Formatting Combo Box Text

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 3, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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. ...

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