Formatting Combo Box Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 13, 2016)

You can use the Forms toolbar to add a combo box to your worksheet, as has been discussed in other issues of ExcelTips. You can control many attributes of the combo box (right-click it and choose Format Control), but you cannot change the attributes of the font used to display information in the combo box. This seems to be an odd oversight on the part of Microsoft, but it has been that way since the earliest days of the Forms controls.

If you want greater control over how the combo box looks, then you will need to skip the Forms controls and instead add one from the Control Toolbox. You can display this toolbox by choosing Toolbars from the View menu, and then choosing Control Toolbox.

The controls available in the Control Toolbox look very similar to the Forms controls. The Control Toolbox controls, while they have the same names as the Forms controls, are quite different. For instance, you can place a combo box, but it looks a bit different than the one you place using the Forms controls. In addition, you can select a newly placed combo box and then click Properties to see all the attributes you can change—there are quite a few more of them when you add a combo box in this manner.

So what differences are there between the two ways of adding a combo box? Besides appearance and a richer set of properties, there isn't a whole lot of difference. There is one operational difference—you can insert a combo box from the Forms controls onto a chart sheet, but you cannot do so from the Control Toolbox.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2387) 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. ...


Getting the Expected Space Before a Heading

If your heading styles are designed to add extra space before the heading, you may be surprised when that extra space is ...

Discover More

Inserting the Date Your Document Was Last Printed

Word keeps track of each time you print your document, and you can automatically insert the last printing date anywhere ...

Discover More

Hiding Table Gridlines, by Default

The edges to table cells are shown two ways in Word: gridlines and borders. Table gridlines are only seen in Word; they ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Dates with Periods

You may want Excel to format your dates using a pattern it doesn't normally use—such as using periods instead of ...

Discover More

Superscripts in Custom Formats

When you create custom formats for your data, Excel provides quite a few ways you can make that data look just as you ...

Discover More

Unable to Format Cells

If you ever get to a situation where you can no longer format cells in a workbook, you'll realize just how important the ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 6Mpixels. 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 four less than 8?

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

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.