How To Make A Checklist In Excel In 5 Easy Steps
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How To Make A Checklist In Excel In 5 Easy Steps

Jitesh Patil Jitesh Patil Last Updated:
Illustration of a person wearing a shirt with the Excel logo and holding a checklist.

Whether it’s a grocery list or your daily task list at work, a checklist ensures that you get everything done.

And while there are a number of native and online checklist apps as well as templates that you can use to manage your work, you can easily create one using everyday tools like Microsoft Excel. And that’s what you’ll learn today:

Let’s dive in.

How to create a checklist in Excel

Unlike Microsoft Word, Excel has had form controls right from the 2007 version. So the steps below work for both—Excel 2007 and 2010.

1. Enable the Developer menu

In Excel, you can insert a checkbox control from the Developer menu. However, this menu isn’t enabled by default.

How to enable the Develop tab in Excel

You can enable the Developer menu in Excel 2010 with the following steps:

  • Open the Excel Options dialog box by navigating to File → Options.
  • Click on the Customize Ribbon option.
  • Check the Developer checkbox in the Main Tabs control.

In Excel 2007:

How to enable the Developer tab in Excel 2007
  • Open the Excel Options dialog box by clicking on the Microsoft Office button → Excel Options.
  • Click on the Popular option.
  • Check the Show Developer tab in the Ribbon checkbox.

2. Add your checklist items

Next, begin your checklist by adding items to it.

Add checklist items in Excel

You can easily add new items, update an item, or remove items from the checklist. Plus, you can reorder the items by dragging and dropping the rows in the Excel spreadsheet. 

3. Insert checkboxes next to the items

The checkbox next to a list item is what makes your checklist actionable.

Insert a checkbox control next to each checklist item

To add a checkbox:

  • Navigate to the Developer tab in the spreadsheet’s Ribbon menu.
  • Next, click on the Insert dropdown menu.
  • Finally, click on the checkbox to insert it into a cell next to a list item.

Alternatively, you can also use the radio button control.

The checkbox control comes with its own label attached. This is useful for simple checklists. Alternatively, you can also delete the label text and display just a checkbox control.

Finally, copy and paste the checkbox control across all the list items. As an alternative, you can also use the Excel Fill Handle to drag and fill the checkbox across all list items. 

4. Make your checkbox look good

This step is optional. But sometimes you may want your checkbox to have a different size or color. 

Format the checkbox control appearance

To change the checkbox appearance:

  • Right-click on the checkbox and open the Format Control dialog box.
  • On the dialog box you can change the following properties of the checkbox control:
    • Colors and line styles
    • Size (height and width)
    • The default state—checked, unchecked, or mixed
    • And more

5. Run through your checklist

Finally, it’s time to run through your checklist.

Mark checklist items done

You can either print the checklist and use your pen or alternatively click on the checkbox to mark the items done.

Excel checklist templates

If you want to use a readymade checklist template for Excel, you have a number of options available on the internet.

Here are two of my favorite ones:

Cheery Checklist Template

Cheery Checklist Template for Excel

This flexible, colorful Excel checklist template is available on Etsy for $11.80. 

It comes with five colorful checklists, one for a project. You can edit the titles of these checklists. And, each checklist has 24 to-do items.

It works with Excel 2010 or newer on PC and the 2016+ versions on Mac.

Free Daily Checklist

Daily Checklist Template for Excel

This Daily Checklist template for Excel is available for free along with 30 other templates.

It comes with three sections to prioritize your to-do items—Must get done, Try to get done, and eventually get done.

Each section can hold up to 24 to-do items.

Pros and cons of Excel checklists

Excel checklists are great if you want something quick and cheap. Plus, everyone has access and knows how to use it. 

However, there are some serious drawbacks as well:

  • Collaboration is hard. Sharing a copy of the file with your team and then recompiling it every time can quickly get tiring.
  • Anyone can mark a list item done. So keeping track of who’s updating what can become impossible.
  • No way to add more details to a to-do item. You cannot attach files or provide feedback.

How do you get around this, particularly for teams?

By using one of the many checklist apps available today. These online apps make it easy to plan, track, and manage all your work tasks along with your team.

Toggl Plan is one such app. It’s a beautifully simple work management tool that makes planning and tracking tasks easy. 

Add task details and attach a checklist to tasks in Toggl Plan
Add task details and attach a checklist to tasks in Toggl Plan

You can add task details, attach files, and add feedback comments right on the task. Plus you can attach a checklist to a task to ensure that each task gets done according to the expected quality.

Best of all you can plan tasks on a timeline and quickly detect scheduling conflicts if any.

Try Toggl Plan for free today

Jitesh Patil

Jitesh is a Content Marketing Manager at Toggl. He's passionate about helping teams plan, organize, and deliver their projects productively. When he's not thinking about project management, content, and SEO, Jitesh loves cooking and playing cricket.

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