Excel Macros (VBA) and tips for beginners. Simplified macros are used here for easy understanding.

Last updated:  07-04-2010


Auto Run           (back to top)
Making your macros run automatically when opening your workbook. You can either use the Auto Open method or the Workbook Open method. These macros will display the message "Hello" when you open the workbook.

Sub Auto_Open()
Msgbox "Hello"
End Sub

This code would be located in the module. However if you use the second method, the code must be in the workbook (double click "This Workbook" in the explorer window). Click on the drop down list (that says General) and select Workbook. Click on the drop down list (that says declarations) and select Open.

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
Msgbox "Hello"
End Sub


Active Cell            (back to top)
An active cell is the current cell that is selected. This term is used in many macros. This can be used as a marker. A good example is when you need to move from your current cell. Refer to Moving your cursor macro.




Active Next Window            (back to top)
Actives the next window



Active Previous Window            (back to top)
Actives the previous window



Adding Items to a combobox            (back to top)
To add a combobox refer to User Form. To populate a combobox or a listbox is the same. You could add from the code or even from a range of cells in your spreadsheet. To add from the code, just add this line to your code.

ComboBox1.AddItem "Product A"
ComboBox1.AddItem "Product B"


AutoFilter  Turn On           (back to top)
Use the following code to turn on an AutoFilter, if none exists
Sub TurnAutoFilterOn()
  If Not ActiveSheet.AutoFilterMode Then   'check for filter, turn on if none exists
  End If
End Sub
AutoFilter  Turn Off           (back to top)
Use the following code to turn off an AutoFilter, if none exists
Sub TurnAutoFilterOff()
  Worksheets("Data").AutoFilterMode = False   'removes Autofilter, if none exists
End Sub

Calculating    (prevent)      (back to top)
Preventing calculation while executing code.

Sub NoCalculations()
Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
'Your code here.
Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
End Sub



Carriage Return          (back to top)
Sometimes you may want to put a line of text on the next row and not let it continue on the first row. See this example in a message box.

Sub TwoLines() 
MsgBox "Line 1" &  vbCrLf & "Line 2" 
End Sub


Close All Files [23/3/2009]           (back to top)
Sometimes you may want to close all files without saving.
Doing it manually is a hassle with the question "Do you wanna save?"

Sub CloseAll()
Application.DisplayAlerts = False
myTotal = Workbooks.Count
For i = 1 To myTotal
Next i
End Sub


Counting Rows & Columns & Sheets    (back to top)                
When you have selected a range, it is sometimes useful to know how many rows or columns you have selected as this information can be used in your macros (for eg when you have reached the end, you will know it is time to stop the macros. This macro will do the trick.

Sub Count()
mycount = Selection.Rows.Count    'Change Rows to Columns to count columns
MsgBox mycount
End Sub

The next macro counts the number of sheets instead. Refer to Protecting all sheets macro which uses this method.

Sub Count2()
mycount = Application.Sheets.Count
MsgBox mycount
End Sub


Copying A Range        (back to top)
Copy data from a specific range can be done with this macro. Here data is copied from the current sheet to the activecell. (Refer to Active Cell)

Sub CopyRange()
Range("A1:A3").Copy Destination:=ActiveCell
End Sub

To copy from a range in another sheet (eg Sheet3) to the active cell you need to change the code to;

Sheets("sheet3").Range("A1:A3").Copy Destination:=ActiveCell


Counter       (back to top)
To use a counter in your macro, just assign any cell to retain the value. In this example the cell A1 is chosen. Each time the macro is run, it adds the value 1 to the cell A1.

            Sub Count()
            mycount = Range("a1") + 1
            Range("a1") = mycount
            End Sub



Current Date       (back to top)
It's a good idea to insert the current date when you save the file so that you can tell if it's the latest version. Of course this is shown under file properties but how many people know where to find it? You could also put the current date in the footer of your print out. It is ideal if the date does not change unless the file is saved. You can use this code. (On the drop down list that says declaration, select before save and you will see the 1st line of code shown below - more details refer to Auto Run macro.)

