Have you ever prepared a checklist in Excel?Check marks in Excel

Checklists bring you the winning feeling of having accomplished a task when you tick mark a task.

And at the same time, when a task is cross-marked, something continues to ting your being about an undone task.

The utility of checklists comes from the check marks that you can put against different items in them.

Although we have outgrown the times of preparing checklists in a hard form, they continue to be a substantial part of our busy schedule management.

Making a checklist in Excel is way more convenient than any other hand-written checklist for you can access an Excel checklist anytime, anywhere.

Not to forget, you can readily edit it for any changes whenever you want to.

However, how can you add check marks to your checklist or any other file in Excel?

We don’t readily see any options for adding checkmarks in Excel. But to your wonder, Excel offers a variety of ways to add Checkmarks. Continue reading the article below to learn what are check marks and how can they be accessed in Excel!

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Check Mark v/s. Check Box

Before we delineate different methods for adding checkboxes in Excel, let’s make sure we are clear on the difference between a checkmark and a check box.


Check Boxes:

We all fill out forms in day to day life. These forms are densely populated with small boxes that require us to check in with a check mark if we want to choose that option.

These small boxes are known as checkboxes. They are also known as checkmark boxes or tick boxes. Take a glance below to recall what they look like.



Broadly, there are two kinds of checkboxes in Excel. A checkmark could be a simple ‘empty square’ or an interactive checkbox. A check box allows users to check it to select an option by clicking on it.

Upon clicking it, a tick symbol is added to the check box. There are many ways how you can insert checkboxes in Excel.


Check Marks:

Check mark, whereas, is used to denote a tick symbol. Check marks are often used in combination with checkboxes, as shown above. Mostly checklists, survey forms, and other documents will include a checkbox for users to add a checkmark to each checkbox.

This article includes all details on how you can add check marks into excel. Take a look below to see what a check mark looks like.



Take a look into Multi Cell and Single Cell formulas here.


Inserting A Check Mark – Copy Paste

There are several ways how you may add check marks in Excel. But what’s easier than simply copy-pasting it?

Don’t go any further to find yourself a check mark – here it is.

To add check marks to any of your excel files, simply:

  • Select the check mark above.
  • Copy it using ‘Ctrl + C’, or Right Click it and click Copy!
  • Go to the destination excel sheet and paste it into the desired cell using ‘Ctrl + V’, or Right Click and hit Paste.


Inserting A Check Mark – Keyboard Shortcuts

There are many variations to the appearance of a check mark that Excel has to offer. It can be a simple tick/cross symbol or an encircled tick/cross symbol, or a tick/cross symbol enclosed in a square.

Without having to put in a lot of effort, you can add check marks to your Excel sheets simply by using some smart keyboard shortcuts. To do so, you need to set the font style to either of the font styles listed below.

  • Wingdings 2
  • Webdings

Each of the above font styles offers a different kind of variation to the appearance of tick/cross symbols. The table below summarizes all the shortcuts that you need to know to add different kinds of check marks in Excel.


Wingdings 2:

Windings Table

Adding check marks in Excel through Windings 2



Webdings table

Adding check marks in Excel through Webdings


Excels filter function is one of the most commonly used functions of Excel, learn about it here.


Inserting A Check Mark – Symbols Dialog Box

The built-in function offered by Excel for inserting checkmarks often goes neglected. One of the most common and straightforward ways of adding checkmarks in Excel is through the Symbols Dialogue Box.

To add Check marks in Excel using the Symbols Dialogue Box, the following steps need to be followed.


Step 1:

Activate the cell where you want the symbol inserted.


Step 2:

To insert the symbol, go to Insert Tab > Symbols > Symbols.


Accessing the Symbol Dialogue Box on the Insert Tab

The Symbol Dialogue Box


Step 3:

The Symbol Dialogue Box offers a wide variety of symbols that you can add to your Excel sheet. However, to get each particular symbol, a specific font needs to be selected.

Tick :

To get a tick from the Symbols, select the font as ‘Segoe UI Symbol’ from the font options. From the list of symbols that then appears, scroll to find a tick symbol.

Once found, select it and click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Close’ to have it added to your Excel sheet.


Cross :

To get a cross from the Symbols, select the font as ‘Segoe UI Symbol’ from the font options. From the list of symbols that then appears, scroll to find a cross symbol.

Once found, select it and click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Close’ to have it added to your Excel sheet.


