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VBA code draw rectangles around selected cells

VBA Code Snippets

When creating reports, it is sometimes necessary to highlight cells to draw attention to them.  The most obvious method to achieve this is to change a Cell’s border color, I did that for many years.  It’s quick to apply, but the pain comes when it’s time to remove the color,  the formatting of every cell needs to be changed back on each box to it’s original style.

That’s where the following macros come into play.  Rather than applying cell border colors, it draws rectangle shapes around the selected cells.

Create the rectangles

First, select all the Cell ranges which you want to highlight.  You can even select multiple ranges all at the same time.  Run the Macro below.   Rectangles will be drawn perfectly around the selected cells.

Red Boxes VBA

VBA Code:

Sub addRedBox()

Dim redBox As Shape
Dim selectedAreas As Range
Dim i As Integer
Dim tempShape As Shape

'Loop through each selected area in active sheet
For Each selectedAreas In Selection.Areas

    'Create a rectangle
    Set redBox = ActiveSheet.Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeRectangle, _
        selectedAreas.left,, _
        selectedAreas.Width, selectedAreas.Height)

    'Change attributes of shape created
    redBox.Line.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(255, 0, 0)
    redBox.Line.Weight = 2
    redBox.Fill.Visible = msoFalse
    'Loop to find a unique shape name
        i = i + 1
        Set tempShape = Nothing
        On Error Resume Next
        Set tempShape = ActiveSheet.Shapes("RedBox_" & i)
        On Error GoTo 0
    Loop Until tempShape Is Nothing
    'Rename the shape
    redBox.Name = "RedBox_" & i

End Sub

Delete all the rectangles

Having created all the rectangles in the previous macro, we need a simply way to remove the boxes.

In the code above, every rectangle created was renamed to begin with “RedBox_”.  The following macro loops through all the shapes and deletes only those which begin with “RedBox_”.

VBA Code:

Sub deleteRedBox()

Dim shp As Shape

'Loop through each shape on active sheet
For Each shp In ActiveSheet.Shapes

    'Find shapes with a name starting with "RedBox_"
    If left(shp.Name, 7) = "RedBox_" Then

        'Delete the shape

    End If

Next shp


The whole point of these two macros is to apply and remove shapes quickly.  Therefore, I recommend saving these codes in your Personal Macrobook, and include them on a custom tab of the ribbon, then they will be available instantly at any time.

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About the author

Hey, I’m Mark, and I run Excel Off The Grid.

My parents tell me that at the age of 7 I declared I was going to become a qualified accountant. I was either psychic or had no imagination, as that is exactly what happened. However, it wasn't until I was 35 that my journey really began.

In 2015, I started a new job, for which I was regularly working after 10pm. As a result, I rarely saw my children during the week. So, I started searching for the secrets to automating Excel. I discovered that by building a small number of simple tools, I could combine them together in different ways to automate nearly all my regular tasks. This meant I could work less hours (and I got pay raises!). Today, I teach these techniques to other professionals in our training program so they too can spend less time at work (and more time with their children and doing the things they love).

Do you need help adapting this post to your needs?

I'm guessing the examples in this post don't exactly match your situation. We all use Excel differently, so it's impossible to write a post that will meet everybody's needs. By taking the time to understand the techniques and principles in this post (and elsewhere on this site), you should be able to adapt it to your needs.

But, if you're still struggling you should:

  1. Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic. You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
  2. Ask the 'Excel Ninja' in your office. It's amazing what things other people know.
  3. Ask a question in a forum like Mr Excel, or the Microsoft Answers Community. Remember, the people on these forums are generally giving their time for free. So take care to craft your question, make sure it's clear and concise.  List all the things you've tried, and provide screenshots, code segments and example workbooks.
  4. Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner. They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.

What next?
Don't go yet, there is plenty more to learn on Excel Off The Grid.  Check out the latest posts:

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