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Home > English site > Articles > Treeview control

An MSForms (all VBA) treeview


If you have ever used the Treeview control from the "Additional controls" section, then you know what a versatile control this is to show hierarchically organized data. There are a couple of problems with this Treeview control:

  1. Compile errors due to a difference in how the control libraries are registered in 32 bits Windows' System32 and 64 bit Windows' SysWOW32 folders. If you distribute a file that was saved in 64 bit Windows, containing one of the "Microsoft Windows Common Controls 6.0" (The Treeview control is one of them) and with the reference set to "mscomctl.ocx", people using 32 bit Windows will almost certainly have problems. At best it could entail removing both the control and the reference and replacing both, but at worst the user's Excel can crash when trying to load the file and run the app.
  2. The standard Treeview control, like all non built-in ActiveX controls, cannot be used in 64 bit versions of Office.

Especially the second point convinced me it is time to develop a custom-made Treeview "control", that only uses the native Office forms controls. I started building this a couple of weeks ago and after some time I tricked Peter Thornton into helping me with it

The screenshot below shows both our new Treeview (left) and the Windows one (right) side-by-side in their simplest display mode (read on, there are even prettier screenshots further down the page):

Treeview controls
Two treeviews, left: VBA tree, right: Common controls tree

In the following pages I'll show what our treeview can do and explain how to put it to use in your own VBA project.

MAC Office and 64 bit Office Compatible!

Our treeview was tested (and works) on 64 bit Office. It also works on MAC office. Tested applications include:

Excel 2000
Excel 2003
Excel 2010
Excel 2010 (64 bit)
Excel 2011 (MAC Office)
Excel 2013 (32 bit)

Access 2003
Access 2010 (32 bit)
Access 2010 (64 bit)

Windows screenshot:

Treeview demo on Windows Excel
Treeview demo on Windows Excel

Mac screenshot:

MAC screenshot of our treeview demo form
Screenshot of treeview on Mac Excel 2011


The basic plumbing and code structure of this treeview control was devised by me. However, without the help of my friend and fellow MVP Peter Thornton, lots of functionality would not have been available now. For that I sincerely thank Peter!

Furthermore, Access MVP Ben Clothier was kind enough to make the necessary adjustments to incorporate the treeview in an Access form

Also: Fellow Excel MVP Ron De Bruin ensured the treeview also works on MAC Office 2011, Thanks Ron!

Copyright and Licensing

All code in the treeview is (c) JKP Application Development Services and Peter Thornton (the Authors). It remains our sole intellectual property.

However, we're offering this treeview to you at no cost. You get an unrestricted license for use in any VBA project you like. You're free to modify any part of the code at will.

We do have some rules:

And please mention the source of the treeview (including a link to this page) in your helpfile, manual and/or on your about screen.

We're always interested to see how people have implemented the VBA Treeview. So please feel free to send a screenshot with a brief description or relevant details.


You use this control at your own risk: The authors accept no liability whatsoever for any damages which may arise due to the use of our treeview.


Many, many hours were spent developing this treeview. Although we developed it for use in our own projects, we are giving it away for free!

Nevertheless, we would really be pleased if you actually express your appreciation in a more "tangible" form. So here is a paypal donation button at your disposal:


The Excel workbook contains most of the documentation (on the tabs of the workbook), so I recommend you to at least download the Excel version. The Access version has instructions on its main form (click the "How do I...?" button) on how to implement the treeview in your own projects.

Download the treeview sample Excel workbook (including documentation) (build 026, 15 Oct 2015, downloaded 22,524 times)

Download the treeview sample Word document (build 026, 15 Oct 2015, downloaded 6,651 times)

Download the treeview sample Access database (build 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 18,233 times)

Pro version: Ready for Beta testing

The professional version of the treeview control with much better performance, capability to handle thousands of branches, drag and drop and etcetera is ready for beta testing. Contact us if you would like to participate in the beta program. Note that this version will not be freeware.

Listgrid control

We have also release a ListGrid control for beta testing. Contact us if you would like to participate in the beta program. Note that this control will not be freeware.
Listgrid control



Other controls

Another often used control is the calendar control. This control has the added problem that it has been deprecated with Office 2010 (where we're supposed to use the date picker control). Frankens Team created an all-vba alternative using very similar techniques to what we've done here.

Ron de Bruin created a Date Picker control for MAC Excel.

We are currently developing a listgrid/listview control. Contact us if you would like to participate in the beta program. Note that this control will not be made available as freeware.



Showing last 8 comments of 507 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Peter Nguyen (1/5/2017 8:03:41 PM)

Hi Rob,
Would you post your code that populate the treeview from SQL backend?



