The Best To Do List Templates in Excel

By Kate Eby | January 22, 2016

Whether you have to plan an event or manage a project, a to do list helps you set priorities and track your progress. By listing out all the necessary steps in one place, you can break down your goal in small, bite-sized chunks and organize your time accordingly. 

In this article, you’ll find nine to do list templates in Excel. We’ll walk you through the steps to creating your own to do list with checkboxes in Excel and the most common uses for a to do list template.

We’ve also provided to do list templates in Smartsheet, a spreadsheet-inspired work execution platform that makes managing to do lists more collaborative and real-time than Excel.

Basic To Do List Template


Basic to do list template

Download Basic To Do List Template

Excel | Smartsheet

This basic to do list template can be customized to be a daily to do list, weekly to do list, or monthly to do list based on your desired time frame. You can write out your tasks, convey status, set priority, assign due dates and owners, and add notes for extra context.

Printable To Do List Template


Printable to do list template

Download Printable To Do List Template

Excel | Smartsheet

If you’re running around planning an event or need to hang your task list on a wall, a printable version of your to do list is necessary. However, not all Excel to do list templates are printer-friendly (the rows will often print on multiple pieces of paper). 

Be sure to look for a to do list template, like this one, that has been designed to print the whole to do list on one page. You can write in your tasks and due dates, and check the box when you’re done with a to do item.

To Do List with Checkboxes Template


To do list with checkboxes template

Download To Do List with Checkboxes Template

Excel | Smartsheet

Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after checking a checkbox? 

This to do list template includes dynamic checkboxes for each task and once you check a box, the strikethrough formatting will be applied to the task. This allows you to visually convey which tasks are completed and uncompleted at a glance. 

To Do List with Drop-Downs Template


To Do List with Drop Downs Template

Download To Do List with Drop-Downs Template

Excel | Smartsheet

If you need to add similar details (like status) for many tasks, drop-down lists save you from entering the same information over and over again.

This to do list template features drop-down lists for priority (you can choose from high, medium, and low) and status (complete, in progress, or not started). And, when you specify that a task has been complete, that row will automatically turn green. 

Action Item List Template


Action item template

Download Action Item List Template

Excel | Smartsheet

Also known as a rolling action item list, this template tracks specific tasks that must be accomplished by a certain person. Action items typically arise from meetings and should always be clearly documented. 

This action item list template has columns for you to track the date created, description, priority, assignee, due date, completion date, and notes for each task.

Group Project Task List Template



Group Project Task List

Download Group Project Task List Template

Excel | Smartsheet

While a to do list traditionally includes the tasks only assigned to you, there will be times when you need to see what your colleagues are working on as well.

A group project task list, or group assigned to do list, allows everyone to see which tasks they need to complete and when. This template boosts accountability by assigning each task to a person (or multiple people) and adding due dates.

Prioritized To Do List Template


Prioritized to do list template

Download Prioritized To Do List Template

While it can reduce stress to write down all the tasks you need to accomplish in no particular order, sometimes you need to quickly see the most important to dos and the ones that can wait. 

This prioritized to do list has drop-down columns, letting you organize tasks by high, medium, and low priority, or put the task on hold.

To Do List with Double-Click Enabled Template


Double-click to do list template

Download To Do List with Double-Click Template

This template features VBA code, or a Macro, allowing you to simply double-click on a cell and a checkmark will automatically be added to that cell. You can then create conditional formatting rules around that checkmark. For example, in this template, the row will turn green and will have strikethrough formatting when the checkmark is checked.

Note: When you open the file for this template, you must “Enable Macros” for the double-click code to work.

Business Trip Checklist Template


Business trip template

Download Business Trip Travel Template

A to do list isn’t only helpful for project management. When you need to coordinate a business trip, a checklist ensures you have the right reservations, documents, and meetings before you get on the plane. 

This business trip checklist includes tasks for international travel, meeting with clients and vendors, and notifying coworkers and clients of your departure.

How to Make a To Do List in Excel with Checkboxes

By leveraging the developer ribbon and adding some conditional formatting rules, you can create a to do list with checkboxes in Excel. 

Here are the steps:

Set Up Your To Do List in Excel

  1. Add column headers to make up your to do list. You can add headers like tasks, priority, status, due date, owner, done/completed, or notes. For this example, make sure you have columns for “task” and “done” at the very least.
  2. Fill in your task and priority information.
  3. Highlight the column headers and in the Home tab, in the Alignment group, click the center icon to center the text.


Add headers to do list in Excel

Add Checkboxes to Your To Do List in Excel

You first need to enable the developer ribbon in Excel. If you already have the developer ribbon, skip to step 3. 

