Working with Dialog Boxes

Any time you select a menu command that's followed by an ellipsis, Excel displays a dialog box. Think of a dialog box as a form that you need to complete and verify for Excel to continue. Figure 1.9 shows a dialog box and some of its standard elements.

Figure 1.9. The Print dialog box contains typical dialog box elements.


Each dialog box contains one or more of the following elements:

  • Command buttons appear in every dialog box. OK, Cancel, and Apply are commonly used in dialog boxes.

  • List boxes provide two or more available choices. You select the item you want by clicking it.

  • Check boxes let you turn options on or off. Click inside a check box to turn an option off if it's on (and vice versa). If multiple check boxes are displayed together, you can choose more than one option.

  • Option buttons work a lot like check boxes, except that you can select only one option in a group. Clicking one option deselects the currently selected option.

  • Text boxes are "fill in the blank" boxes. Click inside a text box to activate it and replace the current text, if any, with your entry.

  • Spin boxes are used to change the contents of a text box. To change what's displayed, click the up or down arrow to change the setting.

  • Tabs appear across the top of some dialog boxes and offer selections of related options or functions. Click a tab to see a list of options relative to the specific tab.

    Part I: Excel Basics