15 Ways to Add Checkmarks in Microsoft Excel

2021-08-06

Check marks or tick marks can help add a visual indicator to your spreadsheets.

You might use them to indicate a task has been completed or a quality control test has passed.

In this post, I will show you 15 ways to add checkmarks into your Microsoft Excel workbooks.

Whatever your use case, there is sure to be a method that will work for you!

Video Tutorial

Insert a Checkmark Symbol

You can insert a checkmark from the Insert tab in the ribbon using the Symbol command.

This seems like the obvious place to add a checkmark if there is one to be found in Excel.

But there’s a catch!

The checkmark is hard to find and you might give up before you can locate it if you don’t know the trick.

Select a cell in your workbook where you want to add a checkmark or tickmark then go to the Insert tab and press the Symbol command.

This will open up the Symbol dialog box and a long list of symbols will be presented, but you will not find a checkmark in the hundreds of options presented in the default font.

  1. Select Wingdings in the Font dropdown list.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the listed icons and you will be able to choose from two different checkmark options. Left click on either one to select it. It will be highlighted in blue once selected.
  3. Press the Insert button to add this into your worksheet.

This will add the check mark or tick mark into the cell, but notice this is a ANSI character formatted as a check and not a checkmark character.

This means if you want to add more text into the cell, then you need to change part of the cell’s font formatting in order for it to display as normal text.

Highlight part of the text in the formula bar and go to the Home tab and change the font from Wingdings to a normal font like Calibri.

The ü character will still be formatted as Wingdings and display as a check mark but the remaining text will be readable normal text.

Add Checkmark Bullet Points

Did you know you can use bullet points in Excel?

Well, you can but they are only available in the Text Box Shape and not inside a cell.

First you will need to add a text box shape into Excel.

  1. Go to the Insert tab.
  2. Click on the Shapes button.
  3. Choose the Text Box shape. Only the text box shape will have the bullet point option.
  4. When you hover the mouse cursor over the grid, it will show as an inverted cross. Left click and drag to draw the text box shape in the grid.

Now you will be able to add check mark or tick mark bullet points into the shape to make fancy looking lists.

  1. Right click on the shape.
  2. Choose Bullets from the menu options.
  3. Select the checkmark bullet option.

Now each item you add to the bullet point list, it will have a check mark next to it!

Insert a Checkmark Symbol with a Keyboard Shortcut

If you want a slightly quicker way to enter the check symbol rather than going through the symbols menu you can use a keyboard shortcut instead.

To add the plain check mark, press and hold the Alt key then press 0252 on a number keypad then release the Alt key.

To add the check mark with a box, press and hold the Alt key then press 0254 on a number keypad then release the Alt key.

There are two things to note with this method.

  • You will need to use a dedicated number pad on your keyboard as the using the row of numbers just above the letters will not work.
  • You are entering the unicode ü or þ characters with these shortcuts and you will need to change the font format to Wingdings for either to display as a tickmark.

Create a Checkmark with the CHAR Function

That’s right, you can use an Excel function to produce a checkmark!

The CHAR function can be used to return an ANSI character based on a given number between 1 and 255.

= CHAR ( 252 )

The above formula will return the ü character which can then be formatted into a checkmark by changing the cell font to Wingdings.

= CHAR ( 254 )

Similarly, the above formula can be used to get the box with checkmark.

Note you need to format the font as Wingdings.

Create a Checkmark with the UNICHAR Function

There is another Excel function you can use to create check mark characters and this time you don’t need to format the font.

The UNICHAR function takes an integer number greater than or equal to 1 and returns the corresponding Unicode character.

= UNICHAR ( 9745 )
= UNICHAR ( 9989 )
= UNICHAR ( 10003 )
= UNICHAR ( 10004 )

Use any of the above formula to create a checkmark character.

Copy and Paste a Checkmark from the Web

Searching the web for the term checkmark will return loads of results and you can just copy any of the checkmarks you find and paste them into Excel.

✓✔☑✅

You can copy and paste any of the above checkmarks into Excel if you don’t want to do another web search.

Use the Emoji Keyboard to Insert a Checkmark

This method can be used in any application including Excel but only if you are using Windows and have a dedicated Windows key on your keyboard.

Press and hold the Windows key then press the Period (.) key to open the Emoji keyboard.

Type the word check and it will search and show all the checkmark emoji’s and you can click on any of them to enter it in your spreadsheet.

Warning once you learn this, you will probably be using it all the time and not just in Excel 🤣

Insert a Checkmark with AutoCorrect

If you are going to be using check marks a lot in Excel, then creating an autocorrect shortcut might be the easiest way.

This will allow you to choose a keyword that will automatically change to a check or tick mark once you type it.