  1. Click File > Options and then select Customize Ribbon in the pop-up box. 
  2. On the right side, under Main Tabs, check the box next to Developer and click Ok. You should now see a new developer tab in your Excel file.


Developer ribbon in to do list Excel template


  1. Click the Developer tab, click Insert, and select the checkbox icon in the Form Controls section.


Checkbox in to do list template


  1. Click the cell where’d you’d like to add the checkbox. A checkbox with some text next to it will appear on your sheet.
  2. Right-click on the text to enable editing. You can either delete the text or add something else. Resize the box around the checkbox once you are done. You can now drag the checkbox to any cell you like. 
  3. Once the checkbox is in a cell, click on the cell and drag the bottom right corner all the way down to auto-populate more checkboxes in the other rows.


Checkboxes in Excel


Now you need to link each checkbox to a cell where it will display the check/uncheck status of the checkbox. The check/uncheck status will be represented by “True/False,” allowing you to create formulas and conditional formatting rules that react to the checkbox’s status.

  1. Add a second sheet to your Excel workbook by clicking the + icon on the bottom of the sheet. We’ll link to cells on this second sheet so the “True/False” status will be hidden.
  2. Go back to your first sheet and right-click on a checkbox and click Format Control


To do list template in Excel


  1. Click Unchecked and click the icon next to the Cell link field. Go to Sheet2 and click the cell that corresponds with the first task (if your first task is A2 on Sheet1, then you’ll link it to A2 on Sheet2).


cell linking in Excel


When the checkbox is checked on Sheet1, the value changes to "True" on Sheet2.


Checkboxes in Excel

9. Repeat steps 7-9 for all the other checkboxes. 

Set Conditional Formatting Rules to Your To Do List

Now you can create conditional formatting rules based on the status of the checkbox. For example, you could change the font color to red for tasks that have not been checked or change the row color green for tasks that have been checked. 

For this example, we’ll add strikethrough formatting to tasks with a checked checkbox. 

  1. Highlight the first row with your task information, making sure not to highlight the checkbox. Then, in the Home tab, click Conditional Formatting > New Rule


Conditional formatting in Excel


  1. Under Select a Rule Type, select Use a formula to determine which cells to format
  2. Under Format values where this formula is true, you’ll enter your formula. For our sheet, we type =Sheet2!$A$2=TRUE. You’ll want to replace “$A$2” with your cell location on Sheet2 for the first task.


How to do conditional formatting in Excel


  1. Then, click Format and check the box for Strikethrough in the Effects group.
  2. Repeat steps 1-4 for all the other checkboxes, making sure to adjust your formula for each checkbox. 


Excel to do list with checkboxes


You can now customize the colors and fonts of your to do list.

Common Uses for a To Do List Template

You can use a basic to do list template to track almost anything. Here are some common uses:

  • Baby checklist: A newborn checklist will ensure you have everything on hand for the baby’s arrival. Include items for nursing, diapering, bathtime, bedtime, and the home (like toys, mobiles, night light, etc).
  • Back-to-school checklist: After a long summer break, get back into the groove with a back-to-school supplies checklist. Make a different list depending on the age of your kids (they’ll need different supplies for elementary, middle, and high school).
  • Camping checklist or backpacking checklist: You probably won’t forget your tent, but other items, like a change of socks, can slip through the cracks. Create a checklist to organize all the items you need for your next outdoor adventure, including food, gear, and clothing.
  • Grocery list: Throughout the week, jot down ingredients that you run out of or meals that you’d like to make the following week. Save time by organizing your list by sections of the grocery store. For example, group all produce items together. 
  • Home inventory checklist: Organize everything house-related in one spot. Add weekly house cleaning, spring cleaning, maintenance, inventory, and other home projects to your checklist to make sure you’re keeping your house clean and safe every season.
  • Moving checklist: Stay on track before, during, and after your moving day. Your checklist can start as early as six weeks before your move, including things like planning a garage sale, ordering moving supplies, and notifying utility services of your move.
  • Packing checklist: While planning for your next trip, create a packing checklist to make sure you have everything you need before you leave your house. Make sure to include last-minute items like snacks, phone and computer chargers, and pajamas. 
  • Travel checklist: After your suitcases are packed, you still have to navigate taxis, planes, and hotels. A travel checklist allows you to compile all important reservation and flight information in one place, so you always know where to go and when.
  • Wedding checklist and wedding planning checklist: A wedding planning checklist ensures that everyone knows what needs to get done, so you can relax and have fun on your special day. Be sure to create a separate day-of wedding checklist, covering the getting ready stage all the way to breakdown. 

Increase Accountability with Real-Time Task Management in Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time. Try Smartsheet for free, today.



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