I have a required field on a form that is Boolean. Two radios (one labeled "off" and the other labeled "on") seems heavy and old fashion. A single checkbox is lighter but doesn't make much sense since this is tagged with a red * as a required field. A toggle switch could work, but is not used elsewhere in the application.

2 Answers 2


When it's required, and there are only two choices, a radio group makes much more sense.

A radio group allows the user to quickly see the available choices and select one with a minimum of action. Whereas a drop down requires at least two clicks: one to see the possible selections, the other to actually pick something.

I'm not sure why you'd think that was "old fashioned"; nor am I entirely certain what "heavy" means. Either way, a radio selection is the best choice here.

Going further, because it's required, I'd even recommend that you default the selection to the most common choice which would eliminate yet one more action the user would need to take.

  • Setting a default removes the concern about validating a checkbox.
    – bdimag
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 20:29
  • By heavy, radios would probably look best on two lines. I have several of these, I was hoping to conserve space. By old fashioned, I meant maybe I'm missing something. bdimag's suggestion is something I never thought of. I did think of on/off toggles, but it really doesn't solve the problem since off and on are both valid choices. I almost need something in 3 states - no choice given, on, off. Your point of showing the choices then making a selection with the least amount of effort seem to be the winner. Now, I wish the requirements said which is choice is the most common. Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 20:36
  • @bryandavidk: If you stick with a checkbox, even if you assume "false/checked" as the default, then the question doesn't even have to be required... That said, I deal with lots of different forms (our company is based on forms software). For anything less than 4 choices, we always use a radio group. It has the advantage of being able to not have a default selection while still minimizing user action necessary to fill it in.
    – NotMe
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 20:51

I prefer the checkbox, but I agree that there's some iffyness when making it required, and it's probably not wise to go with a three-state checkbox (empty, check, and box) because what does that even mean?

Thinking of the SharePoint forms, there are two options for a yes/no field: Radios or Dropdown... Drop down may do the trick for you -- common control, ability to make required and still be able to validate.


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  • Did you know about the three... yes, count'em 3! ...states of a checkbox on an HTML5 form? I did not. Here's a demo from css-tricks css-tricks.com/indeterminate-checkboxes however, JS is involved. Good for nested lists (as the example shows) or a possible way to show "undecided" on a required checkbox. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 21:17

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