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Making VLOOKUP Trigger a Macro

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Making VLOOKUP Trigger a Macro.

Mike uses VLOOKUP regularly in his worksheets, but wonders if there is a way to make the function run a macro if it fails to return a value.

There are a couple of ways you could approach this problem. First, you could use a conditional formula to determine whether VLOOKUP will return a value or an error. If it will return an error, then you can have the formula run a user-defined function (MyUDF), as shown here:


All you need to do is make sure that you put your actual VLOOKUP code in the formula (twice) and replace MyUDF with the name of the user-defined function you want to trigger.

Another approach is to set up an event handler for the Calculate event. This can be rather simple, as in the following:

Private Sub Worksheet_Calculate()
   If IsError(Range("A1")) Then Call Macro1
End Sub

This example assumes that the VLOOKUP formula is in cell A1 and that you want to run a macro called Macro1 if the VLOOKUP returns an error. Your macro could then do whatever you need it to do. Remember, as well, that the Calculate event handler should be placed in the ThisWorksheet object.

You could also make the Calculate event handler a bit more robust, as shown here:

Private Sub Worksheet_Calculate()
    On Error GoTo myMac
    If Range("A1").Value Then
        Exit Sub
    End If
    Macro1   'macro to run if VLOOKUP fails
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10107) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Making VLOOKUP Trigger a Macro.

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Comments for this tip:

Oscar    15 Jun 2015, 10:40
It would be interesting to see a specific example of a macro that needs to be triggered when vlookup fails.

balthamossa2b    15 Jun 2015, 08:30
I strongly recommend not going down the Worksheet event route for this one. If you aren't very careful with your macro chances are you will fall into an infinite loop.

Also if you want to use a macro, might as well use one all the way. Instead of using VLOOKUP, use Range.Find directly.
Bryan    06 May 2013, 08:06
If your macro returns a value, use:


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