Anyone who has used a Form Control Label likely knows its limitations: you can’t increase the font-size, -color, or style. Below, you can see that these formatting items have been “grayed out” in the Font group on the Excel Ribbon.
To be sure, the Label control has received a lot of flack for these deficiencies. A look through some Excel forums shows suggestions to use a TextBox shape or an ActiveX Label instead of the hapless Label control.It’s a tragedy since the other form controls are lightweight and easy to use. Some forum posters even said Labels are best used to cover cells you don’t want the user to click. So sad.
But things are looking up. I’ve since discovered you can take a boring Label Control from this…
As it turns out, Labels take on the text-font and -size features of a referenced cell. So, to make my label look this this, I simply linked it to a pre-formatted cell, like G2, below.
In fact, this is the same mechanism to link a Textbox shape to a cell. The difference here is that a Textbox can take an unformatted cell and apply new formatting on the front-end, when it’s displayed to the user. Above, we see that the cell must first be formatted, then linked. In fact, whatever formatting exists in the cell when you first make the link, the label will maintain this format until a new link is created. For example, if I were to change G2 to a black color and a smaller font, the label would not show these new changes (however, it would change its text if I changed the value in G2 to something else). So to change the Label’s formatting — even when it’s linked to the same cell — you’ll need to click the label, click the formula bar, and retype the cell link.
Admittedly, everyone else might have already figured this one out. However, I’m still very excited. Don’t get me wrong, Textbox Shapes are great, but having too many could become expensive on your spreadsheet, especially if you are constantly updating the screen (how many redraws can your computer handle before things start to slow?). Labels, as Form Controls, inherently carry less bloat and overhead. They’re perfect for dynamic dashboards.