How to Add Radio Buttons to Microsoft Excel for Data Collection

Written by eric jay toll
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Collecting and entering static data into a spreadsheet entry can be a real chore, bore or more. Reading the same data, making the same entries over and over are enough to drive a thinking person to ... to thinking about ways not to have enter the same data over and over again. That's where radio buttons come in handy. These unique features control the data being entered, ensuring no duplication or errors. A radio button set allows only one entry per grouping. In Office 2007 and 2010, "radio buttons" are called "option buttons."

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Microsoft Excel 2007 or 2010

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  1. 1

    Define the mutually exclusive data to be collected. For example, if the spreadsheet is used to track clothing by size, the option buttons might be for small, medium and large sizes. This prevents mistyping information.

    Select the "Developer" tab; from the "Controls group," press "Insert > Option Button." Place the cursor into the position where the upper left corner of the button and label are desired, and then drag a square, creating the frame. Do the same for the remaining option buttons to be created. Excel will name these "Option Button 1," "2," and "3."

  2. 2

    Select "Option Button 1," and in the "Developer" tab, "Controls" group, select "Properties." A new window opens allowing the option button to be customised. From this pane, the font, colour, status, control, caption and important functions can be controlled. Define the caption, select fonts, colours and size, and then create the functions for the button. Do the same for the remaining option buttons to be grouped.

  3. 3

    Select the option buttons. Using the "Drawing Tools>Format" tab in the "Align" group, use the "Align" button to position the option buttons as desired, then use the "Group" button to create the Option Button Group.

  4. 4

    Add the appropriate commands and cell links as needed for the option buttons, and then protect the cells over which the buttons are located. When the spreadsheet is completed, protect the Worksheet in the "Review" tab, "Changes" group, and the option buttons will be functional.

Tips and warnings

  • Excel 2007 and 2010 offer a choice of conventional or ActiveX controls; this article highlights the ActiveX controls.
  • Design features are limited for the option buttons, but using the 3D lighting options can create some unusual and attractive appearance effects.
  • If a macro is to be attached to an option button, write and test the macro before creating the option buttons.
  • Although slightly more complex than the conventional controls using ActiveX is the better system because of its portability using XML (Extensible Markup Language) for sharing or even Internet use.
  • Radio buttons function differently in Excel 2000 and 2003, and these instructions will not work in those versions.
  • Option buttons are mutually exclusive; the design will not allow more than one button in a group to be selected.
  • Ensure that the buttons are locked from editing once the controls are working as desired to prevent accidental editing that could impact function.

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