Private Sub Workbook_BeforeSave(ByVal SaveAsUI As Boolean,  Cancel As Boolean)
Range("A1") = Now        'Select any cell you want 
End Sub


Current Cell Content     (back to top)
Sometimes we need to know what the cell contains ie dates, text or formulas before taking a course of action. In this example a message box is displayed. Replace this with a macro should you require another course of action.

Sub ContentChk()
If Application.IsText(ActiveCell) = True Then
MsgBox "Text"             'replace this line with your macro
If ActiveCell = "" Then
MsgBox "Blank cell"    'replace this line with your macro
End If
If ActiveCell.HasFormula Then
MsgBox "formula"         'replace this line with your macro
End If
If IsDate(ActiveCell.Value) = True Then
MsgBox "date"               'replace this line with your macro
End If
End If
End Sub


Current Cell Position        (back to top)
Sometimes we need to know the current cell position. This would do the trick.

Sub MyPosition()
myRow = ActiveCell.Row
myCol = ActiveCell.Column
Msgbox myRow & "," & myCol
End Sub


Deleting Empty Rows        (back to top)
To delete empty rows in a selected range we can use the following macro. The macro here uses the For Next Loop. First the macro counts the rows in a selected range to determine the when the macro should stop. The For Next statement acts as a counter.

Sub DelEmptyRow()
Rng = Selection.Rows.Count
ActiveCell.Offset(0, 0).Select
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
For i = 1 To Rng
If ActiveCell.Value = "" Then    'You can replace "" with 0 to delete rows with 'the value zero
ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Select
End If
Next i
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub

The statement "Application.ScreenUpdating = False" prevents the screen from updating to ensure the macro runs faster and the screen will not flicker. Don't forget to set it back to "True".




Deleting Range Names         (back to top)
To delete all the range names in your workbook, this macro will do the trick.

Sub DeleteNames()
Dim NameX As Name
For Each NameX In Names
Next NameX
End Sub 


Duplicates (Highlight duplicates in Bold Red)       (back to top)
There are times you need to highlight duplicate data in your worksheet. This macro does the trick. 

Sub DupsRed() 
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Rng = Selection.Rows.Count
For i = Rng To 1 Step -1
myCheck = ActiveCell
ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Select
For j = 1 To i
If ActiveCell = myCheck Then
Selection.Font.Bold = True
Selection.Font.ColorIndex = 3
End If
ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Select
Next j
ActiveCell.Offset(-i, 0).Select
Next i
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub


Emailing Workbook        (back to top)
To email your current workbook the following code.

Sub Email()
ActiveWorkbook.SendMail recipients:="julsn@yahoo.com"
End Sub


EDIT macros           (back to top)
Refer to Text Manipulation.




Errors in macros            (back to top)
Ever had a macro running perfectly one day and the next day errors keep on popping up even though you never made changes to that macro? This is no fault of yours. Due to the excel VBA design, macro files get badly fragmented due to heavy editing of macros, insertion of modules & userforms. What you need to do is copy your macros else where, delete the macros, save the file without macros. Open the file again and import the macros and save it once more with the macros. You macros will run properly until it gets fragmented again at a later stage. 




Error Trapping            (back to top)
Trapping errors are important as users can do marvelous things to mess up you macros. Here you can use either of these 2 statements.
         - On Error Resume Next   OR 
         - On Error Goto ErrorTrap1
            ... more lines of code
            ... more code (what to do if there is an error)
The first statement will allow the macro to continue the next line of code upon hitting an error but the second statement will run an alternative code should there be an error.




Excel Functions           (back to top)
Using Excel functions in VBA is almost the same as using them in a spreadsheet. For example to round an amount to 2 decimal places in a spreadsheet would be;
In VBA you would need to use the term Application followed by the function ie;
            ActiveCell = Application.round(ActiveCell, 2)
For more examples
see Rounding Numbers.




Expiry Dates for Workbook / Macro         (back to top)
See Security in Excel.




For, Next Loop        (back to top)
See Deleting Empty Rows or Protect All Sheets. A point to note is, try not to use the For, Next loop because this method is very slow unless of course you don't know how to write your macro another way.




Find the next available row      (back to top)
The code is not restricted to any specific column and will find the true last row with data in a spreadsheet and then selects the cell in column A for which the entire  row is empty.

