What Are Form Controls?

Basic Description

Form Controls are objects which you can place onto an Excel Worksheet which give you the functionality to interact with your models data. You can use these controls on worksheets to help select data. For example, drop-down boxes, list boxes, spinners, and scroll bars are useful for selecting items from a list. Option Buttons and Check Boxes allow selection of various options. Buttons allow execution of VBA code. By adding a control to a worksheet and linking it to a cell, you can return a numeric value for the current position of the control. You can use that numeric value in conjunction with the Offset, Index or other worksheet functions to return values from lists.

Form controls are the original controls that are compatible with earlier versions of Excel, starting with Excel version 5.0. Form controls are also designed for use on XLM macro sheets. You use Form controls when you want to easily reference and interact with cell data without using VBA code, and when you want to add controls to chart sheets. For example, after you add a list box control to a worksheet and linking it to a cell, you can return a numeric value for the current position of the selected item in the control. You can then use that numeric value in conjunction with the INDEX function to select different items from the list.

You can also run macros by using Form controls. You can attach an existing macro to a control, or write or record a new macro. When a user of the form clicks the control, the control runs the macro. However, these controls cannot be added to UserForms, used to control events, or modified to run Web scripts on Web pages. You will notice 2 types of Form Controls, being Form Controls and Active X controls. This Module will be dealing with Form Controls first and the Active X controls, similarities and differences will be discussed towards the end of the Module.

 

How Do I Insert a Form Control

To Insert a Form Control go to the Form Control Menu and click on the Form Control you want to insert. Now click on the worksheet in the location you want your form control. Don’t worry about the location or size you can change those later.

form controll

 

What Are The Different Form Controls?

There are several types of Form Controls offering a range of interactivity from a simple display through to interactive controls which allow multiple selection or interactive selection of values. These are discussed individually below the list…

Control Name Description Function
Button Push Button Executes a macro
Check Box Allow selection of non-exclusive options Multiple On/Off options
Combo Box Drop Down selection Box Select items from a Drop down list
Group Box Layout element which groups common elements Nil
Label A Text label Can be static or linked to a cell
List Box Fixed selection box Select items from a list
Option Button Allow selection of exclusive options Exclusive Single On/Off option
Scroll bar Allow Horizontal or Vertical scrolling Increases or decreases a cells value by a fixed amount
Spin Button Increment/decrement a value by a fixed amount Increases or decreases a cells in steps by a fixed amount

 

Button (Form Control)

The Button Form Control is as its name suggests simply a Button. Pressing the Button allows execution of a macro. The Button has no other controls.

button

Change Button Text:

You can right click on the button and change the buttons Text (Edit Text) and enter the text you want displayed on the button. The Button’s text can be linked to a cell, select the Button, In the formula Bar enter a link to a cell. e.g. =$C$3 and accept. The Button’s text will now change as the contents of the cell C3 change. You can change the Text Style including Font, Color and Text Direction using the Format Control  (Ctrl 1) option.

Assigning a Macro:

  • Right click on the Button and select
  • Assign Macro. The Assign Macro
  • dialog will pop up.
  • Select the macro you want to assign to the button.

assining macro button

 

Label (Form Control)

The Label Form Control is also as its name suggests simply a Label. The Label will display text either fixed or from a linked cell. You can right click on the button and change the buttons text (Edit Text). The Button’s text can be linked to a cell, select the Button, In the formula Bar enter a link to a cell eg: =$C$3 and accept. The Button’s text will now change as the contents of the cell C3 change.

Unlike the Button you cannot change the Text Style, Font, Color or Text Direction. Typically a label is put in front of another Control to explain or add a title to the control. Labels would rarely be used on a Worksheet as a label as they have limited text format properties. Users would be better served using either cell text or a Text Box where full text formatting is allowed. Labels come into use when setting up custom Dialog Forms which are used by VBA applications for custom data entry or other uses.

