Checkboxes are used when there are multiple items to select in a list. Users can select zero, one, or any number of items.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Group label (optional): Communicates what needs to be selected below.
- Checkbox input: A checkbox input indicating the appropriate state. By default it is unselected.
- Checkbox label: Describes the information you want to select or unselect.
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.
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.
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 (
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.
For more information about spacing for the checkbox component itself, see the style tab.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
For further content guidance, see Carbon’s content guidelines.
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.
Use the indeterminate state when the checkbox contains a sublist of selections, some of which are selected, and some unselected. In addition to unselected, selected, and indeterminate states, checkboxes also have states for focus and disabled.
Checkboxes can be nested when a parent and child relationship is needed. Users can either select an entire set of options or only a subset.
Checking the parent checkbox automatically selects all of the nested children checkboxes. Unchecking the parent checkbox automatically deselects all of the children checkboxes.
Checking a child checkbox, if at least one other child checkbox is not selected, automatically puts the parent checkbox into the indeterminate state. Unchecking a child checkbox, when all other children checkboxes remain selected, switches the parent checkbox from the default checked state to the indeterminate state.
Users can trigger an item by clicking the checkbox input directly or by clicking the checkbox label. Having both regions interactive creates a more accessible click target.
Users can trigger a state change by pressing
Space while the checkbox input
has focus. For additional keyboard interactions, see the
Users can navigate between checkbox inputs by pressing
VoiceOver: Users can trigger a state change by pressing
Space while the checkbox input has screen reader focus.
JAWS: Users can trigger a state change by pressing
Space while the checkbox
input has screen reader focus.
NVDA: Users can trigger a state change by pressing
Space while the checkbox
input has screen reader focus.
For additional information, see screen reader tests.
Checkbox versus radio button
Radio buttons represent a group of mutually exclusive choices, while checkboxes allow users to select one or more checkboxes from a group. In use cases where only one selection of a group is allowed, use the radio button component instead of the checkbox.
Checkbox versus toggle switch
Toggle switches are preferred when the resulting action will be instantaneously applied, without the need for further confirmation. By comparison, checkboxes represent one input in a larger flow which usually requires a final confirmation step.
See the data table component for guidance on how to use checkboxes within a table.
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