“I want to think that there is someone with sound judgement at the controls” – Martin Feldstein
- 1 Introduction
- 2 The Controls
- 3 Properties of the Controls
- 4 Adding the Code
- 5 Common control functions
- 6 The CheckBox
- 7 The Label
- 8 The TextBox
- 9 The ComboBox
- 10 The ListBox
- 11 What’s Next?
- 12 Get the Free eBook
In the first post on UserForms we looked at the general use of the UserForm.
In this post we are going to look at the individual VBA controls and how to use them. We will cover the most commonly used VBA controls. These are the Checkbox, ComboBox, CommandButton, Label, ListBox and TextBox. For each control, I will cover their most common uses and provide plenty of code examples you can use in your own projects.
We add controls to the UserForms to allow the user to make selections, enter text or click a button. To add a control to a UserForm we do the following
- Go to the Toolbox dialog – if not visible select View->Toolbox.
- Click on the control icon you want to add – the icon will appear selected(pressed in) until you click another one.
- Put the cursor over the UserForm.
- Hold down the left mouse button and drag until the control is the size you want.
- To select or move a control click on the Select Objects icon(very left one) on the toolbox and this will put you in select mode.
The following table shows a list of the common controls
|CheckBox||Turn item on/off|
|ComboBox||Allows selection from a list of items|
|CommandButton||Click to perform action|
|ListBox||Allows selection from a list of items|
|Textbox||Allows text entry|
Properties of the Controls
The screenshot below shows the three important Windows when adding controls to a UserForm. These are
- The Properties Window.
- The Toolbox Dialog.
- The UserForm design Window.
If you click on any control or the UserForm itself you will see the properties of the selected item displayed in the Properties window. You can change the name, caption etc. in this Window.
To change the name of the UserForm do the following
- Click on the UserForm in the Project window or click on the UserForm itself.
- Click in the (Name) field of the Properties window.
- Enter the new name in this field.
Adding the Code
You can view the code of the UserForm in the following ways
- Double click on the UserForm.
- Right click on the UserForm itself and select View Code.
- Right click on the UserForm in the Project windows and select View Code.
Common control functions
The following table shows the most commonly used functions that are available to all controls.
|Enabled||Enable/Disable control||combobox.Enabled = True
textbox.Enabled = False
|SetFocus||Sets the focus to the control|
(cannot use with the Label)
|Visible||Show/Hide control||combobox.Visible = True
textbox.Visible = False
Private Sub checkboxAddNotes_Click() ' Enable texbox when checkbox set to true If checkboxAddNotes.Value = True Then textboxNotes.Enabled = True textboxNotes.SetFocus Else textboxNotes.Enabled = False End If End Sub
The CheckBox Cheat Sheet
|Caption||Get/Set the text||checkbox.Caption = "Apple"|
|Value||Get the checked state||If checkbox.Value = True Then|
|Value||Set the checked state||checkbox.Value = False|
The CheckBox is a simple control that allows the user set something to on or off. You will often see them used on web pages where you are asked to accept terms and conditions.
Turning the CheckBox on or off
We can turn the CheckBox on or off by setting it to true or false
' Set the check on CheckBoxTerms.Value = True ' Set the check off CheckBoxTerms.Value = False
Checkbox Event with example
If we want to create an action when the user clicks on the checkbox then we create a checkbox event. This is simply a sub that runs when the checkbox is clicked.
To create this event simply click on the checkbox in design mode and you will get the following
Private Sub CheckBoxTerms_Click() End Sub
The following code shows an example of how we use it
Private Sub CheckBoxTerms_Click() If checkboxTerms.Value = True Then buttonOk.Enabled = True Else buttonOk.Enabled = False End If End Sub
The Label Cheat Sheet
|Text||Get\Set the text||textbox1.Text = "Apple"|
The label is the most simple control. Generally speaking, we don’t refer to it in the code. It is used to label the controls or display a short notice.
Setting the Label Text
You can set the text of the Label in the code using the Caption property
LabelAddress.Caption = "Customer Address"
The TextBox Cheat Sheet
|Text||Set the text||textbox1.Text = "Apple"|
|Text||Get the text||sFruit = textbox1.Text|
|Value||Set the text||textbox1.Value = "Apple"|
|Value||Get the text||sFruit = textbox1.Value|
Setting the Textbox Text
The textbox is used to allows the user to enter text. We can read or write from a text box as follows
TextBoxNotes.Value = "It was the best of times." sNotes = TextBoxNotes.Value
The textbox has properties Text and Values. These are the same thing.
From MSDN: For a TextBox, any value you assign to the Text property is also assigned to the Value property.
The problem with the text box is that the user can enter anything. If the user is entering basic text then this is fine. If the text is to be used for a calculation or for looking up something then we need to validate it.
For example, if the user is going to pick a year between 2010 and 2019 we should use a ComboBox/Listbox that only contains valid years. Then we don’t need to validate the format and range of the user’s entry.
