Getting a range from the user with VBA (Bug in Application.InputBox function)


Applies to

This bug applies to all excel versions as from Excel 5/95. It has been fixed in Excel 2007.


This article describes a bug discovered by Ron de Bruin.

The Application.InputBox function is very useful to get a range from the user. Unfortunately, this function exposes a bug in Excel (all current versions up to and including 2003!). If the sheet on which a (range of) cell(s) is selected contains conditional formatting using the : "Formula Is" option, the function may fail, returning an empty range.

How to reproduce the bug

Use this sample code on a worksheet with elaborate conditional formatting (see download below for an example):

Option Explicit

Sub ProblemCode()
    Dim oRangeSelected As Range
    On Error Resume Next
    Set oRangeSelected = Application.InputBox("Please select a range of cells!", _
                                              "SelectARAnge Demo", Selection.Address, , , , , 8)
    If oRangeSelected Is Nothing Then
        MsgBox "It appears as if you pressed cancel!"
        MsgBox "You selected: " & oRangeSelected.Address(External:=True)
    End If
End Sub

If you run this code and the user selects a range on a worksheet with conditional formatting which uses a "Formula Is" setting, the code may return an empty range object, even if the user selected a valid area and hit OK. An example formula for the CF might be:

=OR($AL1=1, $AL1=3)

There are two possible workarounds.

Method 1: use a userform.

I included a userform with two controls: A dropdown to select the workbook and a refedit control to select ranges. Note that the refedit control has been causing some havoc with some users, due to updates to Office versions. A foolproof way to overcome trouble which users might have with your file is opening the file in Excel 2000 and saving it again, before distributing.

The userform looks like this:

Userform to select a range

Selecting a range using the userform

The code that shows the form:

' Module    : modWorkaround1
' Company   : JKP Application Development Services (c)
' Author    : Jan Karel Pieterse (
' Created   : 23-2-2009
' Purpose   : Workaround for the application.inputbox (type 8) bug
Option Explicit

Sub Test()
    Dim oRangeSelected As Range
    If SelectARange("Please select a range of cells!", "SelectARAnge Demo", oRangeSelected) = True Then
        MsgBox "You selected:" & oRangeSelected.Address(, , , True)
        MsgBox "You cancelled"
    End If
End Sub

Function SelectARange(sPrompt As String, sCaption As String, oReturnedRange As Range) As Boolean
    Dim frmSelectCells As ufSelectCells
    Set frmSelectCells = New ufSelectCells
    With frmSelectCells
        .PromptText = sPrompt
        .CaptionText = sCaption
        If TypeName(Selection) = "Range" Then
            .StartAddress = Selection.Address(External:=True)
        End If
        If .OK Then
            Set oReturnedRange = .ReturnedRange
            If oReturnedRange Is Nothing Then
                SelectARange = False
                SelectARange = True
            End If
            SelectARange = False
        End If
    End With
    Unload frmSelectCells
    Set frmSelectCells = Nothing
End Function

The code behind the form:

Option Explicit

Private mbOK As Boolean
Private moReturnedRange As Range
Private msPromptText As String
Private msCaptionText As String
Private msStartAddress As String

Public Sub Initialise()
    Dim oBk As Workbook
    cmbOK.Enabled = False
    lblQuestion.Caption = msPromptText
    Me.Caption = CaptionText
    refSelectCells.Text = StartAddress
    For Each oBk In Workbooks
        If oBk.Windows(1).Visible Then
            cbxWorkbooks.AddItem oBk.Name
        End If
    cbxWorkbooks.Value = ActiveWorkbook.Name
End Sub

Private Sub cbxWorkbooks_Change()
End Sub

Private Sub cmbCancel_Click()
    OK = False
End Sub

Private Sub cmbOK_Click()
    If refSelectCells.Text <> "" Then
        If TypeName(Selection) = "Range" Then
            If IsValidRef(refSelectCells.Text) Then
                OK = True
            End If
        End If
    End If
End Sub

