Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Flashing Cells.

Flashing Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 28, 2018)

3

Many people use the conditional formatting features of Excel to draw attention to specific values or areas of their worksheets. For instance, a cell might be formatted so that its contents are displayed in red or in boldface if above or below a certain threshold.

What is missing, however, is a way to make the contents of a cell flash, or blink on and off. For such a feat, you are left to your own devices and the miracle of macros. By utilizing these tools, you can make cells blink by first designing a special style for the blinking cells, and then running a simple macro.

To create the special style, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell that you want to flash on and off.
  2. Choose Style from the Format menu. Excel displays the Style dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Style dialog box.

  4. In the Style Name box, enter a new style name. (For this example, use the style name Flashing.)
  5. Using the controls in the dialog box, modify any attributes for the style, as you desire.
  6. Click on OK.

You can now apply the style to any other cells you desire in your workbook. Now create the macros (there are two of them), as follows:

Dim NextTime As Date

Sub StartFlash()
    NextTime = Now + TimeValue("00:00:01")
    With ActiveWorkbook.Styles("Flashing").Font
        If .ColorIndex = xlAutomatic Then .ColorIndex = 3
        .ColorIndex = 5 - .ColorIndex
    End With
    Application.OnTime NextTime, "StartFlash"
End Sub

Sub StopFlash()
    Application.OnTime NextTime, "StartFlash", schedule:=False
    ActiveWorkbook.Styles("Flashing").Font.ColorIndex = xlAutomatic
End Sub

To start the items flashing, simply run StartFlash. The cells formatted with the Flashing style will alternate between red and white text approximately once a second. When you want to turn the flashing off, simply run the StopFlash macro.

There is one important thing to note about this macro: the variable NextTime is declared outside of the actual procedure in which it is used. This is done so that NextTime maintains its value from one invocation of StartFlash to the next.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2134) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Flashing Cells.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is 8 + 7?

2018-11-08 04:08:26

Barry

@Alana

My saample code given in the tip: https://excelribbon.tips.net/T007223_Flashing_Cells.html on 5th May 2016 does exactly what you want (theres' even a sample workbook you can download). You must ensure macros are enabled.

Although shown in the Excel 2007 and later they work in earlier versions of Excel as well.


2018-11-07 16:23:01

Alana

Allen, is there a way to use the Flashing Macro with Conditional Formatting. For example: Flashing formatting applies to a cell with warning, when the value of a different cell exceeds a named parameter. =$B$10>0 Applies to Cells $B$2:$B$9 Format = "Flashing"


2018-04-28 05:25:17

Barry

You have to be careful that you do not get the Run-Time Error "9" saying "Subscript out of Range" on the ".ColorIndex = 5 - .ColorIndex" statement in the macro. You'll get this if the "5 - .Colorindex" is an invalid value (e.g. negative).

Other ways of flashing cells are given in tip: https://excelribbon.tips.net/T007223_Flashing_Cells.html although shown in the Excel 2007 and later they work in earlier versions of Excel as well.


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