Categories
Microsoft Excel

6 Ways to Insert a Check Mark in Excel

A check mark (or tick symbol, if you’re British) is used to indicate that something is correct, a condition has been met, or a task has been completed. You can use check marks in Excel as a visual indicator.

Excel Courses: We offer Microsoft Excel training delivered online by a live instructor. Participants can connect from anywhere in Canada.

Check Mark or Check Box?

Before we look at how to insert a check mark in Excel, you should know that there are different ways to utilize check marks.

Check mark or check box?
Check mark or check box?

This image shows a check mark, which is the focus of this article. We’re going to look at a 6 different ways to insert a check mark into your spreadsheets.

It also shows an interactive check box, which is an Excel form control. This control isn’t displayed within a cell – it floats above a cell and needs to be manually positioned. We’ll talk about form controls in another article.

Without any further ado, fasten your seatbelts… here are 6 ways to insert a check mark in Excel!

1) The Symbol Dialog Box

The first way you can insert a check mark into your worksheet involves using the Symbol dialog box.

Step #1 – Select the cell where you’d like to insert a check mark.

Step #2 – Click the Symbol button in the Insert > Symbols group.

Symbol button
Symbol button

Step #3 – In the Symbol dialog box, verify that Wingdings is selected in the font: box, then scroll all of the way to the bottom of the list of symbols, click the check mark (or ‘x’) symbol you’d like to use, and click Insert.

Symbol dialog box with Wingdings selected
Symbol dialog box

Step #4 – Click Close.

Check mark symbol
Check mark symbol

Notice that after you close the Symbol dialog box, the cursor is still positioned in the selected cell. You can type additional text in that cell or simply press Enter to add the check mark and move to the next cell.

Once the check mark has been added to a cell, you can easily copy it to additional cells, like you would regular text, numbers, or formulas.

Checkmarks in a task list
Worksheet with status column

2) Keyboard Shortcuts

The second way you can insert a check mark in a cell is with keyboard shortcuts. Cells where you’d like check marks to be displayed need to be formatted with the Wingdings 2 font.

Here’s the process:

Step #1 – Drag to select the range of cells where check marks will be displayed.

Cells B2:B5 are selected

Step #2 – Click the Font down arrow in the Home > Font group and select Wingdings 2.

Wingdings 2 font selected
Wingdings 2 font selected

Step #3 – Select cell B2 and type Shift + P then press Enter.
A check mark is displayed in cell B2.

Check mark in cell B2
Check mark added with keyboard shortcut

The following table lists various keyboard shortcuts and the corresponding symbols you can use in your Excel worksheets.

Keyboard shortcuts and various check marks and X's
List of keyboard shortcuts

3) Character Codes

The third way to insert check marks involves using character codes.

I have to warn you about this method. You need a keyboard with a numeric keypad.

Many laptops have smaller keyboards. Some don’t let you enable the numeric keypad – your laptop might not even have one. If that’s the case, this method might be all that helpful.

Cells where check marks are going to be displayed need to be formatted with the Wingdings font (not Wingdings 2).

To add a check mark using a character code:

Step #1 – Drag to select the range of cells where check marks will be displayed.

Cells B2:B5 are selected

Step #2 – Click the Font down arrow in the Home > Font group and select Wingdings.

Wingdings font selected
Wingdings font selected

Step #3 – Select cell B2 then press ALT while you type 0252. Release ALT and press Enter.

Check mark in cell B2

The following table lists the character codes and corresponding symbols you can use in your Excel worksheets.

List of character codes and various check marks and X's
List of character codes

4) The CHAR Function

The fourth way you can insert a check mark into a worksheet involves using the CHAR function. The CHAR function returns a single character when you supply a valid numeric character code.

Like the previous method, when you’re using character codes, you need to format cells where check marks will be displayed with the Wingdings font.

Syntax

=CHAR(number)

number is a number between 0 and 255

Example

Here is how to insert a check mark using the CHAR function.

Step #1 – Drag to select the range of cells where check marks will be displayed.

Cells C4:C8 selected

Step #2 – Click the Font down arrow in the Home > Font group and select Wingdings.

Wingdings font selected
Wingdings font selected

Step #3 – Select cell C4 and type =CHAR(252) then press Enter.

Checkmark in cell C4

The following table lists the CHAR functions and corresponding symbols you can use in your Excel worksheets.