Public Property Get OK() As Boolean
    OK = mbOK
End Property

Public Property Let OK(ByVal bOK As Boolean)
    mbOK = bOK
End Property

Public Property Get ReturnedRange() As Range
    Dim sRef As String
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    On Error Resume Next
    sRef = refSelectCells.Text
    If OK And IsValidRef(sRef) Then
        If InStr(sRef, "!") Then
            Set oSh = ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets(Application.Substitute(Left(sRef, InStr(sRef, "!") - 1), "'", ""))
            Set oSh = ActiveSheet
        End If
        Set moReturnedRange = oSh.Range(Mid(sRef, InStr(sRef, "!") + 1))
        Set ReturnedRange = moReturnedRange
    End If
End Property

Public Property Set ReturnedRange(oReturnedRange As Range)
    Set moReturnedRange = oReturnedRange
End Property

Public Function IsValidRef(sRef As String) As Boolean
' Procedure : IsValidRef Created by Jan Karel Pieterse
' Company   : JKP Application Development Services (c) 2005
' Author    : Jan Karel Pieterse
' Created   : 21-12-2005
' Purpose   : Checks of argument is a valid cell reference
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Dim oCell As Range
'    On Error GoTo LocErr
    IsValidRef = False
    On Error Resume Next
    sTemp = Left(sRef, InStr(sRef, "!") - 1)
    sTemp = Replace(sTemp, "=", "")
    If Not IsIn(ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets, sTemp) Then
        IsValidRef = False
        Exit Function
    End If
    Set oSh = ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets(sTemp)
    If oSh Is Nothing Then
        Set oSh = ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets(Replace(sTemp, "'", ""))
    End If
    sTemp = Right(sRef, Len(sRef) - InStr(sRef, "!"))
    Set oCell = oSh.Range(sTemp)
    If oCell Is Nothing Then
        IsValidRef = False
        IsValidRef = True
    End If
End Function

Function IsIn(vCollection As Variant, ByVal sName As String) As Boolean
' Procedure : funIsIn Created by Jan Karel Pieterse
' Company   : JKP Application Development Services (c) 2005
' Author    : Jan Karel Pieterse
' Created   : 28-12-2005
' Purpose   : Determines if object is in collection
    Dim oObj As Object
    On Error Resume Next
    Set oObj = vCollection(sName)
    If oObj Is Nothing Then
        IsIn = False
        IsIn = True
    End If
    If IsIn = False Then
        sName = Replace(sName, "'", "")
        Set oObj = vCollection(sName)
        If oObj Is Nothing Then
            IsIn = False
            IsIn = True
        End If
    End If
End Function

Public Property Let PromptText(ByVal sPromptText As String)
    msPromptText = sPromptText
End Property

Private Sub refSelectCells_Change()
    If IsValidRef(refSelectCells.Text) Then
        cmbOK.Enabled = True
        cmbOK.Enabled = False
    End If
End Sub

Public Property Get CaptionText() As String
    CaptionText = msCaptionText
End Property

Public Property Let CaptionText(ByVal sCaptionText As String)
    msCaptionText = sCaptionText
End Property

Private Sub UserForm_QueryClose(Cancel As Integer, CloseMode As Integer)
    If CloseMode <> vbFormCode Then
        Cancel = True
    End If
End Sub

Public Property Get StartAddress() As String
    msStartAddress = Mid(msStartAddress, InStr(msStartAddress, "]") + 1)
    StartAddress = msStartAddress
End Property

Public Property Let StartAddress(sStartAddress As String)
    msStartAddress = sStartAddress
End Property

Method 2: Use Application.InputBox anyway

The second method was suggested by Peter Thornton (also an Excel MVP).

It does use the Application.InputBox method, but uses type 0 instead of 8 and a helper function to extract a proper range from the entered string. Funny thing is, even though one uses type 0, the box still enables you to select cells.

The returned formula normally requires a little parsing before it will be recognized as a valid Range address. Therefore it makes sense to wrap all this in a function. This demo wrapper has two bonus features. Firstly, the developer has the option to re-activate the Input range. Secondly, if the user types an address instead of selecting cells, the user can make a couple of incorrect typo attempts without having to start all over, it happens!

