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.
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.top, _ 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 Do 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 Next End Sub
Do you know the fastest way to learn foreign languages? It is to read, write, speak, and think in that language as often as possible. Apart from speaking, programming languages are no different. The more you immerse yourself in that language, the faster you will pick it up.
Therefore, what most people like you need is lots of examples that you can practice. That is why the 100 Excel VBA Macros eBook exists. It’s the book for all Excel users who want to learn how to read and write Excel macros, save time, and stand out from their peers. The book contains:
- 100 example codes to practice reading and writing macros that will embed the language into your thinking.
- An introduction to macros in Excel to ensure you can implement the VBA code in the book even if you have no prior knowledge.
- Consistent code layout between examples to enable you to understand the structure and easily customize the code to meet your needs.
- Downloadable workbook containing all the source code, so the examples can be added to your project to give you the benefit of VBA straight away.
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_”.
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 shp.Delete 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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If you’ve found this post useful, or if you have a better approach, then please leave a comment below.
Do you need help adapting this to your needs?
I’m guessing the examples in this post didn’t exactly meet 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:
- Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic. You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
- Ask the ‘Excel Ninja’ in your office. It’s amazing what things other people know.
- 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.
- Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner. They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.
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