Using a Formula in a Footer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 19, 2016)

Skye has three cells on a worksheet that are important. One cell contains a start date, the second contains an ending date, and the third contains a total for the transactions between those dates. He would like to have a footer for the printed page that incorporates these three pieces of data, dynamically. He wonders if there is a way to get a formula into the footer so it can reflect these values.

There is no built-in way to do this in Excel because formulas cannot be entered into footers; they aren't recognized as formulas by the program. You can, however, use a macro to set your footer. Let's assume, for the sake of this approach, that your start date is contained in cell E1, your ending date is in cell E2, and your total of transactions are in cell E3. In that case, you could use a macro like this:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforePrint(Cancel As Boolean)
    Dim sTemp As String

    With Worksheets("Sheet1")
        ' Set wording for date range
        sTemp = .Range("E1").Text & " through " & .Range("E2").Text
        sTemp = sTemp & " (" & .Range("E3").Text & ")"
        .PageSetup.CenterFooter = sTemp
    End With
End Sub

There are a few things to note in this macro. First of all, the macro only sets the footer information in the worksheet named Sheet1, though you can change this worksheet name to whatever you need. Second, notice that the .Text property is used instead of the .Value property. There are actually three ways you could reference the cell contents, as shown here:

sTemp = Worksheets("Sheet1").Range("E1")
sTemp = Worksheets("Sheet1").Range("E1").Value
sTemp = Worksheets("Sheet1").Range("E1").Text

The first two approaches are equivalent; they set sTemp equal to the contents of the cell. The third approach is different; it sets sTemp equal to the formatted text of the cell. In other words, sTemp will be equal to whatever is in cell E1, as it is formatted in the cell. Since you are working with dates and sums, this is the approach you want to use, so it is what was used in the macro.

Third, the macro ends up setting up the footer in the sTemp variable. As written, the macro would create a footer that looked similar to this:

1 Mar 2016 through 15 Mar 2016 ($1,234.56)

Again, the actual appearance depends on the formatting in cells E1, E2, and E3. The macro adds the word "through" and puts parentheses around the sum of transactions. You can modify these additional elements directly within the macro.

Fourth, the macro assigns the formatted sTemp string (your footer) to the center position in the page footer for the worksheet. If you prefer for the footer to be elsewhere, you can simply change the .CenterFooter property to either .LeftFooter or .RightFooter.

Finally, you need to be aware that this macro is desgined to be added to the ThisWorkbook module. It is run, automatically, just before the workbook is printed. It is not triggered, however, by looking at the worksheet in Print Preview, so you can't count on what you may see before you actually print.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (559) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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