Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Check the Value of a Checkbox
  3. Checking/Unchecking
  4. Assigning a Macro
  5. Determine which Checkbox called a Macro
  6. Enabling/Disabling Checkboxes
  7. Editing Label
  8. Adding/Deleting Checkboxes
  9. Selecting a Checkbox
  10. Linking to a Cell
  11. Looping Through All Checkboxes
  12. Closing Thoughts

Introduction

This VBA Guide will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about handling Excel Form Control Checkboxes using VBA. By “Form Control” checkboxes, I mean this little guy located under “Form Controls” on the Developer Tab > Insert menu:

Excel VBA Form Control Checkboxes
Form Control Checkboxes

I’ve created a simple pizza order form using Excel Form Control Checkboxes. I’ll reference this order form throughout the guide as we learn how to manipulate our checkboxes with VBA macros.

Excel Pizza Order Form
Excel Pizza Order Form

Keep reading to learn how to check, uncheck, assign a macro to and loop through all form control checkboxes!

Note: If you want to learn how to control ActiveX Checkboxes, instead, head over to my Excel VBA ActiveX Checkboxes Guide.

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Return the Value of your Checkbox

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

Check Box 1
Check Box 1

Method 1

Sub CheckboxValue_Method1()
    Dim cbValue As Long
    cbValue = ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").ControlFormat.Value
End Sub

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Method 2

Sub CheckboxValue_Method2()
    Dim cbValue As Long
    cbValue = ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value
End Sub

Method 3

Sub CheckboxValue_Method3()
    Dim cbValue As Long
    cbValue = ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Value
End Sub

All three methods do the same thing, so you can just pick one and go with it. There are three possible values of a checkbox. Yes, three!

Value Example Description
1 Excel Form Control Checkbox Value of 1 Checked (xlOn)
-4146 Excel Form Control Checkbox Value of -4146 Unchecked (xlOff)
2 Excel Form Control Checkbox Value of 2 Mixed (xlMixed)


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Checking/Unchecking your Checkbox

Checking and unchecking your checkbox is almost identical to returning the value of your checkbox. Again, at least three methods can be used. The following macros first check the box, then uncheck the box and, finally, mix the checkbox:

Method 1

Sub Check_Method1()
    'Check the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").ControlFormat.Value = 1 'can also set to xlOn
    'Uncheck the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").ControlFormat.Value = -4146 'can also set to 0 or xlOff
    'Gray the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").ControlFormat.Value = 2 'can also set to xlMixed
End Sub

Method 2

Sub Check_Method2()
    'Check the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value = 1 'can also set to xlOn
    'Uncheck the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value = -4146 'can also set to 0 or xlOff
    'Gray the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value = 2 'can also set to xlMixed
End Sub

Method 3

Sub Check_Method3()
    'Check the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Value= 1 'can also set to xlOn
    'Uncheck the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Value = -4146 'can also set to 0 or xlOff
    'Gray the checkbox
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Value= 2 'can also set to xlMixed
End Sub

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Assigning a Macro to your Checkbox

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

Method 1

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

Method 2

Sub AssignMacro_Method2()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").OnAction = "Module1.DisplayMessage"
End Sub

The ControlFormat method we demonstrated earlier will not work to assign a macro.

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Determine which Checkbox called a Macro

If you have multiple checkboxes linked to the same macro (i.e., more than one checkbox running the same macro), it could be useful to tell which checkbox called the macro. You can do that with Application.Caller.

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

Sub DisplayMessage()
    MsgBox Application.Caller
End Sub

When you click the Check Box 1 checkbox on your spreadsheet, this macro executes and a message box pops up with the name of the checkbox.

Check Box 1
Check Box 1

This is useful if you have one macro that you want to run down different branches depending on which checkbox called it.