If WorksheetFunction.CountA(Cells) > 0 Then

            'Search for any entry, by searching backwards by Rows.

            LastRow = Cells.Find(What:="*", After:=[A1], SearchOrder:=xlByRows, SearchDirection:=xlPrevious).Row

    End If

LastRow = LastRow + 1

Range("$A$" & LastRow).Select



Flickering Screen        (back to top)
Sometimes when you run a macro, the screen flickers a lot due to the screen updating itself. This slows the macro done especially when the macro has a lot of work to do. You need to include the statement as shown below.
see Deleting Empty Rows

Application.ScreenUpdating = False

You need to set the screen updating back to true at the end of the macro.




Functions           (back to top)
Creating function is useful as complicated formulas can be made easier in code than in a spread sheet. Formulas can be protected so that users cannot see or modify them. The example I use will calculate tax using the Select Case Statement. Here's the scenario.
First $2500 is tax free.
Next $2500 is taxable at 5%.
Anything above $5000 is taxable at 10%.
In cell A1 type Income and in cell B1 type in your income in numbers say $20000.
In cell A2 type Tax payable and in cell B2 type =tax(B1).
Put the following code in a module. The tax payable here would be $1625.

            Public Function tax(income As Single)
            Select Case income
            Case Is <= 2500
            tax = 0
            Case Is <= 5000
            tax = (5000 - 2500) * 0.05
            'in this case is 125
            Case Else
            tax = (income - 5000) * 0.1 + 125
            End Select
            End Function




Goto (a range)          (back to top)
To specify a macro to go to a specific range you can use the Goto method. Here I have already named a range in my worksheet called "Sales". You may also use an alternative method ie the Range select method. Naming a range in excel is recommended rather than specifying an absolute cell reference.

Sub GoHere()
Application.Goto Reference:="Sales"    OR    Range("Sales").Select
End Sub



Going to the 1st Sheet     (back to top)        
You can select the first sheet of the workbook without knowing the name of the sheet by referring to it by the index.

Sub FirstSheet()
End Sub



GoTo Sheet  [28-04-2005] (back to top)        
Sometimes we have many sheets or sheets with long names & we cannot view them all. You can select which sheet
to go to by using this macro.

Sub Go2sheet()
myShts = ActiveWorkbook.Sheets.Count
For i = 1 To myShts
myList = myList & i & " - " & ActiveWorkbook.Sheets(i).Name & " " & vbCr
Next i
Dim mySht As Single
mySht = InputBox("Select sheet to go to." & vbCr & vbCr & myList)
End Sub


Hiding Sheets       (back to top)
To hide your worksheet from users you can use the following code.

Sub HideSheet()
Sheet1.Visible = xlSheetVeryHidden
End Sub

If you hide your sheets this way, users will not be able to unhide them using the menus. Only using VB codes will be able to display the sheets again.




Hiding Excel    (back to top)        
You can hide the Excel application with this macro. This disables the user from using the excel menus. Don't forget to set it back to visible.

Sub HideExcel()
Application.Visible = False
End Sub



Input Box            (back to top)
When you need to get input from users, you can use input boxes. This macro will ask for the user's name and will display a message "Hello" plus the user's name.

Sub GetInput()
Dim MyInput        'This line of code is optional
MyInput = InputBox("Enter your name")
MsgBox ("Hello ") & MyInput
End Sub



Inserting Rows       (back to top)
To insert rows required by a user is easy. Here the input box is used so that a user can define the number of rows required.

Sub InsertRow()
Dim Rng
Rng = InputBox("Enter number of rows required.")
Range(ActiveCell.Offset(0, 0), ActiveCell.Offset(Rng - 1, 0)).Select
End Sub

Here the macro uses the range technique where a range is first selected and then subsequently rows are inserted.




IF, Then Statement        (back to top)
See Protect All Sheets




Joining Text Together         (back to top)
There are times where we import text file into Excel an we get text that are separated. I received an email asking how put these text together. Select across your cells first and run this macro.

