The Dialog Box and Dialog Box Launcher in Excel

Input information and make choices about Excel worksheet features

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A dialog box in Excel is a screen where you input information and make choices about different aspects of the current worksheet or its content, such as data, charts, and graphic images.

Note The information in this article applies to Excel versions 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Excel for Mac.

Find the Dialog Box Launcher

One way to open dialog boxes is to use the dialog box launcher. The launcher is a small downward-pointing arrow located in the bottom right corner of individual groups or boxes on the ribbon.

Examples of groups with a dialog box launcher include:

  • The Font and Number groups on the Home tab
  • The Charts group on the Insert tab
  • The Page Setup and Sheet Options groups on the Page Layout tab

Access Function Dialog Boxes

Not all dialog box launchers in Excel are found in the corner of ribbon groups. Some, such as those found under the Formulas tab, are associated with individual icons on the ribbon.

The dialog box makes it easy to enter information related to the function's arguments, such as the location of data and other input options.

The Formulas tab in Excel contains groups of functions that have similar purposes in the Function Library. Each group name has a dialog box launcher associated with it. When you select these down arrows, a drop-down menu opens and displays individual function names. Selecting a function's name in the list opens its dialog box.

Work with Non-Dialog Box Options

It is not always necessary to access features and options in Excel through a dialog box. For example, many of the formatting features found on the Home tab of the ribbon, such as the bold feature, are found on single choice icons. Select these icons once to activate the feature and select a second time to turn the feature off.