Comment by: Christian (1/6/2017 11:09:44 PM)

Hello Jan,

I have implemented your treeview successfully in my access database. After adding a header and footer to my form it doesn't work any more. Run Error '-2147221494(8004000a)':
Refresh: ' TreeControl' frame is not referenced
After deleting the header and footer the treeview works again. What should I do?



Comment by: Peter Thornton (1/7/2017 12:50:58 PM)

Hi Christian,
I can't reproduce your error after adding a header or footer, not sure why it fails for you. What should happen is this:

In the subform's load event an MSForms Frame is created and a reference retained mfrTreeControl. When the Treeview is created the next line should pass this reference to the treeview, in the demo/subform see Property pTreeview.

I suspect what's happening for you is some action is causing your mfrTreeControl reference to lose scope, after the subForms' load event and before this line:
Set mTreeview.TreeControl = mfrTreeControl

Anything that causes your project to recompile while the form is running would result in variables losing scope.


Comment by: Christian (1/9/2017 1:38:47 PM)

Hi Jan,

I have solved the problem with the header and footer. Now I try to adjust the icons for my application. At first I select the image on the frame frImage. Then I chose properties. Under picture I try to change the picture, but it doesn't work. All other fields, like Name, can be edit.
Is this the wrong way to adjust the images/icons?


Comment by: Peter Thornton (1/9/2017 1:56:09 PM)

Hi Christian,
For some reason it can be difficult or impossible to apply the picture to the MSForms image controls in Access. The workaround is create your images in a temporary userform in Excel or Word, and copy them into the Frame in Access. Be sure to name image controls as required and with unique names.


Comment by: Julian Rodriguez (1/13/2017 9:49:50 PM)

Hi Peter:
First of al allow to join to all the congratulations you've recieved so far for this brilliant piece of work. It is elegant, functional and I am sure that for many of us a relief after years of fighting with the problems of office and windowa versions compatibiliy of their treeview included ui the Microsoft web commons dll (mcotl).
I have implemenyed your treeview in my appplications and so far goes so nicely. However, I noticed that when the nodes caption is wider than the subform treeview let say when expanding the tree, the lef-roght scrll bat shows up which is correct but, when I collapse back the tree and the caption of the nodes are within the limits of the subform, the scroll bar does not dissapear and stays on. Curiously this does not happen witn the up and down scroll bars. Is this behaviour normal? Is it a bug?
Than you very much for your support and of course your code and for allowing us to use it


Comment by: Peter Thornton (1/14/2017 2:30:23 PM)

Hi Julian, thanks for your comments

Itís not a bug but I agree not ideal. For the vertical scrollbar itís relatively simple to size the scrollheight according to number of visible nodes, or turn on/off if the total height of visible nodes is more or less than the height of the treeview.

Thereís much more to consider with the horizontal scrollbar. As written it displays and sizes to fit the widest node displayed in the lifetime of the treeview. That might be as a result of expanding nodes, or scrolling down and finding a wider node, or editing a node.

In the scenario you described you might reasonably expect the scrollbar to adjust according to the node expanded in front of you, but what about wider nodes further down tree. Also, the widest node might not be in the highest expanded level, a level-1 node with a long caption might be wider than a level-3 node with a short caption. The scrollbar could be adjusted in real time as the tree is scrolled vertically to fit the current view, but would give an unsightly appearance while scrolling vertically.

The best solution might be to size the scrollbar to the widest node in the current overall expanded configuration of the treeview, including out of site nodes. Indeed thatís possible, but more code than you might imagine and in a large treeview might compromise performance.


Comment by: Julián Rodríguez (1/15/2017 7:52:01 PM)

Hi Peter and Christian:

1. Peter I understand what you explained and I think we can live with it. But what felt strange to me was that the horizontal scroll bars stay in a totally colapsed tree with all the nodes within the treview control in number and size. Anyway, as I told you not big deal and I will perfectly will live with it. It is a wonderful control that you have gifted to all of us.

2. Christian: I think, if I have not missunderstood you, that I have run with the same problema many times. The way I get around it is as follows: A. I get into de editor VBA tool window, look for the forms in the left side tree, and remove the ufTreeview object without exporting it. B. I close the aplication and open it again pressing the shift key so it goes to the Access window without executing macros and without openning forms. C. Then I run the startup macro which ask me if I want to create a new userform required for the correct functioning of the treeview. I say yes and it creates it. D. Then I close again the application and I am asked if I want to save the changes in the UF ufTreeview. I say yes and get out. E. I open normally the application and when open the demo form I close it, open the subform subTreeview which shows me the frame control with the my image controls and then it lets mi to change the image again by looking for it whenever I have the iamge I want to link to the image control.
I do not know why it does this acces. It happened to me whenever I got a crush in my application and it is like something gets corrupted in the userform or so. I am not an expert in programming and I don't understand very well this behaviour. The important thing is that I can get around it! :)


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