Make a cell look like a button in Excel

Unhide all sheetsThere a sometimes in excel where you want to create a button but you don't want to introduce VB into your workbook (there are many reasons not to) - heres how.

I'm a great advocate of not using VBA / macros when you don't have to - they are not widely understood, easy to break when you alter the workbook and introduce a plethora of security issues. And with the newer versions of excel they can prove troublsome with users not enabling macros and saving the workbook in a non macro-enabled format (i.e. .xlsm).

Here is how to:

  • first pick the main coulour of the button and fill the cell. To make your first attempt simply select a colour in the middle of a shade range;
  • the open up the 'Format Cells' dialog, the easiest way; to do this is right-clicking the cell where you will see it in the context menu;
  • switch to the 'Border' tab;
  • in the Color dropdown box pick the shade lighter than your main fill colour;
  • select the middle weight solid line from the style selection;
  • in the border box click the top line and the left line;
  • repeat the previous three steps with a darker shade and the bottom and left lines;
  • click OK to see your creation;

You may want to go back at this point to tweak your colours and/or line thickness to get the best results.

This trick is best used with a hyperlink to open another document/webpage; link to a specified  place within the workbook or even to lanch a script or other program. See my blog post about how to properly set up a hyperlink.


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