This method allows users to add checkmarks in Excel in both, an empty and an occupied cell. It also allows users to add multiple checkmarks to a single cell.

For instance, using the method above, you can add checkmarks to both the cells as shown below.

Adding checkmarks in both empty and occupied cells


This option may not be available with other methods that only allow adding checkmarks to an empty cell.



The font style ‘Segoe UI Symbol’ offers different styles for tick and cross-check marks. These include simple tick mark symbols and square-enclosed tick marks. Other styles for the same symbols can be found using different font styles, for example, Wingdings.


Pro Tip:

For every selected symbol, there appears a distinct character code at the right bottom of the Symbol Dialogue Box.


Unique character code for each symbol


Do take note of these character codes, as they’d help you add the same symbols through a formula. Keep calm until we learn how to do so in the later sections of this article.

Want a better view of your data? Try freezing the panes that contain headers. Learn all about freezing panes in Excel by clicking here.


Inserting A Check Mark – Using the CHAR Formula

If you are a regular Excel user, you’d know how better it feels to keep working with the keyboard without having to make much use of the cursor.

To add checkmarks to Excel using the keyboard, in addition to keyboard shortcuts, you can also use the CHAR function.

While we discussed the use of Symbols Dialogue Box for adding checkmarks in Excel, we noted there was a character code for each symbol. It is time to make use of this character code.


The CHAR Function

To do so, let’s learn what the CHAR function is about.



= CHAR (number)

The number in the above formula can be any character code between 1 to 255.


Return Value

Applying the above CHAR Function, Excel returns the symbol represented by the character code.

The common character codes to add check marks in Excel are as follows.

CHAR Function Table


Adding checkmarks to Excel using character codes is pretty simple. To add a checkmark to a particular cell, select the designated cell to activate it and enter the relevant CHAR formula to the cell.

Adding checkmarks using the CHAR Formula


Applying the CHAR formula in Excel, the results are as follows.

Checkmarks in Excel through the CHAR formula


Pro Tip:

This method of adding check marks can only work with empty cells and not with cells already having values.

If you want to add check marks to an already occupied cell, you may do it through the Symbol Dialogue Box method explained above.


This has to be noted that to obtain symbols in Excel, the font style on the selected cells must be chosen as Wingdings.


Inserting A Check Mark – Autocorrect

This option will suit you the best if you get to use tick marks regularly.

For instance, a teacher who often has to mark the results of his / her students and has to use plenty of check marks.

Using either of the methods above repetitively might cause you undue time and effort.

What if you set up a shortcut that will add check marks to Excel every time and any time needed? This can be done using the AutoCorrect function.

How can we do this? Take a look  at the Gif below to learn how!


Step 1:

The first step is to obtain a checkmark in Excel – this can be done using any of the methods elaborated above.

Adding a checkmark in Excel


In the image above, we have added a checkmark in Excel using the Symbols Dialogue Box. It is to be noted that the font style is set to Wingdings.

Moreover, the formula bar shows a ‘ü’ symbol. This is the character fed into Excel, upon which when the Wingdings font is applied, Excel turns it into a tick symbol.

The font under which this symbol appears as a tick symbol i.e. Wingdings must be remembered as we will need this later.


Step 2:

The next step is to copy this character ‘ü’ from the formula bar to set it up as an AutoCorrect Option.


Step 3:

With the above-said character copied, go to File > Options > Proofing > Auto Correct Options as shown below.

Accessing AutoCorrect Options in Excel


Clicking in Auto Correct will open up the AutoCorrect window as follows.

Auto Correct Window


Step 4:

From the Auto Correct Window, populate the ‘Replace’ option with any keyword that you want replaced with a checkmark.

For instance, if you want Excel to add a checkmark to a cell every time you add a particular word to a cell. This could be any sequence of letters or numbers.

In the example below, we have used the word ‘CMARK’ as the subject keyword. This means, every time you input the word CMARK in Excel, it would be replaced with a check mark.

Next, populate the ‘With’ option with the symbol for the check mark that we copied in the previous step i.e. ü.

Populating options under the Auto Correct Window


Doing so, every time you enter CMARK in any cell, Excel would replace it with an ü sign. Once the options are set up, click ‘Add’ and ‘Okay’.


Step 5:

Technically, we are all done, and now is the show time. To make this Auto Correct option work, go to Excel, activate any cell, and type the keyword set up earlier i.e. CMARK.

