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