Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Independent Radio Buttons.

Independent Radio Buttons

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 14, 2019)

Larry is using Excel to put together a way to track his performance at bowling. As part of his system, he would like to use the Controls toolbox to add radio buttons (sometimes called option buttons) to his worksheet, one for each of the ten pins. He would like a way to click on the radio buttons representing the pins he left standing after the first roll of the ball.

The problem is that radio buttons are not designed to allow multiple selections. When there are multiple radio buttons in a group, only one of the radio buttons in that group can be selected at a time. (This would be acceptable if Larry never left more than one pin standing after each roll, but such an expectation may be unreasonable.)

There are two options that can be tried. The easiest is to use check boxes instead of radio buttons. By design, check boxes are independent of each other; you can click one or all of them—it doesn't matter. You can easily arrange the check boxes in a triangular pattern to simulate the position of the bowling pins.

The drawback to this approach is that the check boxes are square. If this aesthetic does not meet your expectations, then the second approach might better. This approach involves putting each radio button into its own group.

Remember that only one radio button per group can be selected at a time. When you add radio buttons to a worksheet, they default to the same group, the name of which matches the worksheet name. As you add each radio button you could right-click on it and display its properties. One of the properties is GroupName; change this to something like Pin1, Pin2, etc. As long as each radio button uses a different group name, they will be considered independent of each other.

There is an advantage to using check boxes instead of radio buttons—a huge advantage. Check boxes can be selected and then deselected; radio buttons cannot. Thus, you can click once on a check box to select it and a second time to deselect it. If you try this with radio buttons, it won't work—once a radio button is selected, it is selected for good. This isn't that big of a deal if you have multiple radio buttons in the same group—if you make a mistake in clicking one, just click on another to undo it. If you configure the properties so there is one radio button per group, then you can only select that single radio button in each group; you cannot undo it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3076) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Independent Radio Buttons.

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

Disappearing Toolbar Buttons for Macros

One of the important configuration files for Excel is known as the XLB file. You should periodically make backups of this ...

Discover More

Creating a Function Inventory for a Workbook

Your worksheets are very often made up of formulas and these formulas are made up of functions. If you ever want to ...

Discover More

Paragraph Numbers in Headers or Footers

If your documents routinely use numbered paragraphs, you may want to place the number of the page's first paragraph in ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Shortcut to Move between Two Worksheets

Moving between to adjacent worksheets is easy; Excel provides a shortcut key to do the trick. If you want to move between ...

Discover More

Returning a Worksheet Name

Need to know the name of the current worksheet? You can use the CELL function as the basis for finding this information ...

Discover More

Referencing a Worksheet Name

Excel provides ways to reference the column or row number of a cell, but it doesn't provide a built-in way to reference a ...

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 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 6 + 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.