In Office 2011 for Mac, Excel has a special kind of sheet called a dialog sheet, on which you can make an input form such as the one you see when you’re in an Excel 2011 for Mac table and choose Data→Form. You can probably make one much nicer if you put your mind to it. Another use for dialog sheets is to make your own wizards.

Dialog sheets gain new prominence by having their form controls exposed on the Ribbon in Excel 2011. Beginning with Excel 98, VBA Userforms largely replaced dialog sheets. The Text Box, Combo List Edit, and Combo Dropdown Edit form controls found on the Developer tab of the Ribbon can be placed only on a dialog sheet.

Making a dialog sheet in Excel 2011 for Mac

Making a dialog sheet is easy! Choose Insert→Sheet→Dialog Sheet to display a new, default dialog sheet cleverly called Dialog 1. Notice that all of the Form Controls on the Developer tab of the Ribbon.

The rest of this chapter requires VBA (visual basic applications). It covers essential things you must do in Excel 2011 to make full use of dialog sheets.

Running a dialog sheet in Excel 2011 for Mac

After you place controls onto a dialog sheet, you run the sheet to use the controls. There's a catch! The Run button isn't on the Ribbon or even in the Customize Toolbars and Menus dialog. You can find the Run button on the free Excel 2011 MVP Toolbar.

  • Run Dialog: To make a dialog sheet work, you have to run it. Clicking this button runs the dialog while you’re building your form. Usually you exit a dialog using a control, but you can also press the Esc key. After you’ve finished making your dialog, you would have a macro run it. Developers tend to hide dialog sheets (Format→Sheet→Hide) and display them only when they are needed.

  • Design Mode: Click this toggle button to enter or exit Design mode.

  • Edit Code: Select a control, and then click this button to view or edit the VBA code associated with the selected control in the VB Editor (VBE).

  • Control Properties: Select a control and then click this button to display the Format Control properties dialog for the selected control.

Now you have everything you need to make and edit dialog sheets. Examples of how to program dialog sheets are on the Internet and in books dealing with programming for Excel version 5.