Making a TextBox numeric only
The following code prevents the user entering anything other than a number in the textbox
Private Sub textboxComments_KeyPress( _ ByVal KeyAscii As MSForms.ReturnInteger) Select Case KeyAscii Case Is < vbKey0, Is > vbKey9 KeyAscii = 0 Beep End Select End Sub
Using a Date Control
If you the user to select a date you can use the MonthView control. It is one of the additional controls that comes with Visual Basic. It works quite well and looks like the standard date picker you see in most applications.
To add the MonthView control:
- Go the the Visual Basic editor and make sure the Toolbox is visible(View->Toolbox if it’s not visible).
- Select Tools and then Additional Controls from the menu.
- Place a check on Microsoft MonthView Control, Version 6.0.
- The MonthView control will now appear on the Toolbox.
To get the user selection from the MonthView control you can use the DateClick event as the following code shows
Private Sub MonthView1_DateClick( _ ByVal DateClicked As Date) ' Store date in textbox TextBox1.Value = MonthView1.Value End Sub
For more information on the MonthView see these links:
The ComboBox Cheat Sheet
|AddItem||Add an item||listbox.AddItem "Spain"|
|Clear||Remove all Items||combo.Clear|
|List||Add a range of items||combo.List = Range("A1").Value|
|ListCount||Get the number of items||cnt = combo.ListCount|
|ListIndex||Get/set selected item||Idx = combo.ListIndex
combo.ListIndex = 0
|ListRows||Get/set number of items displayed|| NoItems = combo.ListRows
combo.ListRows = 12
|RemoveItem||Remove an item||combo.RemoveItem 1|
|Value||Get the value of selected Item||Dim sCountry As String
sCountry = combo.Value
The ComboBox is used to allow the user to select an item from a list. It is very similar to the listbox. The main difference is the listbox allows multiple selections.
In most cases we want to do four things with the ComboBox\ListBox
- Fill it with data when the Form is loaded
- Preselect an item.
- Retrieve the currently selected item(s).
- Perfom an action when the user selects a different item.
Filling the Combobox with data
We can fill the combobox one item at at a time using the AddItem property.
comboBoxFruit.AddItem "Apple" comboBoxFruit.AddItem "Pear"
You would normally use AddItem in a loop where you are checking each item before adding it
Dim cell As Range ' Fill items with first letter is A For Each cell In Sheet1.Range("A1:A50") If Left(cell.Value, 1) = "A" Then comboBoxFruit.AddItem cell.Value End If Next
Filling the ComboBox from a range
If you want to fill the ComboBox from an entire range you can do it in one line of code
comboBoxFruit.List = Sheet1.Range("A1:A5").Value
Normally when you fill a ComboBox you want to clear the existing contents first
' Clear any existing item comboBoxFruit.Clear ' Fill the ComboBox comboBoxFruit.List = Sheet1.Range("A1:A5").Value
Filling the ComboBox – No duplicates
If our range has multiple entries then we want to avoid adding the same item multiple times. We can do this using a Dictionary
Sub TestDuplicates() ' clear existing values comboBoxFruit.Clear ' Fill given ComboBox from given range ignoring duplicates FillComboNoDuplicates comboBoxFruit, Sheet1.Range("A1:A10") End Sub Sub FillComboNoDuplicates(cbo As ComboBox, rg As Range) ' Create dictionary Dim dict As Object Set dict = CreateObject("Scripting.Dictionary") Dim cell As Range, sItem As String ' Go through each item in range For Each cell In rg sItem = Trim(cell.Value) ' check if item already exists in dictionary If dict.Exists(sItem) = False Then ' If doesn't exist then add to dictionary and combobox dict.Add sItem, 1 cbo.AddItem sItem End If Next ' Clean up dictonary as we no longer need it Set dict = Nothing End Sub
VBA ComboBox – Full Example 1
The easiest way to show how these work is with an example. Imagine we have a list of countries and their capitals in cells A1:B196.
We want the user to select any country. When they do our UserForm will display the capital of that country. The screenshot below shows and example of this
The first thing we want to do is fill the countries ComboBox when the form loads. We do this using the UserForm_Initialize event which we looked at in the first post on VBA UserForms.
Private Sub UserForm_Initialize() End Sub
We can use the following code to fill the ComboBox from a range and set the selected item to be the first one. (Note we don’t need to clear the ComboBox here as the Initialize event is only used once – when the UserForm is created.)
Private Sub UserForm_Initialize() ' Add array to combobox ComboBoxCountry.List = Sheet1.Range("A1:A196").Value ' Set the first item in combobox ComboBoxCountry.ListIndex = 0 End Sub
When the user selects a country we want to display the capital city in the textbox. We use the Change Event of the ComboBox. To create this we simply double click on the ComboBox and it will be automatically created.
