How to Add Checkboxes in Google Docs

- Written by Puneet


The checkboxes in Google Docs can be a lifesaver if you work on a collaborative team project.

For instance, if you are working on a new product launch, you can list all the tasks that need to be completed-such as finalizing the design plans, scheduling the online marketing campaigns, and setting up customer sales support.

You can add checkboxes to all these tasks on Google Docs, and your team members can keep checking the boxes as they finish the tasks one by one.

Moreover, the checkboxes are super useful if you are planning a meeting and want to ensure that all the discussion points and action items are addressed. This ensures that nothing falls through the cracks and everyone stays on top of their priorities.

Add Checkboxes in Google Docs with a Bulleted List

Adding checkboxes on Google Docs using the bulleted list method is one of the simplest ways to complete the task. Here’s how you can do it.

1. First, go to Google Docs and open the document you want to work on.

2. Then, you need to select the text where you want to add the checkboxes. This can be a list of tasks or items to which you want to add the checkboxes.

3. Now, on the toolbar present at the top of the page, click on the bulleted list button as shown in the picture. You will notice a small downward arrow beside it.

4. Clicking the downward arrow button will open a drop-down list. Select the checkbox from this list, and you’re good to go.

Adding Checkboxes in Google Docs using the Toolbar

There’s another way to add checkboxes on Google Docs besides using the “bulleted list” method. This is even more convenient and will help you finish the work faster. For this, you need to:

  1. Firstly, select the text where you want to add the checkboxes. For this, left-click and highlight the text.
  2. Next, go to the toolbar at the top of the page and click on the ‘checklist’ button. This button looks very similar to the bullet list icon but with checkboxes.

On following these steps, checkboxes will appear next to your text.

Add Checkboxes in Google Docs using the Format Option

Apart from the two methods I already mentioned, there’s a third way to add checkboxes to Google Docs. For this, you simply need to follow these steps:

  1. For this to work, you need first to highlight the text to which you want to add the checkboxes.
  2. Now, go to the top menu and click the “Format” option.
  1. Once you click on the format menu, a drop-down list will appear. On this list, you will find the ‘Bullets and numbering’ option. Hover over it and then go to the ‘Checklist menu.’
  1. You can now select from two available options: the checkbox option with a strikethrough or the checkbox option without a strikethrough. On doing that, your list will now display the checkboxes.

Add Checkboxes in Google Docs using Keyboard Shortcuts

Some prefer using keyboard shortcuts to navigate Google Docs and get things done on this platform. If you are one of them and want to add checkboxes to your document, here’s what you need to do:

Whether you are working on a Windows or a Mac, you need to begin by selecting the text to which you want to add the checkboxes.

For Windows:

If you are working on a Windows system, press ‘Ctrl+Shift+8’ to turn the text into a bulleted list. Then, go to the toolbar to change the bulleted list into a checkbox list.

For iOS:

On the other hand, if you are operating from an iOS device, all you need to do is press ‘Command+Shift+9’ together on your keyboard.

Customize Checkboxes on Google Docs

Customizing checkboxes on Google Docs might involve you doing two major things:

Formatting Lists with Checkboxes

After you have added the checkboxes to your text, you now have the option to format the alignment and indentation, too. For this:

  1. First, select the text to which you’ve already added the checkboxes.
  2. Then, go to the toolbar and click the ‘increase indent’ button to adjust the indentation according to your requirements.
  1. Moreover, you can change the checkbox alignment too. To do this, go to the toolbar at the top of the page and click on the alignment options to align the checkboxes to the right, left, or center.

Changing Checkbox Style

 If you aren’t happy with the standard box shapes of the checkboxes, you can explore the other bullet list style options. You can do it by following these simple steps:

  1. Once you have selected the list with the checkboxes, go to the ‘Format’ menu at the top of the page and click on it.
  1. After clicking on the format menu, a drop-down list will appear. Towards the end of this drop-down menu, you will find the ‘bullets and numbering’ option. Hover over it, and you will find the ‘list options.’
  2. Then, another small drop-down list will appear. On this list, select “More bullets” and choose from a wide range of styles.
  1. Whichever style you select will now be added to your checkbox list.

Note that if you change the style, you won’t be able to use the interactive feature of the checkboxes. Simply put, you cannot click on the bullets to mark off a task.

But I have a workaround suggestion to tackle this. Mix it up with the strikethrough option on Google Docs, and you can indicate the completed task easily. Here’s how you do it:

To mark off a completed task from the list, select it and then click Fomat>Text>Strikethourgh. This way, you can use any bullet style you want and combine it with the strikethrough feature to mark completed tasks. You no longer have to limit yourself to the checkbox option.

Remove Checkboxes on Google Docs

Now that I have explained the different methods for adding checkboxes to Google Docs, I must also show you how to remove them from your document. To do so, move your cursor to the right of the checkbox you want to remove and hit backspace/delete on your keyboard.

You can also select the text with the checkboxes and then click on the bulleted list option on the toolbar to remove the checkboxes.

Solving Some of the Common Issues with Checkboxes

As I already showed, adding checkboxes on Google Docs is pretty straightforward. However, you might face some common problems when adding checkboxes to Google Docs, and here’s how you can tackle them.

Malfunctioning Checkbox Functionality

Sometimes, you might notice that checkboxes are not responding when you click them or are not retaining their checked state. This can result from things like browser incompatibility or some issues with the document setting. Here are a few things that you can do to solve the problem:

  1. First and foremost, always ensure you are working on a browser compatible with Google Docs. To do this, you should work on Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
  2. If the checkboxes are present in a shared document, they might malfunction. To prevent this, give the collaborators editing permissions.

This can be done in a minute. Click the “Share” option at the top right of the document. A dialog box will appear.

On the top of the dialog box, add the email addresses of your collaborators and give them ‘Editor’ access to ensure that they can freely make necessary changes to the document.

2. Handling Checkbox Disappearance

You might face a situation where the checkboxes suddenly disappear or become invisible in your document. This can happen for multiple reasons, such as accidental deletion or formatting conflicts. If you want to recover missing checkboxes, you can do these things:

Firstly, consider the option that you might have accidentally deleted the checkbox. To recover it, use the Undo function (Ctrl+Z or Command+Z) to revert any recent change you made by mistake, which led to the checkbox disappearing.

Moreover, you can check the document’s version history to see if the checkboxes were mistakenly deleted. If you have accidentally deleted the checkboxes, you can simply reinsert them using any of the methods I mentioned above.


You will most likely need to use checkboxes when working on collaborative documents where multiple team members are involved. While it is important to track progress, it is also crucial to remember that giving multiple people access to a document has privacy implications. When sharing access, it is best to enter your team member’s email addresses individually instead of giving access to ‘anyone with the link.’

Last Updated: June 04, 2024