Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Check the Value of an Option Button
  3. Checking/Unchecking
  4. Assigning a Macro
  5. Determine which Option Button called a Macro
  6. Enabling/Disabling Option Buttons
  7. Editing Label
  8. Adding/Deleting Option Buttons
  9. Selecting an Option Button
  10. Linking to a Cell
  11. Enable 3D Shading with VBA
  12. Prevent Option Button from Printing
  13. Control Option Button Object Positioning
  14. Looping Through All Option Buttons
  15. Closing Thoughts

Introduction

This VBA Guide will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about handling Excel Form Control Option Buttons using VBA. By “Form Control” option buttons, also known as radio buttons, I mean this fellow located under “Form Controls” on the Developer Tab > Insert menu:

Excel VBA Form Control Option Button
Form Control Option Button

If you want to read more complete guides to Form Control or ActiveX Controls, visit my ActiveX and Form Control Guides page.

I created an order form using Excel Form Control Option Buttons, or radio buttons. I’ll reference this order form throughout the guide as we learn how to manipulate our option buttons with VBA macros.

Excel Option Button Form
Excel Option Button Form

Remember, you can only select one option button at a time, unless you place them in different “groups.” These groups are also called “Frames” or “Group Controls.” In my sample form, I placed the color radio buttons in their own group so the user can select both a size AND a color.

This website gets picked on a lot for using Excel 2010. I know I’m half a dozen years behind the times - I’m okay with that!

Anyway, keep reading to learn how to check, uncheck, assign a macro to and loop through all form control option buttons!

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Return the Value of your Option Button

There’s more than one way to check the value of a form control option button. I’ll present three ways. The following macros return the value of an option button named “Option Button 1” and store the value in the variable rbValue. Remember, the option button name can be found in the upper left of Excel when you have your option button selected:

Option Button 1
Option Button 1

Method 1

Sub OptionButtonValue_Method1()
    Dim rbValue As Long
    rbValue = ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").ControlFormat.Value
End Sub

Method 2

Sub OptionButtonValue_Method2()
    Dim rbValue As Long
    rbValue = ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value
End Sub

Method 3

Sub OptionButtonValue_Method3()
    Dim rbValue As Long
    rbValue = ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").Value
End Sub

All three methods do the same thing, so it’s up to personal preference. There are two possible values of an option button.

Value     Example   Description
1 Excel Form Control Option Button Value of 1 Checked (xlOn)
-4146 Excel Form Control Option Button Value of -4146 Unchecked (xlOff)


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Checking/Unchecking your Option Button

Checking and unchecking your Option Button (Radio Button) is almost identical to returning the value of your option button. Again, at least three methods can be used. The following macros first check the button, then uncheck the button:

Method 1

Sub Check_Method1()
    'Check the Option Button
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").ControlFormat.Value = 1 'can also set to xlOn
    'Uncheck the Option Button
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").ControlFormat.Value = -4146 'can also set to 0 or xlOff
End Sub

Method 2

Sub Check_Method2()
    'Check the Option Button
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value = 1 'can also set to xlOn
    'Uncheck the Option Button
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value = -4146 'can also set to 0 or xlOff
End Sub

Method 3

Sub Check_Method3()
    'Check the Option Button
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").Value= 1 'can also set to xlOn
    'Uncheck the Option Button
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").Value = -4146 'can also set to 0 or xlOff
End Sub

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Assigning a Macro to your Option Button

The following macro shows you how to assign a macro to an Option Button. When the Option Button is clicked, the macro you assign will execute. This is the same as right clicking your option button and clicking Assign Macro. These examples assign the macro DisplayMessage in Module1 to the Option Button titled Option Button 1 by using the .OnAction property:

Method 1

Sub AssignMacro_Method1()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").OLEFormat.Object.OnAction = "Module1.DisplayMessage"
End Sub

Method 2

Sub AssignMacro_Method2()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").OnAction = "Module1.DisplayMessage"
End Sub

Like Form Control Checkboxes, the ControlFormat method we demonstrated earlier will not work to assign a macro to radio buttons.

