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Adding the Bells and Whistles: Creating Spin Buttons in Excel

A spin button looks like this:

The point of spin buttons is to enhance the interactivity of your spreadsheet. Pressing the up arrow
increases the value of the cell linked to the button by 1 while the down arrow decreases the value by 1.
These are pretty easy to create.

Im going to walk you through a simple example: To calculate the price of a perpetual stream of cash
flows C from now and ever after. The formula for the price is C/r where r is the discount rate. Were
going to add spin buttons to the cell linked to the discount rate.

Step 0: Download the base Excel sheet called Spin button.xlsx from Owlspace

The first worksheet contains the base material for this example (Spin base), the second sheet contains
the completed example (Spin complete). Spin base is below.

Step 1: Make sure that the developer tab is visible

In Excel 2010 or 2013, go to Options under the File menu. Check the box for developer on the
Customize Ribbon menu. For Excel 2007, click the Office Button in the top left corner of your
screen, then click Excel Options button at the bottom of the drop down. In the section Top options for
working with Excel make sure that the option Show Developer tab in Ribbon is checked.
Step 2: Insert the Spin Button

The developer tab should now be visible as part of the menu (or ribbon as Microsoft now likes to call it)
on top of your screen. Click on Developer followed by Insert in the Controls section of the menu.

Click on the up and down arrow symbol under Form Controls for the spin button (top row, third from
right). Then point the cursor cross-hairs to where you want to place the top left corner of the spin
button, click and drag to the lower right corner and release. Youve got your spin button! You can resize
the row so that the spin button is large enough to see and yet fits inside a cell.
Step 3: Define the cell linked to the button

Right click the spin button, and select Format Control from the menu. In Cell link option select cell C3.

Click Ok. You will find that hitting the top arrow causes the value in C3 to increase by 1. We have a small
problem though we want r to be defined as a percent and to increase by 1% or 0.01 and not by 1 (the
spin button only allows integer-valued increments). The solution is to define B3 as C3/100. Now as you
click the up arrow, B3 will increase by 1%. Make sure that the formula for price in B5 refers to B3 not C3.

Were done!