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Use the checklists feature to add a list of checkboxes to your HTML5 help center, Zendesk, or PDF publications. The checklists work differently, depending on the type of publication.

In this article, we explain:


Checklists are only supported when publishing to PDF, HTML5 help centers, and Zendesk. They are not supported when publishing to other types of output, including other types of HTML.

In HTML5 and Zendesk publications, each list item has a container with a clickable checkbox and a close option that removes the step from view.

Example of checklist in HTML5 help center output. Each list item has a checkbox and a close icon. There is also a refresh icon to reset the list. The checkox, close icon, and refresh icon are numbered 1, 2, 3 with callouts for illustration purposes only.

Where (1) is the clickable checkbox, (2) is the close option, and (3) is the refresh option. The refresh option returns the list to its original state, with all boxes unchecked and every checkbox in the list made visible.

The following video shows how checkboxes are presented in HTML5 help centers and Zendesk.


To find out how to make your own checklists, see Create a Checklist.


  • Make sure that your checklist has an xml:id attribute and value for the itemizedlist root element. It will only work properly if it has an id. To find out how to generate an id, see IDs for Cross-References. You can also use the Editor Settings to set Paligo to generate ids for all lists automatically.

  • This feature uses JavaScript that, in some browsers like Safari, will only run if published on a web server. So if you test it locally, you may need to try another browser first. But once published, it will work on all modern browsers.

  • If you are publishing to Zendesk, make sure that in Zendesk's Guide Admin settings, the Display unsafe content option is turned on. The HTML tags needed for checklists are not included in Zendesk's list of "safe tags".

In PDF publications, checklists appear as a list with a checkbox for each item. The checkbox is clear by default, so that if your readers print out the PDF, they can physically check the boxes as they complete each item. But if you prefer, you can set the boxes to be pre-checked, which can be a good idea if you only want to indicate a checklist symbolically.

Example of checklists in PDF output. They are shown as checkboxes.

To find out how to create a checklist and pre-set the checkboxes for PDF, see Create a Checklist.

Use the checklist toolbar to create a checklist in a topic.

The toolbar in the Paligo editor. A callout arrow points to the checklist icon, which is a checkbox.

When you select the checklist toolbar icon, Paligo adds the first item in a checklist. You can add text to that item and when you press Enter at the end, it will automatically create the next checklist item. The checklist is actually an itemizedlist with a role attribute of checklist. So you could also make one by adding an itemized list (i.e. bullet list or undordered list) and giving it a role attribute with checklist as the value.

The paligo editor showing a topic that has a checklist. The element structure menu shows the section > itemizedlist structure. The Element attributes section shows that the itemizedlist element has a role attribute with a value of checklist

To set the list to have pre-checked checkboxes for PDF outputs, select the itemizedlist element in the element structure menu. Then add the value checked to the role attribute. Use a semicolon as a separator, for example:

Element attributes panel showing the itemizedlist element has role set to checklist; checked. It also has an xml:id attribute.

A checklist would usually be on the first level only, but it is possible to have nested checklists too. Each checklist item can also contain any other content just like a regular list, such as images, other lists, tables, etc. For these, add the block element, such as a list, inside the listitem.

To end the list, position the cursor outside the the itemizedlist and then you can add another block element, such as a para. This approach is common to all lists.

You can then add extra content after your checklist, if needed. Save your topic when you have finished.


The checklist functionality only works if the itemizedlist element for the checklist has an xml:id. To find out if it does, select the itemizedlist element in the element structure menu and then look at the element atttibutes.

Paligo editor shows the itemizedlist element is selected. In the element attributes, it has an xml:id.

If there is an xml:id with a value, the list is fine. If there is no xml:id, you can add one. To do this, we recommend that you select itemizedlist in the elementstructure menu, then select the Generate id option.