Sub JoinText()
myCol = Selection.Columns.Count 
For i = 1 To myCol 
ActiveCell = ActiveCell.Offset(0, 0) & ActiveCell.Offset(0, i) 
ActiveCell.Offset(0, i) = "" 
Next i 
End Sub



Killing Files       (back to top)
Killing or deleting files is easy. However the files must not be in used.

Sub Killfile()
Dim MyFile As String    'This line of code is optional
On Error Resume Next  'On hitting errors, code resumes next code  
MyFile = "c:\folder\filename.xls"    
kill MyFile
End Sub

Wildcards can be use. Replace the file name with * (use with caution!).




Killing The Current File       (back to top)
Killing the current file you need to change it's status to read only.

Sub Killed()
ThisWorkbook.ChangeFileAccess xlReadOnly
Kill ThisWorkbook.FullName
ThisWorkbook.Close False
End Sub



Last Available Row [23/3/2009]       (back to top)
Many users need to know the next available row to input data.
This code locates the next available row in column A

Sub LastRow()
Range("a65536").End(xlUp).Offset(1, 0).Select
End Sub


Lower Case        (back to top)
To change text in a selected range to lower case use this code.

Sub LowerCase()
Dim cell As Range
For Each cell In Selection.Cells
If cell.HasFormula = False Then
cell = LCase(cell)
End If
End Sub



Message Box           (back to top)
When you need to communicate with users, you can use message boxes. This macro will display a message "This macro is created by Mark". The Message Box appearance can be customised to show whether it is Information, Critical Messages. Here the icon in the message box would be different. The buttons can also be customise to show extra Yes, No, Ok buttons. (Refer to vbYesNo macro). This macro will show you 3 different styles.

Sub MyMessage()
MsgBox "This macro is created by Mark"
MsgBox "The icon is different", vbInformation
MsgBox "The top title is different", vbExclamation, "Mark's Tips"
End Sub



Modeless Forms           (back to top)
Sometimes you want to allow users to be able to switch between your form and your spreadsheet by clicking on either one. All you need to do is set the form property of Show Modal to False or you can try this. However this is only for Excel 2000 & above.

Sub myForm() 
UserForm.show vbModeless
End Sub



Moving your cursor           (back to top)
Sometimes you need to move your cursor around your worksheet to re-position it before running the next step of a macro. The movement here uses the row, column position method.

Sub Down()
ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Select
End Sub
Sub up()
ActiveCell.Offset(-1, 0).Select
End Sub
Sub Right()
ActiveCell.Offset(0, 1).Select
End Sub
Sub Left()
ActiveCell.Offset(0, -1).Select
End Sub



Prevent Calculating      (back to top)
Preventing calculation while executing code.

Sub NoCalculations()
Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
'Your code here.
Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
End Sub



Protecting / Unprotecting a sheet           (back to top)
The macros below will protect/unprotect the current worksheet with a password.

Sub ProtectSheet()
Dim Password    'This line of code is optional
Password = "1234"
ActiveSheet.Protect Password, True, True, True
End Sub
Sub UnProtectSheet()
Password = "1234"
ActiveSheet.Unprotect Password
End Sub



Protecting all sheets            (back to top)
To protect all the sheets this macro uses all the methods contained in this page (see counting sheets). The If, Then statement is also used here. This tests for a condition and if the condition is TRUE, then the macro continuous the next line of code. In this case it will END the macro. If the condition is NOT TRUE, then it will go to the following line which in this case is to select the next sheet. You will also notice the For, Next statement is also used. This acts as a counter to tell the macro how many loops to run. In this case if there are 3 sheets, the macro will run 3 times protecting all the 3 sheets.

Sub protectAll()
Dim myCount          'This line of code is optional
Dim i                     'This line of code is optional
myCount = Application.Sheets.Count
Sheets(1).Select    'This line of code selects the 1st sheet
For i = 1 To myCount
If i = myCount Then
End If
Next i
End Sub



Protecting your VB code           (back to top)
To protect your VB code from being seen by others, all you need to do is go to the project explorer, point at your project and right click on it. Select VBA project properties, click on the protection tab and check the Lock project for viewing and key your password. That's it.




Random numbers           (back to top)
For macros to generate random numbers, the code is takes this format - Int ((upperbound - lowerbound +1) * Rnd + lowerbound). Where the Upperbound is the largest number random number to be generated and Lowerbound is the lowest.