The code to accomplish this is copied below:

Option Explicit
'Courtesy Peter Thornton (Excel MVP)

Sub TestGetInput()
    Dim bGotRng As Boolean
    Dim bActivate As Boolean
    Dim rInput As Range
    bActivate = False   ' True to re-activate the input range
    bGotRng = GetInputRange(rInput, "Please select a range of cells!", _
                            "SelectARAnge Demo", "", bActivate)
    If bGotRng Then
        MsgBox rInput.Address(External:=True)
        MsgBox "You pressed cancel"
    End If
End Sub

Function GetInputRange(rInput As Excel.Range, _
                       sPrompt As String, _
                       sTitle As String, _
                       Optional ByVal sDefault As String, _
                       Optional ByVal bActivate As Boolean, _
                       Optional X, Optional Y) As Boolean
' rInput:    The Input Range which returns to the caller procedure
' bActivate: If True user's input range will be re-activated
' The other arguments are standard InputBox arguments.
' sPrompt & sTitle should be supplied from the caller proccedure
' but sDefault will be completed below if empty
' GetInputRange returns True if rInput is successfully assigned to a Range

    Dim bGotRng As Boolean
    Dim bEvents As Boolean
    Dim nAttempt As Long
    Dim sAddr As String
    Dim vReturn

    On Error Resume Next
    If Len(sDefault) = 0 Then
        If TypeName(Application.Selection) = "Range" Then
            sDefault = "=" & Application.Selection.Address
            ' InputBox cannot handle address/formulas over 255
            If Len(sDefault) > 240 Then
                sDefault = "=" & Application.ActiveCell.Address
            End If
        ElseIf TypeName(Application.ActiveSheet) = "Chart" Then
            sDefault = " first select a Worksheet"
            sDefault = " Select Cell(s) or type address"
        End If
    End If
    Set rInput = Nothing    ' start with a clean slate
    For nAttempt = 1 To' give user 3 attempts for typos
        vReturn = False
        vReturn = Application.InputBox(sPrompt, sTitle, sDefault, X, Y, Type:=0)
        If False = vReturn Or Len(vReturn) = 0 Then
            Exit For    ' user cancelled
            sAddr = vReturn
            ' The address (or formula) could be in A1 or R1C1 style,
            ' w/out an "=" and w/out embracing quotes, depends if the user
            ' selected cells, typed an address, or accepted the default
            If Left$(sAddr, 1) = "=" Then sAddr = Mid$(sAddr, 2, 256)
            If Left$(sAddr, 1) = Chr(34) Then sAddr = Mid$(sAddr, 2, 255)
            If Right$(sAddr, 1) = Chr(34) Then sAddr = Left$(sAddr, Len(sAddr) - 1)
            '  will fail if R1C1 address
            Set rInput = Application.Range(sAddr)
            If rInput Is Nothing Then
                sAddr = Application.ConvertFormula(sAddr, xlR1C1, xlA1)
                Set rInput = Application.Range(sAddr)
                bGotRng = Not rInput Is Nothing
                bGotRng = True
            End If
        End If

        If bGotRng Then
            If bActivate Then   ' optionally re-activate the Input range
                On Error GoTo errH
                bEvents = Application.EnableEvents
                Application.EnableEvents = False
                If Not Application.ActiveWorkbook Is rInput.Parent.Parent Then
                    rInput.Parent.Parent.Activate    ' Workbook
                End If
                If Not Application.ActiveSheet Is rInput.Parent Then
                    rInput.Parent.Activate    ' Worksheet
                End If
                rInput.Select    ' Range
            End If
            Exit For
        ElseIf nAttempt < 3 Then
            ' Failed to get a valid range, maybe a typo
            If MsgBox("Invalid reference, do you want to try again ?", _
                      vbOKCancel, sTitle) <> vbOK Then
                Exit For
            End If
        End If
    Next    ' nAttempt
    On Error Resume Next
    If bEvents Then
        Application.EnableEvents = True
    End If
    GetInputRange = bGotRng
    Exit Function
    Set rInput = Nothing
    bGotRng = False
    Resume cleanUp
End Function

Both methods are demonstrated in this download.


All comments about this page:

Comment by: Alex (13-7-2006 05:57:10) deeplink to this comment

I imported your code to try it with my current project which requires a selection of cells via user input. Your program ran correctly, but the end result still left my range variable empty.

Comment by: Hannah Li (28-7-2006 09:23:39) deeplink to this comment

Found not all conditional formatting. If simply AL1=1, it's ok.

