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

Writing a Macro from Scratch

Creating macros can help extend what you can do in Word. If you work with macros, you know that creating macros from scratch ...

Discover More

Table Borders not Stored in AutoText

Many people create tables and store those tables in AutoText entries for later use. If the formatting of those tables doesn't ...

Discover More

Getting User Input in a Dialog Box

Want to grab some interactive input from a user in your macro? The best way to do that is with the InputBox function, ...

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)

Working while a Macro is Running

If you have a macro that takes a long time to process a workbook, you might want to continue working in Excel while the macro ...

Discover More

Saving a Workbook in a Macro

Does your macro need to make sure that the workbook being processed is saved to disk? You can add the saving capability by ...

Discover More

Forcing a Macro to Run when a Worksheet is Recalculated

Normally a macro is only calculated when you specifically tell Excel to calculate it. Some macros need to be calculated ...

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. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. 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 6 - 3?

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.