How to Create a Button in Microsoft Excel That Opens a Calculator

Updated on January 8, 2020
Joshua Crowder profile image

Joshua has work experience in manufacturing, distribution, and aerospace. He received his BBA in accounting from Kent State University.

The Windows Calculator

The Microsoft calculator is very useful. There are four different types of calculators to choose from in the setting of the application. You can also change the calculator to convert currency, volume and number of other metrics.
The Microsoft calculator is very useful. There are four different types of calculators to choose from in the setting of the application. You can also change the calculator to convert currency, volume and number of other metrics.

In this tutorial we look at how to activate the default Windows calculator form an Excel spreadsheet. This trick is for all of you Microsoft users that want to have the advantage of having a short cut for frequent calculator use. That is, if you can stand using the Windows calculator. It only takes a few steps to add a macro to a button to complete the setup. With that in mind, let’s get started.

Activate the Developer Tab

To have access to the tools that allow you to create a button you must enable the developer tab on the Excel ribbon. If you will need to do this if you want to follow along and complete each step. To learn how to add the developer open up this link in another browser tab.

Adding the Developer Tab

Microsoft Excel Developer Tab

The developer tab opens up a world of options for an Excel user. With the use of these hidden tools, you can automate processes, have access to XML options, manage Excel add-ins and manage Visual Basic Code.
The developer tab opens up a world of options for an Excel user. With the use of these hidden tools, you can automate processes, have access to XML options, manage Excel add-ins and manage Visual Basic Code.

Select a Button a to Add to the Spreadsheet

To add a button to the spreadsheet, click on the developer tab in the ribbon. Navigate to the controls section and select the insert button. Choose the button in the upper left-hand corner of the form controls section as shown in the illustration below.

The insert tabs holds allow you to insert objects into your worksheets. You can create buttons, combo boxes, check boxes, list boxes, combo list and several other features. Using these tools gives you practice as a developer.
The insert tabs holds allow you to insert objects into your worksheets. You can create buttons, combo boxes, check boxes, list boxes, combo list and several other features. Using these tools gives you practice as a developer.

Draw a Box

Immediately after the button is clicked you need to draw an outline of a square of a rectangle with your cursor to complete the creation of the button. This will determine the size and location of the button. To do so, left click on your mouse and hold the button while you drawl your shape. Once this is complete a new window will appear.

Assign the Macro

The assign macro window give you the options start a new macro by recording to your button or add Visual Basic code to your button. To add functionality to a button one of these options needs to be selected. Recording a macro also create a macro code
The assign macro window give you the options start a new macro by recording to your button or add Visual Basic code to your button. To add functionality to a button one of these options needs to be selected. Recording a macro also create a macro code

Assign Macro Code to the Button

After the assign macro window appears, choose a name for your macro and select the new button. Doing so will open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window. Here you can add the code located below that will activate the windows calculator application. Make sure that you keep the first line of codes where your button name appears and disregard the first line of code below.

Sub OpenCalculator()
Application.ActivateMicrosoftApp Index:=0
End Sub

After the code is inserted into the Visual Basic application, the Visual Basic window can be closed.

Add the Visual Basic Code

There are plenty of types of processes in Excel that can be automated by creating Visual Basic code. With a thorough understanding of Visual Basic coding you can develop your own sub programs from scratch to run in Excel to create automation.
There are plenty of types of processes in Excel that can be automated by creating Visual Basic code. With a thorough understanding of Visual Basic coding you can develop your own sub programs from scratch to run in Excel to create automation.

Changing the Label of the Button

To change the label on your button left clicking on the default text in the button and your cursor will appear in the button allowing you to edit. For this example I’d like to change the name of my button button label to Calculator so people know that it will call up a calculator. To change other properties of the button right click on it and choose format control. This will give you all of the design tools available to change the text design of button and make other property changes.

Saving the Excel Workbook as a Macro-Enabled Workbook

In order for assigned macro to function, the workbook must be saved as a macro-Enabled Excel workbook. To do so, click on the file tab and select save as. You can see and example of this selected highlighted in the illustration below. saving make sure you save the workbook with the selection outlined in red in the illustration below.

Save as a Macro-Enabled Workbook

As you can see by the list generated from the save as button, Excel workbooks can be turned into a vast amount of file types. This can aid you depending you what type of report you need to create or in this case the type of function that you need to
As you can see by the list generated from the save as button, Excel workbooks can be turned into a vast amount of file types. This can aid you depending you what type of report you need to create or in this case the type of function that you need to

To learn more about using Excel macros for business applications I recommend the following book. I have been using the Excel Bible for years to improve my understanding of all aspects of this Microsoft product.

The Excel 2019 Bible

References

Crowder, J. (2020, January 1). How to Add the Developer Tab in Excel. Retrieved January 1, 2020, from https://youtu.be/nskuG6pK5ig.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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    © 2019 Joshua Crowder

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