I can't create a create checkbox char inside a cell

Copper Contributor

I have many checkboxes writen in a desktop excel doc, now I have to use excel browser version. The doc already have checkboxes with a cross in it, or an empty box. If I try to copy those checkboxes to other parts it disapear because the orginial font type Opensymbol does not exist. There is no such option to insert symbols (I cant understand why).  The thing is that in some parts of the doc it's used and I can see checkboxes. 

1 Reply


In Excel for the web, certain features available in the desktop version, such as inserting specific symbols or using custom fonts like Opensymbol, are not fully supported. However, there are a few workarounds you can try to create checkboxes or checkbox-like symbols in Excel for the web.

Workaround 1: Use Unicode Characters for Checkboxes

You can use Unicode characters that represent checkboxes and checkmarks, which are widely supported across different platforms, including Excel for the web.

Common Checkbox Characters:

  • Empty checkbox: ☐ (U+2610)
  • Checked checkbox: ☑ (U+2611)
  • Cross mark: ✘ (U+2718)
  • Check mark: ✓ (U+2713)

Steps to Insert Unicode Characters:

1. Find the Unicode Character:

  • You can copy the characters from here or use websites that list Unicode symbols.

2. Insert into Excel for the Web:

  • Simply copy the desired character (e.g., ☐ or ☑) and paste it into the cell where you want the checkbox.

3. Copy and Paste:

  • Once you have the characters in a cell, you can copy and paste them to other cells as needed.

Workaround 2: Use Conditional Formatting with Checkbox Symbols

Another approach is to use conditional formatting to change the appearance of a cell based on its value.


1. Insert Checkbox Symbols:

  • Type ☐ for an unchecked box and ☑ for a checked box in different cells.

2. Use Conditional Formatting:

  • Select the range of cells where you want the checkboxes.
  • Go to Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule.
  • Choose a rule type: "Format cells that contain".
  • Set the rule to format cells containing specific text (e.g., "☐" or "☑").
  • Apply desired formatting such as changing the text color or cell background.

Workaround 3: Use Alternative Symbols

If you don't need to use exact checkbox symbols, you can use other characters like X for a checked box and leave the cell blank for an unchecked box.


1. Insert Symbols:

  • Type X in a cell for a checked box.
  • Leave the cell blank for an unchecked box.

2. Conditional Formatting (Optional):

  • You can apply conditional formatting to change the appearance of cells based on whether they contain X or are blank.

Example of Using Unicode Characters in Excel for the Web:

  1. Copy the Unicode character for an empty checkbox (☐) and paste it into cell A1.
  2. Copy the Unicode character for a checked checkbox (☑) and paste it into cell A2.
  3. You can then copy these cells to other parts of your spreadsheet as needed.

By using these workarounds, you can simulate checkboxes in Excel for the web and maintain a similar appearance to your desktop Excel document. While it's not a perfect solution, it allows you to continue working with checkboxes in an environment that does not support the Opensymbol font or the full range of symbol insertion options available in the desktop version. The text and steps were edited with the help of AI.


My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!


Hope this will help you.

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