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A check box is a control that permits the user to make multiple selections from a number of options. Check boxes are used to toggle an option on or off, or to select or deselect an item. Users make a decision between two clearly opposite choices (on (vs. off), apply (vs. don't apply), show (vs. hide). etc.).



Is this the right control

  • Use check boxes for non-exclusive options that have clear alternatives. Mutually exclusive options should use a set of radio buttons or a combo box.
  • Do not use a check box if the opposite is ambiguous.
    HIG Checkbox1.png
  • For more than five options, use either a list view or the dual-list pattern in case of multiple selections.
  • Do not use the selection to perform commands. Consider using a push button instead.
    HIG Checkbox4.png


  • Checking a check box should always "enable" an option or change the state of an option to "on". Checking a negative or disabling option is a double negative and causes confusion and errors.
    HIG Checkbox3.png
  • Use the mixed state only to indicate that an option is set for some, but not all, child objects. Mixed state must not be used to represent a third state.
  • Users must not be able to set a mixed state directly.
  • Clicking a mixed state check box enables all child objects.
  • Do not use sliding switches in Desktop applications. They only offer good user interaction on touch screens, so they should only be used in applications for Plasma Active.


  • The text of a check box is on the right of its tick rectangle, which can make it difficult to avoid blank areas on the left side of the form. To keep the layout of the form balanced you can use one of the following approaches:
    • Group check boxes together in the widget column and add a label describing the group in the label column.
      Grouped checkboxes
    • Make the check boxes span the two columns, but keep them at the bottom of the form. Remark: This interferes with other layout guidelines
      Checkboxes spanning two columns
    • If all else fails, add a label describing the checkbox on the left side of the checkbox, then set the text of the checkbox to "Enabled", "On", or similar.
      Using a separate title label for the checkbox.
  • If certain controls in a configuration dialog are only relevant if a certain check box is checked (i.e. they are dependent controls), disable them instead of hiding them if that check box is unchecked.
  • Do not add line breaks. If necessary place an additional label below the check box.
    HIG Checkbox2.png
  • Do not separate check box and label. Clicking on both the box and the label should toggle the option.
    HIG Checkbox5.png
  • Align groups of check boxes vertically rather than horizontally, as this makes them easier to scan visually. Use horizontal or rectangular alignments only if they greatly improve the layout of the window.
  • Check box labels are in sentence style capitalization.
  • For layout directions, see label alignment: check boxes.
  • Label every check box.
  • Do not use ending punctuation (neither dot nor colon) for group label.



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