Smartsheet Tips: How to Use the Checkbox Formula

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




We use a tool called a "Red Dot/Green Dot" spreadsheet. It has rows along the side with every client's name. The columns are products from us that they either have purchased (green dot) or havent purchased yet (red dot). If I put columns of check boxes, couldn't we see at a glance how many clients have purchased each product? or any product if we included prospects in our rows?

Hi Becky, Yes, you can certainly add in a checkbox column with this formula. You can also apply a similar formula on your RYG columns: Use =COUNTIF([RYG Column]:[RYG Column], "Red") to count all of the rows that contain red balls or =COUNTIF([RYG Column]:[RYG Column], "Green") to count all of the rows that contain green balls. If you run into any snags, feel free to email us directly to troubleshoot: Good luck!

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 Andrew

=IF(COUNTIF([Row_Name]41:[Row_Name]46, 1) = COUNT([Row_Name]41:[Row_Name]46), 1, 0) The last 1, and 0 are the IF_True, or IF_False case. The value 1 will fill in the parent checkbox, while the 0 will keep it empty. Obviously, this can also be changed to some text. Just remember to add quotes for the text string: =IF(COUNTIF([Row_Name]41:[Row_Name]46, 1) = COUNT([Row_Name]41:[Row_Name]46), "Complete", "Still Working")

Please share the formula for how to get the parent checkbox to show checked when any of its children are checked unlike the formula shared that they all have to be checked.

I had the same question about arranging a formula that ensures the checkbox in the parent row becomes checked once all the children checkboxes are checked. Where do I put the formula? I tried the formula given in this post but nothing worked.. Andrew did this work for you? Help!

Wow, that was a quick response! I'm very new to this, and no matter how many times I watch the USING FORMULAS video and play with the Formulas Smartsheet template, I still don't understand where to insert this formula? In addition, what info do I need to place into this formula and exactly where in the formula do is it that I need to place that info. Thank you very much! David

Hi, 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? Thanks! Heiko

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! Thanks, Kelly

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.

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?

Hi Chris, As long as you don't have dependencies enabled in your sheet, you can use a nested if/and statement – if([one box is checked], [inset % number], if(and([two boxes are checked], [insert % number], etc. If you do have dependencies enabled (which is common in many project sheets), you won't be able to add a formula in the % complete column. If you have dependencies turned on, or if the formula above doesn't seem to work with your sheet, please email us at and we'll help you out! Thanks, Kelly

I have a column called complete which is a tick box. What I want to happen is when I tick that box it updates a date column with the day I ticked the box so that I can track when tasks were completed. Can you please advise on the correct formula to use?

Hi Simon, While there isn't a formula per say that would help, you may be able to add in a system column (, "Modified (Date)" to your sheet that will reflect the last time an update was made to your sheet. As long as the checking off the "complete" box is the last action performed on that row, you'll have a running account of when tasks are completed. If you make another update to that row, however, the system column will update automatically. Hope that helps! Best, Kelly

Is there a way to calculate the percentage of checkboxes that have been checked out of the total, at the top of a single row.

Hi Craig, You can certainly use a formula for these calculations, although the formula will vary a bit depending on how your sheet is set up. If you're putting the formula in a parent row to find the percentage of child rows that are checked, here's the formula you'll use: ="" + ROUND((COUNTIF(CHILDREN(), 1) / COUNT(CHILDREN())), 2) * 100 + "%". Please feel free to reach out to us at if you'd like more help. Thanks! Kelly

I have used the formula above to count how many check boxes, however I now need to insert another 'child' row, but do not want this to be counted. How can I just count 4 of the rows and not the 5th? Thanks!

Hi Louise, If you're using the CHILDREN() calculation, any new rows added will be included in the total count as you described. You'll need to change the formula to reference a range, rather than using CHILDREN(). Feel free to contact us at for more help. Thanks, Kelly

Hi, I'm trying to do a formula that will check the box when a certain percentage is reached or when a cell is 100%. Is this possible? Thanks!

Hi Levi, yes that is possible. Use this formula, =IF([Percent Complete]3 = 1, 1), added to the checkbox cell. If you want it to check the box if its more than a certain percentage, use this formulas (example is if more than 75%): =IF([Percent Complete]11 > 0.75, 1). Best, Emily

Why do I keep getting missing parameters with this: ="COUNT: " + COUNTIF(CHILDREN(), 1) My row is titles Monday Night, I am trying to count different columns with check marks for how many are attending on different nights.

Hi Keith, here's an article with some steps on how to automate RYG balls: If you need any help, please email our Support team at support@smartsheet and we'd be happy to lend a hand. Best, Emily

Hello, I'm trying to do a formula that will SUM values with checked box. It is possible?

Hi there -- Yes, you can use the SUMIF formula, which adds numbers within a range that meet a specific criteria. Visit this Help Center article,, and find the SUMIF section under "Advanced Formulas." Best, Emily

Please can you help me with a formula. I want to add a checkbox which checks if the 'Task Name' field contains the word "Email" Is this possible please and please can you supply the formula.

I would like to set a reminder or alert to notify a user if a check box has been empty for two days. We are using smart sheets to track repairs and part of the process is evaluating the repair and I need for our repair guy to evaluate each one, I want to be able to remind him to do that if a repair stays un-evaluated for two days. Is there a way to do that? I can seem to figure it out by using the standard reminder and alert statements. Thanks J

Hi Jody -- Unfortunately, this is not possible in Smartsheet today. However, I have passed this request along to our Product team for future consideration. Best, Emily

I keep an Events list in Smartsheet. It was for internal use only, but now that I am Publishing Smartsheet Reports, I want to automate the updating of this report . I have added a "Publish" column with checkmark to be the "what" for a report. I would like to have Smartsheet automatically "un-check" any event that is in the past...however, I do not want the formula to automatically "check" all events in the future, as we have items on this list that we do not want to publish.

I have several statements to sum the checkboxes for children. I have the cells linked to another sheet and would like to be able to sum the results. Is there a way to do this, or possibly a way to disable the checkbox in a single cell in a column?

I am trying to set up a spreadsheet that has a list of names in column A, a check box in column B (training session 1) and also in Column C (training session 2). When either of the check boxes in columns B or C are checked I want the corresponding name from column A to be added to a list in a new sheet so that I can easily track who has replied and which training session they will be attending. I am not sure how to enter a formula to get the name to go to the list.

Hi Mel -- Unfortunately, you cannot use formulas to add a name in one sheet to a new sheet (formulas only work in one sheet, not across sheets). However, our Support team would be happy to find another solution for you. Please email us at support@smartsheet so we can learn more about what you need. Best, Emily

Hi, please help me for calculate how many boxes are checked into an questionnaire. I have inserted checkboxes with developer- insert-form control. None of instructions described above works. Thank you, Dana

Hi Dana, Thanks for reaching out to us here. If you could please email, so we may learn more about what you're wanting to calculate and hopefully provide a solution. Best, Diana

I would like to have multiply Checkboxes then a description Example: General Housekeeping A ■ B ■ C■ Description: Legend; A - Condition Controlled B - Not Applicable C - Action Required Is this possible in Smartsheet?

Hey, I am not understanding how to get check boxes down the columns i want. Can someone help

Hi Sabrina. In order to have a column with checkboxes, you need to edit the column property and select Checkbox. Here is a quick guide to the different types of columns. Thank you! - The Smartsheet Team.


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