How to Create an Option Group in MS Excel


Most people associate Microsoft Excel with spreadsheets, which are the most common use for the program. But Excel has Visual Basic, a robust programming language, available under its surface, which extends its functionality in powerful ways. Option groups are controls on an Excel worksheet independent of the cells used to input data. You can use them as an additional form of information storage.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Display the Developer tab if it is not already visible. To turn this tab on, click the Microsoft Office Button (a round button with the mutli-colored Office logo) and choose "Excel Options". In the section called "Top Options for Working with Excel", find the "Popular" category. Place a check next to "Show Developer Tab" in the Ribbon checkbox and click "OK".

  • Access the Developer tab and enter the "Controls" section, then click the "Insert" menu.

  • Select the "Form Controls" option inside the "Insert" menu, then click on the "Option" button.

  • Click the cell on the spreadsheet that you want to contain the option button.

  • Launch the "Properties" setting from the "Controls" group in the "Developer" tab.

  • Configure the settings for the new option button using the fields in the "Properties" area. The "Value" option allows a default state for the button that remains in effect until the user changes it. An option button is either on or off, so the "Value" field accepts these two states as "Checked" or "Unchecked".

    Each option button in a group carries a numerical value, with the first button equaling the value 1. The "Cell Link" field copies the value of the option button as numerical data stored in any cell. Identify the cell using standard Excel cell referencing. For example, A1 is the upper left cell in a worksheet.

  • Add a checkbox to the option group in the same manner as the option button, if desired. In the "Form Controls" option inside the "Developer" tab's "Insert" menu, click on the "Checkbox" button.

  • Add more option buttons or checkboxes until the option group is complete.

Tips & Warnings

  • Option groups are versatile features. The creator of the spreadsheet does not need experience with Visual Basic to benefit from their use, although additional possibilities are available to programmers. Consider using a simple option group to give users preset choices for the entry of data in a particular cell. This could replace the more cumbersome drop-down menu feature for cells in Excel.
  • When opening Excel files from unknown sources, be cautious if they contain option groups. These buttons may be attached to malicious Visual Basic code. It is always best to refrain from downloading complex Excel and other Microsoft Office documents from the web for this reason.

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