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Checkbox

Checkboxes are used when there are multiple items to select in a list. Users can select zero, one, or any number of items.

Overview

Checkboxes are used for multiple choices, not for mutually exclusive choices. Each checkbox works independently from other checkboxes in the list, therefore checking an additional box does not affect any other selections.

When to use

Forms

Can be used in forms on a full page, in modals, or on side panels.

Filtering and batch action

Used to filter data either on a page, in a menu, or within a component. Checkboxes are found in Data table for batch editing purposes.

Terms and conditions

Turning the checkbox input on or off can indicate whether you agree to the terms.

Lists with sub-selections

Used when there is a parent and child relationship. You can use a parent checkbox to make a bulk selection of all list items. Unchecking the parent deselects all of the list items. Alternatively, you can select children individually when the parent is not selected, which is where the indeterminate state comes in to play.

Example of a full page filter list

Example of a full page filter list

When not to use

If a user can select only one option from a list, radio buttons should be used instead of checkboxes. Checkboxes allow the user to select multiple items in a set whereas radio buttons allow the user to select only one option.

Do use radio buttons when only one item can be selected.

Do use radio buttons when only one item can be selected.

Don't use checkboxes when only one item can be selected.

Don't use checkboxes when only one item can be selected.

Live demo

Checkbox
Modifiers

Formatting

Anatomy

The checkbox component is comprised of a checkbox label and a checkbox input. If there is a group of checkboxes, a group label can be added.

Anatomy of a group of checkboxes.
  1. Group label (optional): Communicates what needs to be selected below.
  2. Checkbox input: A checkbox input indicating the appropriate state. By default it is unselected.
  3. Checkbox label: Describes the information you want to select or unselect.

Alignment

Checkbox labels are positioned to the right of their inputs. If there is a checkbox grouping, they can be laid out vertically or horizontally depending on the use case and the structure of the UI. When possible, arrange the checkbox and radio button groups vertically for easier reading.

Vertically stacked versus horizontal alignment

Vertically stacked versus horizontal alignment

Placement

The checkbox component is often used in forms. Forms can be placed on a full page, in a modal or in a side panel. A checkbox can also be used for agreeing to terms and conditions or to filter information.

Placement of checkboxes in different UI scenarios.

Checkboxes in a form should be placed at least 32px (layout-03) below or before the next component. Spacing of 24px (layout-02) or 16px (layout-01) can also be used when space is more restricted or if the form is more complex.

For more information on spacing in forms, see our form style guidance.

The default state for checkboxes is unchecked.

Spacing between a checkbox and other components in a form

For more information about spacing for the checkbox component itself, see the style tab.

Content

Main elements

Group labels (optional)

  • If necessary, a heading can accompany a set of checkboxes to provide further context or clarity.
  • A group label can either state the category of the grouping or describe what actions to take below.
  • Use sentence case for group labels.
  • In some cases, a group of checkboxes may be within a larger group of components that already have a group label. In this case, an additional group label for the checkbox component itself is not needed.
  • Regardless of whether the label is visible in the interface, a group label is always needed in code, whether it’s for one checkbox or a group of them. See the checkbox code tab for more information.

Checkbox labels

  • Always use clear and concise labels for checkboxes.
  • Be explicit about the results that will follow if the checkbox is selected.
  • Labels appear to the right of checkbox inputs.

Overflow content

  • We recommend checkbox labels being fewer than three words.
  • If you are tight on space, consider rewording the label. Do not truncate checkbox label text with an ellipsis.
  • Long labels may wrap to a second line, and this is preferable to truncation.
  • Text should wrap beneath the checkbox so the control and label are top aligned.
Text wrapping for checkboxes.
Do let text wrap beneath the checkbox so the control and label are top aligned.

Do let text wrap beneath the checkbox so the control and label are top aligned.

Do not vertically center wrapped text with the checkbox.

Do not vertically center wrapped text with the checkbox.

Further guidance

For further content guidance, see Carbon’s content guidelines.

Behaviors

States

The checkbox input allows for a series of states: unselected, selected, and indeterminate. The default view of a set of checkboxes is having no option selected.

Unselected, selected and indeterminate states of checkbox.

Use the indeterminate state