Sub RandomNo()
MyNumber = Int((49 - 1 + 1) * Rnd + 1)
MsgBox ("The random number is ") & (MyNumber)
End Sub

In this case the random numbers that will be generate is between 1 and 49.




Range Names           (back to top)
Assigning range names to a range of cells.

Sub RngName()
Selection.Name = "myRange"
End Sub



Resizing a Range           (back to top)
Resizing a range is simple. You can apply this to inserting rows & columns or to expand a selected range. This macro resizes the range to 7 rows by 7 columns.

Sub ResizeRng()
End Sub



Rounding Numbers        (back to top)
Here I will show how to perform different types of rounding. Key in 12345 in any active cell and run the following code.

Sub Round()
ActiveCell = Application.round(ActiveCell, -3)
End Sub

This code round to the nearest 1000 thus giving the value 12000.

          ActiveCell = Application.Ceiling(ActiveCell, 1000)
            Replace with this line of code and it will round up to the next 1000 ie 13000
            ActiveCell = Application.Floor(ActiveCell, 1000)
            Replace with this line of code and it will round down to the next 1000 ie 12000




Running A Sub Routine            (back to top)
To run another macro from within a macro you need to use the Call statement.

Sub Macro1()
Msgbox("This is Macro1")
Call Macro2    'This calls for Macro2 to run
End Sub



Save Date  [15-08-2005]           (back to top)
There are times you may want to change the date in a cell while saving your file.
Add this code to "thisworkbook"

Private Sub Workbook_BeforeSave(ByVal SaveAsUI As Boolean, Cancel As Boolean)
Worksheets("sheet1").Range("a1").Value = Now
End Sub



Saving a file [23/3/2009]            (back to top)
There are times you may want a macro to save a file automatically after running a macro. The second macro will save the file with a name called "MyFile". You may specify the path if you need to. The last macro saves all opened workbooks.

Sub Save()
End Sub

Sub SaveName()
ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs Filename:="C:\MyFile.xls"
End Sub

Sub SaveAll()
myFile = ActiveWorkbook.Name
Do While myFile <> ActiveWorkbook.Name
End Sub


Security in Excel            (back to top)
Level 1 - To protect your excel files, there are a few steps required to make it more difficult for other users to by pass security. To prevent changes made to the worksheet, you need to protect your worksheet. See protecting sheets. To prevent sheets from being renamed, moved or deleted, protect the workbook. However protection of worksheets and workbook can easily be hacked using macros as shown by an Excel developer. I believe the next level of protection is protecting your macros. To protect your macros, point at your project in the explorer window, right click on it and select VBA project properties, click on the Protection tab, check on Lock Project for Viewing and next key in your password and you're done. Now the project cannot be viewed or amended.

Level 2 - The next step is to force the user to enable your macro when opening your file. The best way is to use a macro to hide the important sheets (see Hiding sheets) when saving your file. Upon opening the file, a macro will be used to unhide these sheets. If the user disables the macros when opening the worksheet, they will not be able to view your worksheet unless they allow the macro to run.

Level 3 - The final step is to put an expiry date for your worksheet or your macro. However this has a draw back as the user may change the system date of the computer to by pass the step. Alternatively you can use a counter (Refer Counter Macro) to allow a fixed number of access to your worksheet or macro. Here you need to save the counter value each time the file or macro is used. Upon reaching the defined limit, disable the macro or disable the access of your worksheet.

The steps mentioned above are not 100% fool proof. But it will keep normal users out but not hackers and crackers. Here I will not supply the code as this can be lengthy and may be difficult to understand but I believe these steps may be useful to some of you out there.




Select Case Statement          (back to top)
This is a useful statement to use when you have many conditions. Too many IFs in your code will only make you more confuse.
See Functions macro.




Send Message          (back to top)
Send mail message from a userform.