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

Sub DisplayName()
    MsgBox ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Name
End Sub

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Enabling/Disabling your Checkbox

Unfortunately, Form Control Checkboxes don’t gray out when you disable them. All disabling them does is prevent you from changing the value by clicking (checking and unchecking). To give the illusion of graying out a Form Control checkbox, I recommend setting its value to 2 (xlMixed) prior to disabling it. The following macros demonstrate this:

Method 1

Sub DisableCheckbox()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").ControlFormat.Value = 2 'This line is optional
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").ControlFormat.Enabled = False
End Sub

Method 2

Sub DisableCheckbox2()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Value = 2 'This line is optional
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Enabled = False
End Sub

Method 3

Sub DisableCheckbox3()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Value = 2 'This line is optional
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Enabled = False
End Sub

It’s important to note that this does not disable the macro associated with the checkbox if you’ve set it to one. All it does is prevent the user from checking and unchecking the checkbox. Your macro will still run when the checkbox is clicked.

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

Sub EnableCheckbox()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Enabled = True
End Sub

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Editing the Label (Caption) of your Checkbox

You can change the caption of your Checkbox using the .Caption property. The following examples change the label beside Check Box 1 from “Pizza Sauce” to “Tomato Sauce.”

Method 1

Sub ChangeCaption()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 1").OLEFormat.Object.Caption = "Tomato Sauce"
End Sub

Method 2

Sub ChangeCaption2()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 1").Caption = "Tomato Sauce"
End Sub

Here’s the end product:

Check Box 1
Tomato Sauce

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

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Adding/Deleting a Checkbox

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

Add a Checkbox

Sub AddCheckbox()
    With ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes.Add(Selection.Left, Selection.Top, Selection.Width, Selection.Height)
        .Name = "NewCheckBox"
        .Caption = "Green Peppers"
    End With
End Sub

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

Adding a Checkbox
Creating a New Checkbox

To delete the checkbox titled “NewCheckBox”, run this VBA macro:

Delete a Checkbox

Sub DeleteCheckbox()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("NewCheckBox").Delete
End Sub

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Selecting a Checkbox

To select a checkbox titled Check Box 5 on your spreadsheet, try the following macro:

Sub SelectCheckbox()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 5").Select
End Sub

Select Checkbox
Select "Check Box 5"

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Linking Checkbox to a Cell

To link a checkbox to the value of a cell using VBA, you would try one of the following methods:

Method 1

Sub LinkCheckbox()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 5").ControlFormat.LinkedCell = "Sheet1!$A$1"
End Sub

Method 2

Sub LinkCheckbox2()
    ActiveSheet.Shapes("Check Box 5").OLEFormat.Object.LinkedCell = "Sheet1!$A$1"
End Sub

Method 3

Sub LinkCheckbox3()
    ActiveSheet.CheckBoxes("Check Box 5").LinkedCell = "Sheet1!$A$1"
End Sub

Now, cell “A1” in “Sheet1” changes to “TRUE” when Check Box 5 is checked, “FALSE” when unchecked and “#N/A” when mixed. This is the same as right-clicking your checkbox > Format Control > Control > Selecting a cell beside “Cell link.”

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Looping Through All Checkboxes

This example was adapted from a macro created by my good friend, Chris, over at The Spreadsheet Guru. It loops through all the Form Control Checkboxes in your active sheet and serves as a nice template for you if you want to take action on checkboxes meeting different conditions. Be sure to read the comments to understand how you can use the VBA macro.

Sub CheckboxLoop()
'PURPOSE: Loop through each Form Control Checkbox on the ActiveSheet
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/the-code-vault

Dim cb As Shape

'Loop through Checkboxes
  For Each cb In ActiveSheet.Shapes
    If cb.Type = msoFormControl Then
      If cb.FormControlType = xlCheckBox Then
        If cb.ControlFormat.Value = 1 Then
          'Do something if checked...
        ElseIf cb.ControlFormat.Value = -4146 Then
          'Do something if not checked...
        ElseIf cb.ControlFormat.Value = 2 Then
          'Do something if mixed...
        End If
      End If
    End If
  Next cb

End Sub

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Closing Thoughts

The title of this article is The Complete Guide to Excel VBA Form Control Checkboxes, 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.

If you’re working on an Excel VBA project, but you can’t quite figure out how to finish it, don’t forget you can ask for my help via my VBA Consulting service page.

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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.