  1. Go to the File tab.
  2. Select Options from the backstage menu.
  3. Select Proofing in the Excel Options dialog box.
  4. Press the AutoCorrect Options button.
  5. Enter a bit of text in the Replace field that Excel will autocorrect. You should choose something like chck here so that when you actually want to use the word check, it won’t get corrected.
  6. Paste in your favourite checkmark character in the With field. This is what your text will get replaced with.
  7. Press the Add button to add this autocorrect rule.
  8. Press the OK button in the AutoCorrect menu.
  9. Press the OK button in the Excel Options menu.

Now when you type chck into a cell and press enter it will automatically get changed into a checkmark character.

Note this is an application level setting, so you only need to add this autocorrect rule once and it will work in any spreadsheet you open.

Draw a Check Mark

Are you an artist and an Excel user?

Then this method is for you!

Excel has a whole host of drawing tools and you can use them to draw your own check marks.

  1. Go to the Draw tab.
  2. Click on one of the pens to select it for use. Click on it a second time if you want to customize things like the thickness or colour of the pen.
  3. Draw your check mark in the Excel sheet.

Note this will create an object that overlays the sheet and does not allow you to add a check inside the cell.

You can then manipulate this checkmark object like any other shape or picture that sits on top of the grid once you have selected it.

  1. Use the circular arrow to rotate the checkmark.
  2. Use any of the six resize handles (dots around the object) to resize the checkmark.
  3. Use the four way arrow to move the checkmark around the sheet.

Insert a 3D Model Checkmark

You have probably never used this Excel feature before, but it will allow you can add 3D model of a checkmark inside Excel!

  1. Go to the Insert tab.
  2. Press the 3D Model button in the Illustrations section of the ribbon.
  3. Type checkmark in the search box and press Enter.
  4. Select the checkmark.
  5. Press the Insert button.

You will now have a 3D checkmark object which you can rotate to see the 3D effect. Click and drag the icon in the middle to rotate the object about its three dimensions.

Insert a Checkmark Icon

Icons are a newer feature in Excel for Microsoft 365, so you might not know about them. There are a few nice check mark and tick mark icons available for use.

Add a check or tick mark icon.

  1. Go to the Insert tab.
  2. Click on the Icons command in the Illustration section of the ribbon.
  3. Type check into the search bar.
  4. Select one or more of the available checkmark icons.
  5. Press the Insert button.

This will add the icons into your workbook layered just above the grid.

You can change the colour of the icons by going to the Graphics Format tab.

Insert a Checkmark Shape

Shapes are another way to potentially insert a checkmark in Excel.

You need to get a bit creative though, as there isn’t a checkmark shape.

You can use the L Shape and give it a bit of rotation to look like a checkmark.

  1. Go to the Insert tab.
  2. Click on the Shapes command.
  3. Choose the L shape.
  4. Draw out the L shape in the sheet by with a left click and drag.

Make sure there is a short and long part of the L.

Now you can use the rotation handle and give the L shape a slight rotation so it looks like a checkmark.

Once it’s positioned like a checkmark, you can customize it further by going to the Shape Format tab and selecting one of the predefined Shape Styles or changing the Shape Fill and Shape Outline colours.

Insert a Picture of a Checkmark

A picture is worth a thousand words, so a picture of a checkmark should be worth at least a thousand checkmark characters. Right?

Go to the Insert tab and click on the Pictures command then choose to insert a picture from This Device.

This will open a file picker menu and you can choose any checkmark picture to want from your computer files.

You’ll be able to insert a wide variety of check mark styles with this method!

Take a Screen Shot of a Checkmark

This option is pretty similar to adding a picture except the picture you add is from a screen clipping.

This might be a great option if the checkmark image you want is in a PDF file and you’re unable to extract it or if it’s on the web and you’re unable to download it.

  1. Go to the Insert tab.
  2. Click on the Screenshot command.
  3. Choose Screen Clipping.

You will enter a screen shot mode where you can click and drag a cross-hair cursor to clip the screen. The results will be added into your workbook.

Insert a Root Symbol with Equations

The root symbol in math kind of looks like a check mark, so why not use it as one?

Go to the Insert tab and click on the Equation command in the Symbols section.

Select the Square Root symbol from the Equation tab and you now have something that looks quite like a check mark.

Conclusion

There are a lot of ways to insert a check or tick mark into Excel.

Some are more useful than others for sure, but hopefully they will all give you ideas you can use.

Lots of methods can be used for more than just a check. So whatever symbol you need, try one of these techniques.

Do you have a method I missed? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the post.

Done ✅

About the Author

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

John is a Microsoft MVP and freelance consultant and trainer specializing in Excel, Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps and SharePoint. You can find other interesting articles from John on his blog or YouTube channel.

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