' You should create a reference to the Outlook Object Library in the VBEditor
Sub Send_Msg()
Dim objOL As New Outlook.Application
Dim objMail As MailItem
Set objOL = New Outlook.Application
Set objMail = objOL.CreateItem(olMailItem)
With objMail
.To = "name@domain.com"                                             'Put your e-mail adress here.
.Subject = "Automated Mail Response"                              'You can put a pre-defined subject here.
.Body = "This is an automated message from Excel. " & _     'You can put e pre-defined message body here.
"The cost of the item that you inquired about is: " & _
Format(Range("A1").Value, "$ #,###.#0") & "."                  'You can transfer info into your message body.
End With
Set objMail = Nothing
Set objOL = Nothing
End Sub



Sentence Case [06-06-2005]       (back to top)
To change text in a selected range to sentence case use this code.

Sub SentenceCase()
For Each cell In Selection.Cells
s = cell.Value
Start = True
For i = 1 To Len(s)
ch = Mid(s, i, 1)
      Select Case ch
      Case "."
      Start = True
      Case "?"
      Start = True
      Case "a" To "z"
      If Start Then ch = UCase(ch): Start = False
      Case "A" To "Z"
      If Start Then Start = False Else ch = LCase(ch)
      End Select
Mid(s, i, 1) = ch
cell.Value = s
End Sub


Select Data Range [03-03-2006]       (back to top)
This is a useful when you need to select the whole range of data to copy to another sheet (especially a large range).

Sub SelAllData()
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Dim myLastRow As Long
Dim myLastColumn As Long
 On Error Resume Next
    myLastRow = Cells.Find("*", [A1], , , xlByRows, xlPrevious).Row
    myLastColumn = Cells.Find("*", [A1], , , xlByColumns, xlPrevious).Column
    myLastCell = Cells(myLastRow, myLastColumn).Address
myRange = "a1:" & myLastCell
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
End Sub



Text Manipulation           (back to top)
I received many queries regarding text manipulation. Here are some useful text functions which you could use to EDIT your text.

Sub myEdit() 
MsgBox Left("abcd", 2)        'Displays 2 characters from Left
MsgBox Right("abcd", 2)     'Displays 2 characters from Right
MsgBox Len("abcd")            'Displays number of characters 
End Sub



Timer           (back to top)
To create a macro to measure time before executing the next line of code use this simple code.

Sub timer()
Application.Wait Now + TimeValue("00:00:10")
MsgBox ("10 sec has elasped")
End Sub



Title Case            (back to top)
To change text in a selected range to title case use this code.

Sub TitleCase()
Dim cell As Range
For Each cell In Selection.Cells
If cell.HasFormula = False Then
cell = Application.Proper(cell)
End If
End Sub



Top of the screen          (back to top)
To make the activecell be at the top of the screen & to the left on the screen try this.

Sub TopLeft()
With ActiveWindow
.ScrollColumn = ActiveCell.Column 
.ScrollRow = ActiveCell.Row
End With
End Sub



Upper Case        (back to top)
To change text in a selected range to upper case use this code.

Sub UpperCase()
Dim cell As Range
For Each cell In Selection.Cells
If cell.HasFormula = False Then
cell = UCase(cell)
End If
End Sub



User Forms               (back to top)
Adding user forms in your macro is simple. With user forms you can create GUIs (Graphical User Interface) for user who do not have much excel knowledge and make you excel programs more professional looking. Go to your Visual Basic Editor window & click on Insert, select user form and a user for will appear along with the toolbox. Now you can add labels, buttons, text boxes and many more items. The property window will allow you to customise your user form. To display your user form use this code.

UserForm1.show    'to close with a macro
Unload Me
           'to close the form with a macro  



vbYesNo          (back to top)
There are times you may want users to click Yes or No. Just insert this line of code. Here the Select Case statement is used.

YesNo = MsgBox("This macro will ... Do you want to continue?", vbYesNo + vbCritical, "Caution")
Select Case YesNo
Case vbYes
'Insert your code here if Yes is clicked
Case vbNo
'Insert your code here if No is clicked
End Select



WebLink  (in userform)          (back to top)
Create a weblink in a userform.


Private Sub webLink_Click()
Link = "http://www.mvdmoosdijk.nl"   
'put your link here
On Error GoTo NoCanDo
ActiveWorkbook.FollowHyperlink Address:=Link, NewWindow:=True
Unload Me
Exit Sub
MsgBox "Cannot open " & Link
End Sub