To unassign a macro to your option button, set the OnAction property equal to an empty string:

Unassign Macro

Sub UnassignMacro()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").OLEFormat.Object.OnAction = ""
End Sub

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Determine which Option Button called a Macro

If you have multiple option buttons linked to the same macro (i.e., more than one option button running the same macro when checked), it would be useful to be able to tell which option button called the macro. I’d argue, this would be even more useful than it was for Form Control Checkboxes since you can only have one radio button per group checked at a time. You can find out which button called the macro with Application.Caller.

In the Assigning a Macro example, we set our Option Button to run Module1.DisplayMessage. I made this macro to return the name of whatever option button called it.

Sub DisplayMessage()
    MsgBox Application.Caller
End Sub

When you click the Option Button 1 radio button on your spreadsheet, this macro executes and a message box pops up with the name of the radio button.

Option Button 1
Option Button 1

This is useful if you have one macro that you want to run down different branches depending on which radio button is checked.

In case you were curious, the name that displays via Application.Caller is the .Name property of the option button, as demonstrated by the following macro:

Sub DisplayName()
    MsgBox ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").Name
End Sub

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Enabling/Disabling your Option Button

Unfortunately, Form Control Option Buttons don’t gray out when you disable them. All disabling them does is prevent you from selecting (checking) the option button. If the button is checked when you disable it, you will still be able to uncheck it by selecting another radio button, but you won’t be able check it again until you enable the radio button, again. Sadly, you can’t even tell the radio buttons are disabled by looking at them - at least not in Excel 2010. It’s all pretty pointless.

Method 1

Sub DisableOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").ControlFormat.Enabled = False
End Sub

Method 2

Sub DisableOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 1").OLEFormat.Object.Enabled = False
End Sub

Method 3

Sub DisableOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").Enabled = False
End Sub

It’s important to note that this does not disable the macro associated with the option button if you’ve set it to one. All it does is prevent the user from checking the option button. Your macro will still run when the radio button is clicked, even though the radio button itself will not become checked. Like I said, it’s pretty pointless!

To enable your option button again, just set the .Enabled property back to True using whichever method you prefer. Here’s an example:

Sub EnableOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 1").Enabled = True
End Sub

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Editing the Label (Caption) of your Option Button

You can change the caption of your Option Button using the .Caption property. The following examples change the label beside Option Button 4 from “Black” to “Green.”

Method 1

Sub ChangeCaption()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 4").OLEFormat.Object.Caption = "Green"
End Sub

Method 2

Sub ChangeCaption()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 4").Caption = "Green"
End Sub

Here’s the end product:

Option Button 4
Green

Just like when we were Assigning a Macro, the ControlFormat method will not work to change the caption.

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Adding/Deleting an Option Button

To add a Form Control Option Button, you need to know where you want to place the option button and what size you want it to be. The following example adds a new option button to the cell you currently have selected. It also adjusts the option button’s size to match the dimensions of the selected cell.

Add an Option Button

Sub AddOptionButton()
    With ActiveSheet.OptionButtons.Add(Selection.Left, Selection.Top, Selection.Width, Selection.Height)
        .Name = "NewOptionButton"
        .Caption = "Green"
    End With
End Sub

Notice how this macro combines the .Name and .Caption properties we discussed earlier to make a new radio button with a custom label and custom name.

Adding an Option Button with VBA
Creating a New Option Button with VBA

To delete the option button named “NewOptionButton”, run this VBA macro:

Delete an OptionButton

Sub DeleteOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("NewOptionButton").Delete
End Sub

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Selecting an Option Button

To select an option button titled Option Button 5 on your spreadsheet, try the following macro:

Sub SelectOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 5").Select
End Sub

Select Option Button
Select "Option Button 5"

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Linking Option Button to a Cell

To link an option button to the value of a cell using VBA, you would execute one of the following methods:

Method 1

Sub LinkOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 5").ControlFormat.LinkedCell = "Sheet1!$A$1"
End Sub

Method 2

Sub LinkOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 5").OLEFormat.Object.LinkedCell = "Sheet1!$A$1"
End Sub

Method 3

Sub LinkOptionButton()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 5").LinkedCell = "Sheet1!$A$1"
End Sub

Now, cell “A1” in “Sheet1” changes from 0 to N, where N is the number of option buttons in the group. Because Option Button 5 is the second option button in my Color Group, when Option Button 5 is checked, cell “A1” in “Sheet1” is set to 2. If “Green” (originally “Black”) was selected, the value of cell “A1” in “Sheet1” would change to 1. If no radio buttons were selected in the color group, the cell value would be 0.

