Tips from Support: How to Use the Checkbox Formula

Kelly Anthony's blog - Feb 19 2013 - 12:02pm

Last week we introduced a few ideas for keeping your completed tasks organized. This week, we’re taking organization to the next level by walking you through a way to use the checkbox formula to stay on top of things in Smartsheet.

Candice Santomauro, Director of Program Development at, uses Smartsheet to stay on top of her busy world, in particular to stay organized during fundraising activities. Santomauro tracks all communication touchpoints with donors, from invitations and fundraising dinners to Christmas cards, in Smartsheet.

One easy way to track progress on all these touchpoints is to use "Checkbox columns" to indicate (or check off) when the annual report or Spring Fundraiser invites are sent.

By adding a checkbox formula, you can automate a sheet to count total number of invites sent – or anything else you can check off. Let's walk through how Santomauro could use the checkbox formula to keep track of invitations sent for’s Spring Fundraiser.

In this example, the pink row with “Spring Fundraiser Invite List” is the parent row.  In the “Invite Sent?” column in the parent row, enter the formula:

="Total Sent: " + COUNTIF(CHILDREN(), 1)

With this formula applied, your sheet will automatically calculate the total number of invitations sent. It’s as easy as that.

This is just the beginning of the possibilities available with formulas in Smartsheet.  In the coming weeks, we’ll walk you through many more ways you can use formulas to automate your sheets. 

In the meantime, our Help Center has some basic information about formulas.  To help you get going with formulas in your own sheets, we built this template as a list of all of the formulas that work in Smartsheet.  It’s a great reference to have when experimenting in your sheets for the first time.

If you’ve got some time on your hands and are ready to learn even more, this instructional video will walk you through more of the ins and outs of formulas in Smartsheet: 

Til next time, dig in and explore!

- Support Team



Connecting a check box to percent complete column

I am trying to create a formula that when I check a box in my "Done" column it will automatically change the corresponding cell in my "Percent Complete" column to 100% and when it is unchecked "Percent Complete" would be 0%. I haven't found any formula that is similar to use as a guide. Do you know how I could create this?

Re: Connecting a check box to percent complete column

Hi Kim,

You can use an IF formula in the rows of your percent complete column to accomplish this - here's an example of the formula you can use in row 6:

=IF(Done6 = 1, 1, 0)

Just make sure dependencies aren't enabled on the % complete column, otherwise it won't allow any formulas. Hope this helps!

It worked! Thanks!

It worked! Thanks!

Formula tools

I find the conditional formatting setup dialogue box very useful and intuitive. I use that tool to plot out my smartsheet formulas and find it pretty helpful.

Count stars

I am trying to get a count of all stars in a column.
I tried to adjust the RYG column formula that has been given in a post above, but it didn't work.
The formula I put is is:
="Total Starred"COUNTIF([Job regarded as DEFECT as per ISM Code]:[Job regarded as DEFECT as per ISM Code], "star")

What do I do wrong?

Re: Count stars

Hi Heiko,

Your formula is close, just a few small tweaks -- it should look like:

=COUNTIF([Job regarded as DEFECT as per ISM Code]:[Job regarded as DEFECT as per ISM Code], 1)

Feel free to send an email to if you're still running into challenges!


Checkbox formula

Hello Kelly
We are trying to arrange a formula that ensures the checkbox in the parent row becomes checked once all the children checkboxes are checked, but not before. We tried many ways, but always had missing parameters, would you be able to help?

Many thanks

Checkbox formula

Hello! This formula can be added to the parent row check box cell and will 'check' if all the child rows are 'checked':


Re: Checkbox formula

Hi Andrew,

We can definitely help you out -- send an email to so we can get all the details we need from you to help build a formula with the right parameters.

- Kelly

Checkbox Formula

This may be obvious, but just in case

If you don't want any text in front of the Count the formula is
="" + Countif(children(), 1)

When you leave out the "" + you just get a checked box

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