Inputting the keyword in Excel


Press enter to have a tick mark entered into the cell as follows.

Excel turns the keyword into a checkmark


Pro Tip:

If instead of a check mark, as shown above, Excel returns the following error, you must be doing some mistake.


Excel returns the #NAME! error


This is particularly because the font applied to the designated cell is not right.

Excel would only turn the keyword (i.e. the underlying symbol) into a check mark if the relevant font is applied to the cell. In this case, make sure your font is Wingdings.

If not, consider changing it to Wingdings and the #NAME! error would be replaced by the checkmark.


Inserting A Check Mark – Conditional Formatting

No end to the ways of adding checkmarks in Excel and here we have yet another one.

The very famous conditional formatting function of Excel guides the behavior of different cells that meet a specified condition. Using the same function, you can also conditionally add checkmarks to Excel.

Consider the data in the example below.

Marks of different students


The data in the image above represents the marks of different students. Let’s assume the passing marks are 500.

Now, it might be difficult to readily visualize the data to identify students who have passed or have not passed.

To make the data easier to study, you may apply conditional formatting to it.

Under conditional formatting, all those students who have passed (i.e. scored marks more than 500) will have a tick mark adjacent to their names.

Similarly, those students who have failed may have a cross symbol adjacent to their names.


To add checkmarks to Excel using conditional formatting, follow the steps below.


Step 1:

Select the cell range where the marks are populated and go to:

Home Tab > Styles > Conditional Formatting > Manage Rule


Accessing the Conditional Formatting rule from the home tab


This will open up the ‘Manage Rule’ window as shown below.

The ‘Manage Rule’ window


Step 2:

From the manage rule window, select ‘New Rule’ as shown above. This will open a window for you to set up a rule as shown below.

The ‘New Rule’ window


From the window above, under the Format Style, select ‘Icon Sets’. Under Icon Style, select checkmark icons like cross, tick, and exclamation mark.

Before moving forward, select the type as ‘Number’. This is because we will set up the rules against the value of 500.

Against the value, populate the value based on which icons are to be added. In our example, this value is 500.

Setting up the rules


Under the Icon, select a tick icon for ‘value >’ (value more than) and a cross icon for ‘value <’ (value less than), as shown above. For ‘value < 0’ you may select ‘No Cell Icon’


Step 3:

After the rules are set, click ‘okay’. This will add the rule to the ‘Manage Rules’ window, as shown below.

New rule added to the manage rules window


Select this rule and click ‘Okay’ to apply the rule to the selected cells. Excel will apply the rule to the selected cells, and icons will be added as shown below.

Icons added to Excel


Paying close attention to the icons will make you learn that Excel has added a tick icon to all the values exceeding 500 and a cross icon adjacent to all the values less than 500.


Pro Tip:

If you do not want icons to come parallel to the values but individually in cells in place of the values, this can be set up in the rule as follows.


The option for 'Show Icon only'


The results of checking this option are as follows:

Values substituted by Icons


Formatting a Check Mark

Who said a checkmark is only supposed to be a tick or cross in monochrome tones.

You can turn your checkmarks into colorful icons by exploring the formatting options offered by Excel.

There are several ways how you can format a checkmark in Excel – check out these below!


1.      Check Mark Color

There’s a general notion of positives going green and negatives going red. Similarly, a tick mark doesn’t feel like a tick till it’s vibrant and green.  And a cross mark might not be alerting enough till it’s red and sharp.

In Excel, after you’ve added check marks, you can format them to different colors as you may like, and doing so is simple.

All you need to do is, select the cell containing the relevant check mark and go to:

Home Tab > Font > Font Color


From the various font color option offered by Excel, choose the desired color, and the same would be applied to the contents of the selected cell.

Changing the font color of checkmarks in Excel


Pro Tip!

What if you have multiple check marks in a cell? Is it possible to apply a different font color to each check mark? The answer is yes.

However, to do so, you do not have to select the entire cell containing the checkmark, as this would extend the font color to all the check marks in the cell.

Instead, click on the cell containing the checkmarks to activate it.

Once activated go to the formula bar and select the characters for the checkmarks that you want to be colored. With them selected, choose the desired font color from the Font tab.


Excel would change the color of the selected check mark only. Here’s a short tutorial to help you do so.

