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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Finding Cells Filled with a Particular Color

Do you need to find cells that are formatted with a particular color? How you accomplish this task depends on your version of ...

Discover More

Limiting Entry of Names

When inputting information into a worksheet, you may need a way to limit what can be entered. This scenario is a prime ...

Discover More

Exploded Pie Chart Sections

Want to change the groupings used by Excel when it creates pie charts? Your options are limited, as you learn in this tip.

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Splitting Information into Rows

Got too much information in a single cell? Here's how you can use a macro to pull apart that information and put it into ...

Discover More

Moving Macros from the Personal Workbook

Need to move a macro out of your Personal.xls workbook and into a regular workbook? You can do it using familiar editing ...

Discover More

Mouse Click Event in VBA

Need to know if a particular cell is clicked with the mouse? Excel has no particular event handler for clicking in this way, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six less than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.