Notice, you don’t have to link a cell for each radio button in a group. Once you link one radio button to a cell, all the cells in that group are automatically linked. This is the same type of behavior that occurs when right-clicking your option button > Format Control > Control > Selecting a cell beside “Cell link.”

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Enable 3D Shading with VBA

To enable 3D shading for your Option Button using VBA, change the .Display3DShading property to True. To disable it, change it to False.

Method 1

Sub Enable3DShading()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 2").OLEFormat.Object.Display3DShading = True
End Sub

Method 2

Sub Enable3DShading()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 2").Display3DShading = True
End Sub

3D shading makes your Form Control radio buttons look more like ActiveX radio buttons. You cannot change the 3D shading by using the ControlFormat method.

Display3DShading True (Left) vs False (Right)
Display3DShading True (Left) vs False (Right)

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Prevent Option Button from Printing

There are times when you may want your option button to be displayed on your excel sheet but you don’t want it to print when you print your workbook. You can prevent your option buttons from printing by disabling the .PrintObject property.

Method 1

Sub DisablePrinting()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 2").ControlFormat.PrintObject = False
End Sub

Method 2

Sub DisablePrinting()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 2").OLEFormat.Object.PrintObject = False
End Sub

Method 3

Sub DisablePrinting()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 2").PrintObject = False
End Sub

Set .PrintObject to True to allow your radio buttons to print, or set it to false to prevent your radio buttons from printing with the rest of your sheet. This is equivalent to unchecking and checking the “Print object” box when you right click your radio button > Format Control > Properties.

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Control Option Button Object Positioning

Like other control objects, you can fix your option buttons to the screen so they don’t move when you add cells, delete cells, adjust column widths or adjust row heights. To do this, you would right click your option button and go to Format Control > Properties. You would then adjust the options under “Object positioning.”

To automate these actions with VBA, change the .Placement property:

Method 1

Sub ControlPlacement()
    ActiveSheet.OptionButtons("Option Button 2").Placement = xlFreeFloating
End Sub

Method 2

Sub ControlPlacement()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Option Button 2").OLEFormat.Object.Placement = xlMove
End Sub

There are three possible values for the .Placement property, but you can only use 2 of them with the Option Button, as described below:

Value Description
xlMoveAndSize   Move and size with cells. This option is unavailable for Form Control Option Buttons.
xlMove Move but don’t size with cells. When a cell is added or resized, the position of the control will change.
xlFreeFloating Don’t move or size the cells. When a cell is added or resized, the control will stay in the same position. The position of the control is locked.


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Looping Through All Option Buttons

This example macro loops through all the Form Control Option Buttons in your active sheet and serves as a nice template for you if you want to take action on radio buttons meeting different conditions. Be sure to read the comments to understand how you can use the VBA macro.

Sub OptionButtonLoop()

Dim rb As Shape

'Loop through Option Buttons
  For Each rb In ActiveSheet.Shapes
    If rb.Type = msoFormControl Then
      If rb.FormControlType = xlOptionButton Then
        If rb.ControlFormat.Value = 1 Then
          'Do something if checked...
        ElseIf rb.ControlFormat.Value = -4146 Then
          'Do something if not checked...
        End If
      End If
    End If
  Next rb

End Sub

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Closing Thoughts

The title of this article is The Complete Guide to Excel VBA Form Control Option Buttons, but if you can think of something I missed, leave a comment below and let me know! I’ll make the guide MORE complete based on your feedback.

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About Ryan Wells


Ryan Wells

Ryan Wells is a Nuclear Engineer and professional VBA Developer. He is the lead developer of several VBA applications, including PDF VBA - a leading Excel Add-in for exporting Excel Objects, like charts and tables, to PDFs. Discover more of his popular Excel Add-ins, including Mouse To Macro and CF Shapes, at his dedicated Excel Add-ins page.