Changing the font color of individual checkmarks in a cell


2.      Bolden up

To add more expression to your work, it might be important to bolden up the checkmarks. To bolden the checkmarks in Excel, follow the steps below:

    1. Select the cell containing the checkmark.
    2. Go to Home Tab > Font > Bold Icon.
    3. Alternatively, select the cell containing the checkmark and press ‘Ctrl + B’

Boldening the checkmarks in Excel


Pro Tip:

To bolden only a few check marks from a cell and not whole of the contents of a cell, select that particular character/checkmark and press ‘Ctrl + B’.


3.      Other formatting options

Less commonly used, but you may opt for other formatting options to enhance the appearance of your check marks in Excel.

These options include underlining, italics, highlighting the cell containing the checkmark, or adding borders to the cell. All of these options are readily accessible under the Font Tab from the Home Group.

Applying other formatting options to checkmarks in Excel


Counting Check Marks in Excel

Revising our previous knowledge of the COUNTIF function, you’d remember counting cells that contain a specific value is a simple thing.

For example, doing some quick revision of how the COUNTIF function works, let’s say we want to count the number of 2s that appear in the below data set.

Data in Excel


To count the number of times 2 appears in the above data set, we applied the COUNTIF function as = COUNTIF (A1:A11, 2).

Doing so, Excel yields the number of times 2 appears in the defined range of cell A1:A11 as follows.

Excel computes the number of times 2 appears using COUNTIF


Seamless enough, no? Tap here to learn everything about how the COUNTIF function in Excel works if you need more of a refresher!

Counting checkmarks in Excel is equally easy using the CHAR formula as the criterion. For instance, take a look at the data below.

The details of different students who have passed/failed


In the image above, students who have passed have a tick symbol, and those who have failed, have a cross symbol adjacent to their name.

To find out how many students have passed and how many have failed, we can apply the COUNTIF function to count the number of tick symbols and cross symbols.

But before we do that, it is important to know how we have created these checkmarks.

Checkmarks added to Excel using the CHAR function


The above checkmarks are added using the CHAR formula. So, to count these checkmarks, the COUNTIF formula will be set up as follows.


To count tick marks:

= COUNTIF(B2:B10, CHAR (252))

To count cross marks:

= COUNTIF(B2:B10, CHAR (251))


This is because the character code for both, the said marks differs and the formula to be nested in COUNTIF will vary accordingly.

The first argument i.e. B2:B10 is set as it represents the range where the checkmarks are placed.

Time to see the COUNTIF function in action:

Excel counts the number of tick marks in the defined range


Excel has counted the tick marks in the data to be 4 using the COUNTIF Function. This ultimately means that 4 out of the total students have passed.

Excel counts the number of cross marks in the defined range


Excel has counted the cross marks in the data to be 4 using the COUNTIF Function. This ultimately means that 4 out of the total students have failed.

Here is a quick tutorial on how you can count check marks in Excel using the COUNTIF function.

Counting the number of check marks in Excel using the COUNTIF function


Pro Tip:

Counting check marks in Excel is super easy and straightforward. However, the method above has a few limitations that you must bear in mind.

The COUNTIF function will only enable check mark counting for check marks that have a specific character code. As the CHAR function only works for those check marks that have a specific character code.



Without a doubt, adding checkmarks in Excel is a child’s play. However, even then there are chances of things not going as expected. If you are facing issues with inserting check marks in Excel, check for the following issues:


·        Inappropriate Font

After we have discussed several methods of adding check marks in Excel, you’d know how important the font type is to get the desired check marks in Excel.

For instance, if you are inputting = CHAR (252) and instead of a tick mark, Excel returns the character ‘ü’, you are probably going wrong with the font type.

To fix the said issue, select the relevant cell and change the font type to ‘Wingdings’.

Using the appropriate font type for check marks


·        Vacant Cells

Some methods of inserting check marks in Excel like the CHAR formula, and the Autocorrect option will not work if you already have some data in the destination cell.

If you want to add check marks to a cell alongside some other data, the appropriate method is of the Symbol Dialogue box or copy-pasting in the formula bar. Take a look below.

Inserting check marks alongside other data in a cell



You’d often come across a variety of documents that would have colorful check marks. However, gone is the time when you’d keep wondering how are check marks inserted.

The above article comprehensively explains all the possible ways of inserting and formatting check marks in Excel. You can bring the above information to use in several ways, for example in reports, result cards, forecasts, financials, etc.

Better and advised to pick up a few examples from above and practice the same. Happy Excel learning