Using Message Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 16, 2016)

When you create macros in VBA, you can easily incorporate the use of message boxes. These are typically used to convey information to the user and to get some rudimentary input. You include message boxes by using the MsgBox command. The following portion of a macro creates a very simple message box:

MsgBox "The Macro is Done"

You can also add symbols to your message boxes by including one a symbol type code as part of your MsgBox invocation. These symbols are used extensively in many Windows dialog boxes. The following four types of symbols can be used:

Type Symbol
16 Stop sign
32 Question mark in a circle
48 Exclamation point in a circle
64 Information symbol (lowercase i in a circle)

As an example, let's suppose you wanted to include the exclamation point symbol. This is typically included in dialog boxes as a notice of when something important has happened or is about to happen. To include this symbol in your message box, you would include the following macro code:

MsgBox "Can't run this macro on this text", 48

So far the MsgBox command has been used as a statement, but you can also use it as a function. If you do so, you can use it to get simple input from the user. To make the MsgBox function more useful, Excel allows you to display more clickable buttons in the dialog box besides the OK button. This is done by adjusting the type code, which was used for the symbols displayed in the message box. The following are the different button combinations you can display in your message box:

Type Button Types
1 OK, Cancel
2 Abort, Retry, Ignore
3 Yes, No, Cancel
4 Yes, No
5 Retry, Cancel

To use the buttons, you simply add the value of the button type to the value you want used for the symbol. In the previous example, you used the code of 48 to display the exclamation point symbol. If you wanted to also include the Abort, Retry, Ignore buttons, you simply change the code to 50, which is 48 (the symbol code) plus 2 (the button code).

When using buttons in this way, the MsgBox function returns a value indicating which button the user chose. The buttons return, from left to right, -1, 0, and 1. Thus, if you use a button code of 3, then -1 would mean the user chose Yes, 0 would mean No, and 1 would mean Cancel.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2265) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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