Dialog boxes

Some of the Ribbon commands display a dialog box. In many cases, these dialog boxes contain additional controls that aren't available in the Ribbon.

You'll find two general classes of dialog boxes in Excel:

■ Modal dialog boxes: When a modal dialog box is displayed, it must be closed in order to execute the commands. An example is the Format Cells dialog box. None of the options you specify are executed until you click OK. Use the Cancel button to close the dialog box without making any changes.

■ Modeless dialog boxes: These are "stay on top" dialog boxes. For example, if you're working with a chart using the Format dialog box, changes that you make are reflected immediately in the chart. Modeless dialog boxes usually have a Close button rather than an OK button and a Cancel button.

Many of Excel's dialog boxes use a notebook tab metaphor, which makes a single dialog box function as several different dialog boxes. In older dialog boxes, the tabs are usually along the top. But in newer dialog boxes (such as the one shown in Figure 2-11), the tabs are along the left side.

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Figure 2-11: Tabbed dialog boxes make many options accessible without overwhelming the user.

Developers can create custom dialog boxes by using the UserForm feature. As you'll see, it's possible to create a wide variety of dialog boxes, including tabbed dialog boxes.

CROSS- Refer to Part IV for information about creating and working with UserForms.

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