How to Insert and Format Checkboxes in Google Docs

Checkboxes are a useful feature in Google Docs that allow you to create interactive to-do lists, forms, surveys, and more. Adding checkboxes to your Google Docs provides a visual representation of completion or selection.

In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through the various methods to insert checkboxes in Google Docs and how to format them. With over 10 years of experience using Google Docs, I have discovered techniques to customize checkboxes that go beyond the basic features.

Method 1: Insert Checkboxes Using Bulleted Lists

The quickest way to add checkboxes in Google Docs is by using the bulleted list feature. Here are the steps:

  1. Open your Google Docs document and place the cursor where you want to insert checkboxes
  2. Click on the Format menu and select Bullets & Numbering
  3. From the dropdown menu, choose the checkbox icon
  4. Type your checkbox item text
  5. Hit enter to add more checkboxes


  • Simple and fast
  • Automatically creates properly formatted checkboxes


  • Limited control over checkbox formatting
  • Can’t customize checked vs unchecked appearance

While this method doesn’t allow much customization, it’s perfect for straightforward checklists and to-do lists.

Method 2: Insert Checkbox Symbols

For more control over the design of your checkboxes, you can insert checkbox symbols.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open your Google Docs document and place the cursor where you want to add a checkbox
  2. Click Insert > Special characters
  3. Search for checkbox symbols, both checked (✔) and unchecked (☐)
  4. Select and insert the symbol
  5. Type your checkbox text after the symbol


  • Complete control over checkbox design
  • Customize checked and unchecked appearances
  • Change font, size, color


  • Time-consuming to insert multiple checkboxes
  • Formatting limitations between text and symbol

While inserting symbols gives you more creative freedom, it can be tedious for longer checklists.

Method 3: Add Checkboxes Using Keyboard Shortcuts

You can quickly insert default checkbox symbols using these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows: Ctrl + Shift + 9
  • Mac: ⌘ + Shift + 9


  • Very fast checkbox insertion
  • Default checked/unchecked symbols provided


  • Limited customization options
  • Windows only for unchecked box

Formatting Tips

Once you’ve added checkboxes, here are some formatting tips:

Size and color

  • Use larger checkbox symbols for improved visibility
  • Change font color to make key checkboxes stand out

Alignment and spacing

  • Center align symbols and text for a neater appearance
  • Adjust line spacing between checkbox items


  • For printed checklists, use strikethrough on checked items
  • Show interactive status with ✔ and ✘ symbols

Linking to sections

  • Create checkbox links to jump to related document sections
  • Useful for long lists and detailed tasks


Adding checkboxes in Google Docs is simple with the right method. While the basic features have limitations, there are workarounds to customize checkbox design.

Use checkboxes for interactive to-do’s, project checklists, forms, and more. Align, size, and color code checkboxes to organize information and draw attention to key items.

With these comprehensive formatting and interactivity tips, you can create custom interactive checkboxes tailored to your needs.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to help fellow Google Docs users.