 

Check Box (Form Control)

The Check Box form Control allows selection of a number of non-exclusive options. That is any number of Check Box controls may be implemented and they independently be on or off and have no relationship to each other.

check box

The Check Box Form Control returns the value indicating its status, either True (selected) or False (not selected),  to a linked cell. To link a Format Control to a cell, Right Click the Format Control and select Format Control…

assining macro button

 

Option Button (Form Control)

The Option Button form Control allows the selection of an exclusive option from a number of alternatives. That is only one Option Button Form Control may be selected at a time, the remainder are automatically turned off. The Option Button Form Control returns the value of the Option Button indicating its status to a linked cell.

option button

In the Example above the Option Buttons are linked to cell E2. You only need link one Option Button to cell E2, Excel automatically links the remaining option buttons to the same cell. Selecting a Different Option Button automatically deselects the other Option Buttons and changes the linked cells value

 

List Box (Form Control)

The List box allows the selection of one or more items from a list.

list box

The list is sourced from a Range of cells in the above case it was F2:F17. The List Form Control returns an Index Number or position of the selected item to the Cell Link, 5 in the example above. The Input Range and Cell Link are setup by Right Clicking the control and select Format Control…

List box source data

The Number of items visible in the list box is determined by the size of the list box. If there are more items than will fit in the list box then a scroll bar is automatically added to the list box to enable there selection.

 

Combo Box (Form Control)

The Combo Box allows the selection of one or more items from a drop down list. The Combo Box use is similar to the list box except that it has a drop down selection list instead of a fixed length selection list. The list is sourced from a Range of cells in the example below it was F2:F17. The List Form Control returns an Index Number or position of the selected item to the Cell Link B10, 9 in the example below.

combo box

The Input Range, Cell Link and size of the Drop Down Box are setup by Right Clicking the control and select Format Control…

 

Spin Button (Form Control)

The Spin Button is a simple toggle button that allows the increase or decrease of a linked cells value by a certain pre-defined amount. The Cell Link and Lower, Upper Limits and Step Size parameters are setup by Right Clicking the control and select Format Control. The Lower, Upper Limits and Step Size must be Integers. If you want to increase a cell by fractional amounts you will need to for example set the range from 0 to 1000 in steps of 1 and then divide the linked cell by 10 which will give a Range of 0 to 100 in steps of 0.1

spin button

 

Scroll Bar (Form Control)

scroll buttonThe Scroll Bar Form Control often referred to as a Slider is a simple linear slider that allows the increase or decrease of a linked cells value by sliding a bar either left/right or up/down. Scroll Bars can be placed either Horizontally or Vertically by dragging the corner. Scroll bars are incremented by the Step Size by clicking the ends of the bars or dragging the slider or by a Page Jump Size by using Page up[/down or clicking either side of the slider bar.

The Cell Link, Lower, Upper Limits, Incremental Change and Page Change parameters are setup by Right Clicking the control and select Format Control. The Lower, Upper Limits, Incremental Change and Page Change must be Integers. If you want to increase a cell by fractional amounts you will need to for example set the range from 0 to 1000 in steps of 1 and then divide the linked cell by 10 which will give a Range of 0 to 100 in steps of 0.1

 

Group Box (Form Control)

The Group Box Form Control isn’t really a Form Control at all, as it allows no interactivity. What it is used for is grouping similar controls so that functional groups of controls can be maintained and the users flow is directed around a form.

 

Using the Form Controls

General Use: The use of the information from a form control is limited by your imagination.

Typical uses are:

  • Selecting items for a chart
  • Selecting data sets
  • Moving data sets
  • Adjusting values in a model

As described in each of the above Form Controls is that the Form Controls do not return a value directly from a list, they all return either a number or an index number relative to the position of the item in a list.

 

Moving and Resizing Form Controls

You can move and resize form controls as with all other worksheet Objects. Select the form control by right clicking on it. Use the handles to resize or drag the edges to move the controls. Hint: You can use Alt while dragging or resizing to snap the control to cell boundaries.

 

3D, Printing & Locking Form Controls

You can lock Form Controls as well as enable them to be printed or not. Right Clicking the control and select Format Control. Use the Size, Protection and Properties Tabs as required. The 3D option enables a 3D version of the Control instead of a flat control, which can add a bit of sparkle in some instances.

 

Limitations of Form Controls

Form controls offer a limited set of functions but do those functions very well. Limitations are Form Controls:

  • Form Controls can only increase or decrease by integer numbers
  • Form Controls only return the index of an item in a list
  • Form Controls have limited format properties (Font, Color etc)

 

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