Private Sub ComboBoxCountry_Change() ' Get the value from the combo box Dim sCountry As String sCountry = ComboBoxCountry.Value ' Get the range Dim rg As Range Set rg = Sheet1.Range("A1:B196") ' Use VLookup to find the capital of the country TextBoxCapital.Value = _ WorksheetFunction.VLookup(sCountry, rg, 2) End Sub
When the user clicks Ok we write the selected values to the Results worksheet
Private Sub buttonOK_Click() With shResult ' Write the country the was selected .Range("A1") = ComboBoxCountry.Value ' Write the postion of the selected country .Range("A3") = ComboBoxCountry.ListIndex ' Write the capital of the country .Range("A2") = TextBoxCapital.Value End With ' Close the form Unload Me End Sub
VBA ComboBox – Full Example 2
A very commmon task to perform is to update a second ComboBox based on the selection of the first.
Imagine we have two ComboBoxes – one contains the name of a country and one has a list of three cities from that country.
When the user selects a country we update the city ComboBox with the cities from that country.
Our data is stored as follows
Anytime the Country ComboBox value is set to a country we update the City ComboBox to contain the three cities from that country. This happens in two places
- When we load the country combo box – the Initialize Event
- When the user selects a country – the Change Event
The code for these is as follows
Private Sub UserForm_Initialize() ' Add array to combobox ComboBoxCountry.List = shCity.Range("A1:A4").Value ComboBoxCountry.ListIndex = 0 ' Fill the city ComboBox FillCityCombo ComboBoxCountry.ListIndex End Sub Private Sub ComboBoxCountry_Change() ' Fill the city ComboBox FillCityCombo ComboBoxCountry.ListIndex End Sub
In both cases we call our FillCityCombo Sub to fill the city ComboBox. It takes one parameter which is the position of the current country selection.
We use the position value to count from the top row of our worksheet range.
Sub FillCityCombo(ByVal row As Long) ' Get the city range from the given row Dim rgCities As Range Set rgCities = shCity.Range("B2:D2").Offset(row) ' Clear current city list ComboBoxCity.Clear ' We transpose the range of columns e.g. B2:D2 to rows so ' we can add to the ComboBox ComboBoxCity.List = _ WorksheetFunction.Transpose(rgCities) ' Set the first city in list ComboBoxCity.ListIndex = 0 End Sub
The ListBox is used in almost the same way as the ComboBox. The code in the ComboBox section above will work for the ListBox also.
The ListBox Cheat Sheet
|AddItem||Add an item||listbox.AddItem "Spain"|
|Clear||Remove all Items||listbox.Clear|
|ColumnCount||Set the number of visible columns||ComboBox1.ColumnCount = 2|
|ColumnHeads||Make the column row visible||ComboBox1.ColumnHeads = True|
|List||Range to Listbox|
ListBox to Range
|Listbox.List = Range("A1:A4").Value
Range("A1:A4").Value = Listbox.List
|ListCount||Get the number of items||cnt = listbox.ListCount|
|ListIndex||Get/set selected item||Idx = listbox.ListIndex
combo.ListIndex = 0
|RemoveItem||Remove an item||listbox.Remove 1|
|RowSource||Add a range of values from a worksheet||ComboBox1.RowSource = Sheet1.Range("A2:B3").Address|
|Value||Get the value of selected Item||Dim sCountry As String
sCountry = listbox.Value
We can use the ListBox the same way as we used the ComboBox. The difference is how they are displayed
- The ListBox displays a list of available items to select.
- The ComboBox only displays the selected item. You have to click on the ComboBox to see the other available items.
The other major difference between them is that the ListBox allows multiple selections and the ComboBox doesn’t.
We can get all the selected items in the ListBox by reading through all the items and checking if each one is selected. In the code below we add all the selected items to a Collection.
' USERFROM CODE ' OK click event Private Sub buttonOk_Click() ' Get the user selections Set m_CollCountries = GetSelections ' Hide the UserForm Hide End Sub ' Returns the collection of countries Property Get Countries() As Collection Set Countries = m_CollCountries End Property ' Get the selections from the ListBox Private Function GetSelections() As Collection Dim collCountries As New Collection Dim i As Long ' Go through each item in the listbox For i = 0 To ListBoxCountry.ListCount - 1 ' Check if item at position i is selected If ListBoxCountry.Selected(i) Then ' Add item to our collection collCountries.Add ListBoxCountry.List(i) End If Next i Set GetSelections = collCountries End Function
' MAIN PROCEDURE CODE ' Sub to display the UserForm Sub DisplayMultiCountry() Dim frm As New UserFormCountryMulti frm.Show ' Print the collection PrintCollection frm.Countries End Sub ' Sub used to print a collection to the Immediate Window(Ctrl + G) Public Sub PrintCollection(ByRef coll As Collection) Debug.Print "The user selected the following countries:" Dim v As Variant For Each v In coll Debug.Print v Next End Sub
That concludes the two posts on UserForm(see first one here).
I hope you found them of benefit. If you have any questions or queries please feel free to add a comment or email me at Paul@ExcelMacroMastery.com.
If you want to read about more VBA topics you can view a complete list of my posts here. I also have a free eBook(see below) which you will find useful if you are new to VBA.
If you are serious about mastering VBA then you may want to check out Build 11 Full VBA Applications
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