Comment by: Colin D (9-1-2007 16:50:14) deeplink to this comment

Halleuja!!! You've solved a mystery I came across in an application I developed 12 months ago with exactly that situation (ie. heavy conditional formatting and an Inputbox seeking a range from the user). I was stumped as to why it wouldn't work and I couldn't get an answer from several Excel forums - so ended up abandoning the Inputbox.

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (10-1-2007 02:26:53) deeplink to this comment

Hi Colin,

Glad I could help!

Comment by: Nick (11-5-2007 04:18:34) deeplink to this comment

    ActiveCell.Value = "Sum"
    ActiveCell.FormulaR1C1 = "=RC[-1]+RC[-2]"
    Selection.AutoFill Destination:=Cells(65536, AL2).End(xlUp)

what's wrong with this?

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (11-5-2007 08:42:29) deeplink to this comment

Hi Nick,

It can be replaced with this:

Range("AL1").Value = "Sum"
Range(Range("AL2"),Range("AL65536").End(xlUp)).FormulaR1C1 = "=RC[-1]+RC[-2]"

Comment by: Bill Szabo (28-6-2007 09:07:22) deeplink to this comment

THANKS!!! I have been fighting this bug for half a day

Comment by: Hassan (31-8-2007 00:46:25) deeplink to this comment

Hi all
I want to make Macro to copy particular range from different sheets and paste it on the one sheet the clear the content of particular range.

Please help me!

Thanks all

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (31-8-2007 03:04:27) deeplink to this comment

Hi Hassan,

Like this:

WorkSheets("Sheet1").Range("A1:B10").Copy Destination := _

Comment by: Hassan (31-8-2007 15:03:09) deeplink to this comment

Hi Jan Karel
Thank you for your comment, but what about clearing the content of the particular ranges, by the way it is union range.

Once more thank you very much for your help.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (1-9-2007 10:39:30) deeplink to this comment

Hi Hassan,


BTW: recording a macro while you do something is a good way to find out what method is used and what arguments are needed.

Comment by: Rich (4-10-2007 11:41:03) deeplink to this comment

I have a worksheet with data that I'm filtering with autofilter. How can I have the sheet automatically update my formulas (average, mode, median, stdDev, frequency) ranges? They are at the bottom of the worksheet. I would have used subTotal, but it does not allow for mode and median, frequency.

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (4-10-2007 21:22:25) deeplink to this comment

Hi Rich,

May I advise you to ask this question in one of the newsgroups or fora I link to on my links page?

Comment by: Lennon (16-11-2007 08:08:59) deeplink to this comment

Hi - I'm trying to modify this VBA code to delete duplicates from range H and L. Currently it only deletes duplicates from H. Thanks

Option Explicit

Sub DeleteDups()
    Dim x             As Long
    Dim LastRow         As Long
    LastRow = Range("A65536").End(xlUp).Row
    For x = LastRow To 1 Step -1
        If Application.WorksheetFunction.CountIf(Range("A1:A" & x), Range("A" & x).Text) > 1 Then
            Range("A" & x).EntireRow.Delete
        End If
    Next x
End Sub

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (16-11-2007 08:12:08) deeplink to this comment

Hi Lennon,

What should it do, should it count a duplicate when both columns are duplicate, or when either of them contains a duplicate?

Comment by: Mahmoud (3-12-2007 12:36:31) deeplink to this comment

Hi all
help in this issue will be appreciated..
*Select a range of cells according to a criteria..

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (4-12-2007 02:08:09) deeplink to this comment

Hi Mahmoud,

What criteria do you have in mind?

Comment by: Mahmoud (4-12-2007 12:17:29) deeplink to this comment

Hi Jan
Data Renewal Automatically every day and i have made an archive for this data by a code....The Request if i take this data once to the archive>>.>.>>>>>....don't take it again if the user push on the macro button twice....I hope that you understand me

Thanks for replay

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5-12-2007 02:49:33) deeplink to this comment

Hi Mahmoud,

I think you would be helped best if you ask your question in one of the newsgroups or forums on internet.

See my links page for some links to newsgroups.

