For as long as I can remember, Excel has included the ability to insert checkboxes into a worksheet. This was achieved by inserting a Checkbox Form Control from the Developer tab of The Ribbon.

But that feature has shortcomings, primarily due to the fact that the checkbox wasn’t part of the cell content. It sits on a separate layer (much like a chart does). These shortcomings included a lack of formatting options, issues with alignment (within the cell) and don’t get me started on creating multiple checkboxes down a column where each one needs to be linked to a different cell.

So when Microsoft recently announced a “new and improved” checkbox feature my interest was piqued. However this soon turned to disappointment when I realised that I wasn’t part of the initial rollout.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, when Microsoft roll out a new feature they usually make it available to users on the Beta Insiders Channel first. However not all Beta users receive the feature on Day One. Microsoft pick a random group of Beta users that represents 30-50% of those enrolled in the Beta programme. It’s pure luck as to whether you are in that 30-50% or not. After a few weeks it is then rolled out to everyone else on the Beta programme. I’m on the Beta programme but for the past 2 “big features”, Python and checkboxes, I have not made the “Day One Cut”. In fact I’ve only just, this week, got the checkbox feature.

The old method is still available and I doubt Microsoft will be in a rush to sunset it but checkboxes added using the new Insert > Checkbox command are now placed inside cells. Being treated as cell content means that you can apply formatting (colour, font size, alignment) and conditional formatting as well as use them in formulas in other cells (if the checkbox is A1 is ticked….).

In this week’s YouTube video I show you how to make a checkbox-driven filter using the new Insert > Checkbox feature.