5 Easy Ways to Create a Google Docs Checklist

Do you need to create a Google Docs checklist? Using checklists is one way to stay organized, whether for managing your projects, planning trips, or just trying to keep up with your daily tasks. And one of the best tools to create one is via Google Docs.

To make a simple checklist, you can start by opening a new (blank) document. List all the items that you want to put on your checklist and select them all afterward by dragging your mouse. Then, on the app’s toolbar, click on the “Checklist” icon, and you’re done.

But there are other, easier ways to do this! So follow this guide as we explore five easy ways to create Google Docs checklists.

What Can You Do With Checklists in Google Docs?

There are infinite ways you can use checklists in Google Docs, whether for corporate work or just for personal goals. Here’s a list of what you can actually do with them.

  • Track your tasks: List each job you need to complete. As you complete each task, mark them off as done with a tick to track what tasks have been completed.
  • Ensure completeness: Checklists also help streamline your work. You can create a step-by-step list, and as you check off each item, you can be sure that nothing has been overlooked.
  • Collaborate with others: As you know, Google Docs files can be shared online for collaboration. If you’re doing the work with other people, having a centralized checklist would help track the overall completed tasks.
  • Create a template: As with creating a step-by-step list, you can also create a Google Docs checklist as a template for your team or organization.
  • Organize your ideas: If you’ve created a rudimentary list when brainstorming ideas, you can turn them into a checklist. This ensures that each concept gets included in your documents or presentations.

How to Make a Checklist in Google Docs

It’s pretty simple to create checklists in Google Docs. In this section, we’ll introduce five easy methods to do this, so you can choose one that works best for your needs and preferences.

Method 1: Insert Checklist in Google Docs the Classic Way

The first thing that you need to do is to type your to-do list in your work area. Ensure that you separate each item with another line by hitting the “Enter” or “Return” key on your board. After entering all your checklist items, select them all either by dragging your cursor or pressing the Ctrl + A keys on your keyboard.

How to make a Google Docs checklist


Locate the “Checklist” icon on the Google Docs toolbar found at the top of your workspace. Simply click on that icon, and you’re done. You can now start checking off your items.

insert checklist in google docs


If you need to populate your list with more to-dos, just go to the last item on your checklist and press “Enter” or “Return” on your keyboard. This automatically creates a new checkbox entry.

Method 2: Google Docs Checklist Without Strikethroughs

While everyone’s preferences vary, it’s a common thought that strikethroughs make checklists look messy. They also make your list more difficult to read. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to ensure that they don’t appear.

Like method one, simply list your to-dos and select them all once you’re done. Then, locate the “Checklist” icon in the toolbar again. However, this time, you should click the downward arrow beside it. This will display the options of whether to omit the strikethrough or not.

Google Docs checklist without strikethrough


Another more cumbersome (but more organized) way to do this is to create a table. The concept is to isolate the checkbox in one column, then keep the list of items in another. To do this, simply click “Insert” > “Table” in the menu bar.

Insert table in Google Docs


Insert any number of rows and columns you need. For example, we’ll begin with a 3 x 5 table. Label the topmost cells of each column with your tasks, such as “Status, Description, and Notes.” Once done, select the cells of the first column and click the “Checklist” icon.

Insert checklist in column one using Google Docs


Resize the said column to your taste. And there you go! You can now check the boxes on the left side of your table, put the details of your tasks, and even add some notes about each job on the right.

Method 3: Google Docs Checkbox Shortcut

There’s actually a quicker way to insert checkboxes in Google Docs through keyboard shortcuts. And this method would be much more efficient when you’re dealing with a very long items list. To start, simply select your items by pressing Ctrl + A on your keyboard.

Then, toggle these keys: Ctrl + Shift + 9. Doing so would result in the same checklist we discussed in the previous two methods.

NOTE: Remember that this method makes a checklist with strikethroughs by default.

Method 4: Create a Checklist From a Bullet List

When working with other team members, they might use bullet lists or numbered lists instead of checkboxes when not informed. This results in messy and inconsistent inputs. Or perhaps, you might just want to convert your bullet list into a checklist on a whim.

To do this, simply start by populating your list with bulleted items. Once you’re done, click on the bullet symbol at the left of your entries. By default, this will select all your bullets. But if you want to change only one item, click on its bullet again.

Create checklist from bulleted list


On your mouse, right-click to show your options. A pop-out will appear that lets you choose whether to convert your bullets to numbers, squares, Roman numerals, or checkboxes. Naturally, you’d want to pick the checkbox sign. And you’re done!

Create checklist from bulleted list

Method 5: Making Multi-level Checklists

A more efficient way to organize your tasks other than creating a basic list is to make sub-tasks — a task within a task. These would be useful when streamlining processes in complex projects. The concept is to divide a project into several main stages, which would then be populated with more detailed steps.

To do this, simply follow any of the methods we’ve discussed earlier to make your basic checklist. Then, to create a sub-task, hit the “Tab” key on your keyboard. This would indent your entry, which is literally the only thing you need to do to add another level to your checklist.

Making multi-level checklists


Alternatively, you can also use the “Increase indent” button on the toolbar, which would come in handy when you want to create multiple sub-tasks at once. This also works by pressing the Ctrl + ] keys on your board.

Alternative Tools for Checklists

While Google Docs is a popular tool for creating checklists, it’s really lacking when it comes to advanced features like setting due dates, task assignments, and real-time tracking. The app could also have been better in terms of integration with other project management software.

If you find such factors important for your workflow, one of the best tools to use is Google Sheets. The rows and columns there help organize your inputs. Plus, the checkboxes are easy to insert! If you don’t know where to start, visit our free tutorial on how to use the Free Google Sheets Task List Template.

If you prefer specialized tools for checklists, here are some alternatives you can try.

We’ll leave the choice up to you since it’s a matter of your specific needs and preferences. But it helps to check them out first and explore their features to find one that suits your taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Create a Checklist in Google Docs?

Yes. To create one, look at the toolbar and locate the “Checklist” icon, which is the one with two check marks beside the “Bulleted list” icon. This inserts one checkbox on your document, and as you hit the “Enter” or “Return” key, another one will be generated for you.

Is There a Checklist Template in Google Docs?


Related: 10 Google Docs Lesson Templates

Google Docs doesn’t have a native checklist template that you can use. Instead, what you can do is insert a checklist manually on a blank document. To do this, simply toggle the “Checklist” icon that you can find on the Google Docs toolbar.

How Do I Undo Checked Boxes in a Google Docs Checklist?

If you have a clickable checklist, toggle the checkbox of your selected item again to remove the tick. You can also press the Ctrl + Z keys simultaneously on your keyboard to literally undo the check mark, given that you only ticked it recently.

Final Thoughts

Google Docs checklists are great when it comes to organizing your ideas, tasks, and even just the things that you’re planning to buy or bring on a trip. And they’re surprisingly straightforward to create. For more tips and tricks to increase your productivity around the Google Workspace, browse our other blogs too.


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