Comment by: Mahmoud (5-12-2007 14:50:21) deeplink to this comment

Thanks a lot Jan
Best Regards

Comment by: Craig (15-2-2008 03:23:12) deeplink to this comment

I love this solution and prior to excel2003, it worked great. My company just upgraded to Excel2003 and the test program produces the error "Object Library Invalid or contains references to object definitions that could not be found". Help! I need this code to work in Excel 2003!

Comment by: Rikkart (22-2-2008 07:58:06) deeplink to this comment

Great stuff, just finding it, and then the workaround!
I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I'll definitely be back here for my next issue!

Comment by: ambar (25-6-2008 03:04:47) deeplink to this comment

Hi ,

i want to compare two ranges in two different excel files how do i dothat

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (25-6-2008 03:11:49) deeplink to this comment

Hi Ambar,

Check out:

Comment by: Gordon Heffron (21-11-2008 15:40:34) deeplink to this comment

The web page titled "Getting a range from the user with VBA (Bug in " discusses the "object library invalid or contains references to objects..." problem (in Excel 2003 SP3 for me). I have a program I developed a couple of years ago which ran fine. Revisiting it today I get this error, which here involves establishing a CommandBar. I have uninstalled Office 2003 and re-installed it using "setup.exe /f...." and also reinstalled it from the source CD, but no joy either way! The comment by Rickkart in this web page that "the proposal solved the problem" is great, but the problem presented wasn't my problem. Which part of the solution would solve my problem? And how can I find which line(s) of code is the offender?
Many many thanks in advance, the frustration is galling!

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (22-11-2008 03:01:39) deeplink to this comment

Hi Gordon,

Have you tried Help, detect and repair from Excel? I have had several reports like these where that fixed the problem. An alternative cause to the problem might be related to the file itself. Have you tried cleaning the code in that file using Rob Bovey's code cleaner:

Comment by: Al Gorny (15-6-2009 07:55:30) deeplink to this comment

Hello Sir,

Your coding “”, modWorkaround1, appears to be the solution I was looking for.
My problem is I do not know how to use the result in another module.

What I would like to do is have the selected range copied so that my own module then pastes the values from the selected range.

How can this be done?

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer.

Al Gorny

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (15-6-2009 08:40:54) deeplink to this comment

Hi Al,

What you do is:

- Copy the form called ufSelectCells from the sample file to your project (you can drag the form from my project to yours in the Vsiual Basic editor)
- Copy the module called "modWorkaround1" to your project too.

- In modWorkaround1 there is a little sub called "Test" which shows exactly how to use the function.

Comment by: Al Gorny (15-6-2009 14:09:42) deeplink to this comment

RE: Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (6/15/2009 8:40:54 AM)

Thank you for the response.
Obviously I was not clear with my question.

I had no difficulty doing what you said: "- Copy the form called ufSelectCells …etc.
These tasks had been performed and inserted into Workbook1.xls as part of my project with the resultant module being incorporated and named “Test”.

Here is what’s happening:

I open Workbook1.xls that contains the macros “MyTask” and your macro “Test”.

Within Workbook1.xls I run the macro “MyTask”:

Sub MyTask()    

Workbooks.Open Filename:= "C:\Documents Workbook2.xls"
Application.Run "Workbook1.xls!Test"

‘Your module modWorkaround1 runs. The InputBox opens and I select the range I want. I receive the confirming DialogBox which says “You Selected:’[Workbook1.xls]Sheet1’!$A$43:$B52”

ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Range("A1").Select
Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues

End Sub

What actually pastes into Workbook2.xls bears no resemblance to the selected and confirmed range from "Test.". What actually pastes is whatever the active cell(s) was/were in Workbook1.xls immediately before I run “MyTask.”

However I did a bit of experimenting. IF in Workbook1.xls I 1st hightlight the range I want and then run the macro “MyTask” everything works as desired.

Any thoughts?

This is, of course, only a minor difficulty compared to the benefits “" provides.

Al Gorny

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (16-6-2009 01:45:04) deeplink to this comment

Hi Al,

Modify your code like this:

Sub MyTask()
    Dim oRangeSelected As Range
    Workbooks.Open Filename:="C:\Documents Workbook2.xls"

    If SelectARange("Please select a range of cells!", "Selecting range to copy", oRangeSelected) = True Then
    ActiveCell.Offset(1, 0).Range("A1").Select
    Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues
        MsgBox "You cancelled"
    End If
End Sub

Comment by: Mike (27-8-2009 10:36:00) deeplink to this comment

I love your code, but I do have a question about it. Is the following senario possible?

