This is more of an English language question, but UX designers will readily understand. When i have a checkbox with items, then say for a help description text, do you rather use the verb "select items" or "check items"?

I have also the case where the user has made another choice elsewhere and i need to pre-select items (in a checkbox) as a result of that other choice. And there is a user action to trigger that selection.

Would you rather say "Select items based on [other choice]" or "Check items based on [other choice]"?

"Select" seems more natural to me and "check" sounds like "verify" which is not the intent. But then it is called "checkbox" for a reason? As you could have guessed, I'm not a native English speaker. Can someone clarify and confirm?

  • 1
    You should use a different word for your “checkbox”, it is very confusing as it is already commonly used for a single item: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkbox
    – jazZRo
    Apr 19, 2018 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


Select will do just fine. Most users will understand what this means. Even though we (UX/dev type people) all know it's called a checkbox, the users may not.

To avoid confusion I'd recommend sticking with the most well know phrase that covers this behavior as you have mentioned - Select

Another alternative you may want to consider is choose

  • 1
    The original GUI terminology for both Windows and Mac proclaimed that choose is only for things that cause immediate action -- you "choose" a menu command, you "select" and "clear" a check box.
    – user8356
    Aug 5, 2019 at 15:03



When referring to check boxes:

  • Use the exact label text, including its capitalization, but don't include the access key underscore or colon. Include the word check box.

  • Refer to a check box as a check box, not option, checkbox, or just box, because box alone is ambiguous for localizers.

  • To describe user interaction, use select and clear.

  • When possible, format the label using bold text. Otherwise, put the label in quotation marks only if required to prevent confusion.

Select the Underline check box.

Microsoft Docs - Check Boxes # Documentation


Checkbox is "selected" or "deselected"

Human Interface Guidelines for macOS - Checkboxes


Checkbox is "selected" or "unselected"

Material Design - Checkboxes

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