Dialog Box and Dialog Box Launcher in Excel 2007

Input information and make choices about Excel worksheet features

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A dialog box in Excel 2007 is a screen where users input information and make choices about different aspects of the current worksheet or its content — such as data, charts, or graphic images. For example, the Sort dialog box allows users to set options such as:

  • The order of columns to sort by
  • Whether to sort in ascending or descending order
  • Choices to sort by values, cell color, and font color

Dialog Box Launcher

One way to open dialog boxes is to use the dialog box launcher, which 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 of the ribbon
  • The Charts group on the Insert tab
  • The Page Setup and Sheet Options groups on the Page Layout tab

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 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. Clicking on these down arrows opens a drop-down menu containing individual function names, and clicking on a function's name in the list opens its dialog box.

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

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 — can be found on single choice icons. The user clicks on these icons once to activate the feature and clicks a second time to turn the feature off.