The user clicks on the Workaround2 button, selects a range of cells, and then de-selects some of the selected cells.

When I tried to do this, the function just repeats the selected cells instead of deleting them from the selected range. Let me know if you need clarification, it is a little hard to explain this.

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (7-9-2009 10:00:36) deeplink to this comment

Hi Mike,

My example file indeed does not cater for this situation. I'd suggest to use method 2 as indicated in the text.

Comment by: P K Madan (12-3-2010 03:39:54) deeplink to this comment

I want to select excel cells depending upon loop value.
For example : for i = 62 want to select A62:F62 range
             and want to merge and make bold text in this range; then

             for i = 85 want to select A85:F85 range
and want to merge and make bold text in this range and so on.

Kindly help how to achieve this by using Visual Basic


P K Madan            

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (13-3-2010 10:52:00) deeplink to this comment

For example:

Dim i As Long
With Range("A" & i & ":F" & i)
    .Font.Bold = True
End With

Comment by: Gary (29-6-2010 11:35:21) deeplink to this comment

Nice piece of coding. Method 2 solved my problem exactly.

I was using Application.InputBox to select a range, but it only seems to work with individually(single) selected cells, not a contiguous range. Using your method, my code works as desired now...THANKS MUCH!

I have also learned a bit more coding by following your code usage and execution, again...thanks.

Comment by: Pankaj (5-8-2010 07:54:24) deeplink to this comment

I am new to EXCEL VBA and I am tryin to sort Column of numbers .
When I use following logic in SUB it works fine but I want to make use of that IN FUNCTION so
i tried following and when I debugged I got an ERROR 91 :Object variable or with block variable not set..

Public Function sort4() As Range
Dim rg As Range
For I = 2 To 6
For j = I + 1 To 6
If (Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(j, 2)) < (Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(I, 2)) Then
     temp = Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(I, 2)
     Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(I, 2) = Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(j, 2)
     Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(j, 2) = temp
     End If
Next j
Next I
Set rg = Worksheets("Sheet1").Range("B2:B6")
sort4 = rg
End Function

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (16-8-2010 04:25:07) deeplink to this comment

Hi Pankaj,

Change this line:

sort4 = rg


Set sort4 = rg

NB: I would use Excel's built-in sort method to do the sort, much quicker.

Comment by: Vijay (6-10-2010 04:43:36) deeplink to this comment


Can you please give me a code which can delete the rows based on multiple conditions.

Fro example:Column Q contains values like "BPODWSTRIAL","BPOSTRIAL","PTSFT30","Slab credits" & "Trial Credits".macro should delete the row which contains these value.......Is it possible???

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (7-10-2010 02:09:51) deeplink to this comment

Hi Vijay,

Please visit to ask questions like these!

Comment by: Scott Solberg (3-12-2010 06:24:30) deeplink to this comment


I found a bug in the "Method 2" macro which I found here:

I included the commented-out old code, and the new code
which works better below:

' 20101202 S. Solberg : bug found in this routine
' If user selects entire rows or columns, then the returned address,
' while still in R1C1 form, *appears* to be in A1 form, because
' it will either be C1:C3 or C1:C2,C5 or R2:R7 etc.
' so that the Application.Range(address) function thinks that the
' "C" or "R" refer to columns "C" or "R" !!
' So, one must *always* convert the range to A1 format before using
' the Application.Range() method.

' **** old code ******            
' Set rInput = Application.Range(sAddr) ' will fail if R1C1 address
' If rInput Is Nothing Then ' so, must first convert to A1 reference style
' sAddr = Application.ConvertFormula(sAddr, xlR1C1, xlA1)
' Set rInput = Application.Range(sAddr)
' bGotRng = Not rInput Is Nothing
' Else
' bGotRng = True
' End If
' ***** end of old code *****
' so, use this code instead:
sAddr = Application.ConvertFormula(sAddr, xlR1C1, xlA1)
Set rInput = Application.Range(sAddr)
If rInput Is Nothing Then GoTo errH
bGotRng = True

Otherwise, this routine by Peter Thorton works well,
and hopefully would avoid the bug caused by conditional formatting which you described.