List of CHAR functions and various check marks and X's
List of CHAR functions

Combining the CHAR and IF Functions

By combining the CHAR and IF functions, you can automate the display of check marks.

In this next example, C4:C8 was already formatted with the Wingdings font. I clicked in cell C4 and typed =IF(B4>=15,CHAR(252),CHAR(251)). Then, I copied the formula to C5:C8.

Status column with check marks and x's

If you’re not familiar with the IF function, I’ll provide a brief interpretation. In this example the function says if the quantity for the current row is greater than or equal to 15, display a check mark, otherwise display an x.

5) AutoCorrect

The fifth way to insert a check mark in Microsoft Excel involves using AutoCorrect.

As the name implies, AutoCorrect is a feature in Microsoft Office that automatically corrects commonly misspelled words. If you type teh, for example, Excel will automatically change the misspelled word to the.

You can create your own AutoCorrect entries. You can create an AutoCorrect automatically to replace any occurrence of the letters chk with an actual check mark. You just have to remember to format those cells with the Wingdings font.

Here is how to do it.

Step #1 – Double click any cell containing a check mark then drag to select it. You have to select the check mark itself, not the entire cell containing the check mark.

Remember: even though it seems like you’re copying a check mark, you’re actually copying a special character (ü) that looks like a check mark when it’s formatted using the Wingdings font.

Status column with check marks and x's

Step #2 – Select the File tab and click Options.

File tab with Options selected
File tab with Options selected

Step #3 – In the Excel Options dialog box, select the Proofing tab and click the AutoCorrect Options… button.

AutoCorrect Options button
AutoCorrect Options button

Step #4 – In the AutoCorrect: English (United States) dialog box type chk in the Replace: box and press CTRL + V to paste the check mark symbol (ü) in the With: box.

AutoCorrect dialog box
AutoCorrect dialog box

Step #5 – Click Add then click OK.
The AutoCorrect: English (United States) dialog box closes.

Step #6 – Click OK to close the Excel Options dialog box.

After you create the AutoCorrect entry, using the process outlined above, any time you type chk, Excel will substitute the ü character. The proofing tools are shared across all of the Microsoft Office applications so Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word will all substitute a ü any time you type chk.

Don’t forget you’ll still need to apply the Wingdings font to any range where you’d rather see check marks than the ü character.

6) Conditional Formatting

The sixth way to insert a check mark in Microsoft Excel involves conditional formatting.

Conditional formatting lets you apply formatting to any cell to visually represent its content. For example, you could format all cells containing values of 15 or more to display a green check mark. Cells with values of 14 or less could display a red x.

More: The Complete Guide to Basic Formatting in Excel

Here is how you use conditional formatting to insert a check mark in an Excel worksheet.

Step #1 – The first thing we need to do is create a linking formula to display the values we want to conditionally format with check marks and x’s. Select cell C4 and type =B4 then press Enter.

Entering a formula

Step #2 – Copy the formula from cell C4 to C5:C8.

Formula copied from C4 to C5:C8

Step #3 – With C4:C8 selected, select the Conditional Formatting button in the Home > Styles group then point to Icon Sets and click the symbols shown in the image below.
Icons appear in C4:C8 along with cell values.

Conditional Formatting button
Conditional Formatting button

Step #4 – Verify that C4:C8 are still selected then click the Conditional Formatting button again and select Manage Rules.

Manage Rules... command selected

Step #5 – In the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box, select Icon Set then click Edit Rule…

Edit Rule... button

Step #6 – In the Edit Formatting Rule dialog box, click to select the Show Icon Only check box then fill in the Display each icon according to these rules: section, using settings from the screenshot below.

Show Icon Only selected in the Edit Formatting Rule dialog box
Edit Formatting Rule dialog box

Step #7 – Click OK to close the Edit Formatting Rule dialog box then click OK to close the Conditional Formatting Rules Manager dialog box.

Check Marks and X's applied to status column with conditional formatting
Check marks applied with conditional formatting

Each cell in the status column displays a green check mark or red x.

Final Thoughts

If you think about it, the first 5 methods described in this article, accomplish the same thing. The 6th method provides a more graphical appearance to visually represent the status for a given row.

My advice is to use the method that makes the most sense in your situation. Whether you want to indicate that a task is complete, or you want to display a visual representation alongside your data, you’ll be able to display check marks in your Excel worksheets.

Your colleagues will be impressed with your Excel skills!

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.