Comment by: Ganesh (23-8-2011 04:24:44) deeplink to this comment

Hello. I want to select only the formulas in a range.Kindly suggest me the VBA code.Thanks in advance.

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (23-8-2011 05:50:46) deeplink to this comment

Have a look at the SpecialCells method of the Range object:


Comment by: narendra (13-10-2011 07:49:38) deeplink to this comment

I am trying to create macro witch control location of output of an action by using cell value,

As i have created copy macro,its copying range"A4":"A18" Values and pasting at "E5" cell,

Sub copy()
' copy Macro

End Sub
What i want to do is,
consider,cell "B10" having valuve Like "X10 or Y10 or Z10" witch is variable as per requarment and i want to use the paste location as per Value of "B10" witch is X10 or Y10 or Z10 or may other as per value of cell "B10" witch is variable as per requarment.

please hlep me in this,
Hoping for yours reply.

Thanks & Regards,

Narendra Chavan,

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (14-10-2011 02:01:09) deeplink to this comment

HI Narandera,

I think you need this:

Sub copy()
    Range("A4:A18").copy Destination:=Range(Range("B10").Value)
End Sub

Comment by: Rich Newsome (5-12-2011 16:29:43) deeplink to this comment

I use VBA to create new sheet if it does not exist already, or clear it if it does:

On Error Resume Next
If Not Err = 0 Then
    Worksheets.Add , Worksheets(2), 1, xlWorksheet
    Worksheets(3).Name = "Summary"
End If
Set xlWs = Worksheets("Summary")

Then I want to use standard column formats from master sheet
Sheets("Prior Material Log").Select
Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteAllUsingSourceTheme, Operation:=xlNone _
        , SkipBlanks:=False, Transpose:=False
but VBA exits on Range("A1:BB1").Select

Nothing I try to do to the sheet (set column widths and names) works; Is there a property that I have missed that locks the sheet for editing after it is created. I recordered the macro and it still will not change when I call the method

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (6-12-2011 08:35:11) deeplink to this comment

Hi Richie,

Instead of xlPasteAllUsingSourceTheme, try using xlPasteColumnWidths

If that works, copy that entire pastespecial line of code and change the xlPaste constant to the other one(s) you need, repeating the entire pastespecial line for each pastespecial type you need.

Comment by: Anthony (13-7-2012 03:21:00) deeplink to this comment

Wow. This is awesome. But one thing I still have problem. I use your modWorkround2 for my macro as Cut-Paste method. But I wanna know that is it anyway to make the selected cell deactivate? This is because when at the selection range part, the previous selected range will not change when I click on other range of cell. And the data will not paste where the range I input into the appear dialog box. Hope you can give me some example.

Thank you,

Comment by: Max (2-8-2012 17:28:57) deeplink to this comment


I need your help. I have a task to collect data from a website( some search criteria.
For eg: Search for "Restaurants" in Location "Oahu".
From the result page i have to go through each restaurants link and get contact details, such as "Restaurant name, address, phone, and website of each one. all these data should be in a single excel worksheet. I think it can be done with the help of a macro, Could you please give me a solution.

Thanks in advance.

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (7-8-2012 11:16:38) deeplink to this comment

@Anthony: I am not saure I understand your problem, can you please try to rephrase your question for me?

@Max: Does this page help:

Comment by: Anthony (8-8-2012 08:45:25) deeplink to this comment

OK. I mean that when I run the macro, can the we exclude the cell when the select cell dialog box appear?? I mean that the cell where we selected before run that macro. Can we avoid that selection??

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8-8-2012 13:12:55) deeplink to this comment

Hi Anthony,

If you mean you do not want the code to enter a default address in the box, either omit this part:

        If TypeName(Application.Selection) = "Range" Then
            sDefault = "=" & Application.Selection.Address
            ' InputBox cannot handle address/formulas over 255
            If Len(sDefault) > 240 Then
                sDefault = "=" & Application.ActiveCell.Address
            End If
        ElseIf TypeName(Application.ActiveSheet) = "Chart" Then
            sDefault = " first select a Worksheet"
            sDefault = " Select Cell(s) or type address"
        End If

or omit this code:

        If TypeName(Selection) = "Range" Then
            .StartAddress = Selection.Address(External:=True)
        End If

Depending on which solution you used.

Comment by: TheJugglingSteve (7-12-2012 11:56:01) deeplink to this comment

hmm, I was getting the same issue - thanks for mentioning the 'elaborate conditional formatting', as that's solved my issue!

Basically my code had been copying and pasting cells with conditional formatting, and eventually the conditional formatting list had become *full*. My code was then crashing when trying to copy and add a 'new' rule to the list. Simple enough to solve though - before I ask it to apply the new rule, I'll get it to clear conditional formatting on all copied cells.

Comment by: None (28-12-2013 11:54:31) deeplink to this comment

Method 2 is working only within the same "Excel" - Application Object.

It's not possible to select a range from a second (running) MS Excel instance.

If you use InputBox with the Type 8 .. this is possible.

Comment by: Jaap (24-1-2014 10:30:57) deeplink to this comment

Hello Jan Karel,

This is a good tool. I would like to use the selection to print a selection of the sheet.
I think i must replace "MsgBox "You selected:" & oRangeSelected.Address(, , , True)" with a print command.
Please tell me how to do this.

Thanks in advance

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (24-1-2014 13:56:09) deeplink to this comment

Hi Jaap,

You're close:


Comment by: John (31-1-2014 05:26:31) deeplink to this comment

Jan Karel I am really grateful for your work on this horrible issue. Has this bug really been fixed 2007 onwards? Unfortunately I have a task that might be opened in 2003.

At first I wanted to use Method 2 but then I found it didn't handle the selection of entire rows but I found your Method 1 did.


Comment by: Bill (8-4-2014 16:23:05) deeplink to this comment

Hi Jan Karel,
I am using a VBA macro to retrieve the contents of a status field in an Excel worksheet. If the status field contains a value less than 255 characters, it returns the entire status. When the status field contains 255 characters or more, it returns #VALUE!. How can I retrieve the entire status field?

This is part of the code:

Option Explicit

Global Proj_Status As Variant

Sub GetProjectData()
Dim filename As String
Dim filepath As String
Dim i As Integer
Dim r As Long
For i = 2 To r
filepath = ""
filepath = Sheet1.Cells(i, 1)
filename = Sheet1.Cells(i, 4)
path = Sheet1.Cells(i, 5)
Stage = Sheet1.Cells(i, 3)

Call MetaData(filepath, filename, path, Stage)
End Sub

Sub MetaData(filepath As String, filename As String, path As String, Stage As String)
Proj_Status = GetInfoFromClosedFile(path, filename, "MR5 - Monthly Status Report", Left(Columns(14).Address(, 0), 1) & 30)
End Sub

Private Function GetInfoFromClosedFile(ByVal wbPath As String, wbname As String, _
wsName As String, cellRef As String) As Variant
Dim arg As String

GetInfoFromClosedFile = ""
If Right(wbPath, 1) <> "\" Then wbPath = wbPath & "\"
If Dir(wbPath & "\" & wbname) = "" Then Exit Function
arg = "'" & wbPath & "[" & wbname & "]" & _
wsName & "'!" & range(cellRef).Address(True, True, xlR1C1)
On Error Resume Next
GetInfoFromClosedFile = ExecuteExcel4Macro(arg)
If GetInfoFromClosedFile = "Total" Then Exit Function
If GetInfoFromClosedFile = "" Or GetInfoFromClosedFile = " " Then
GetInfoFromClosedFile = 0
End If
End Function


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (9-4-2014 07:20:52) deeplink to this comment

Hi Bill,

The function you are using to get info from a closed file has limitations; one of them obviously is the number of characters in the cell you have it return. One way to overcome this is by placing a direct formula link in a cell to the workbook in question. Do this manually the first time like so:

- Open file in question
- hit = on a cell in the macro file and navigate to the other file, click on the cell you need and press enter
- CLose the file with the source data
- now look at the formula you just created

This will tell you how to build the formula from code.

Comment by: Michael (6-5-2018 16:21:14) deeplink to this comment

Just wanted to say thanks a million for an absolutely fantastic site and sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. I've learned a great deal from your site.

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (7-5-2018 07:26:50) deeplink to this comment

Hi Michael,

Thanks! And you're welcome.

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