Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Debugging a Macro.

Debugging a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 19, 2017)

In Excel, macros are written in a language called Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA. When you write a macro, you need to test it and correct any errors in the macro. This process is called debugging. The process of debugging a macro in VBA is the same as debugging in any other programming language. All you need to do is step through the macro, one command at a time, and make sure it works as you think it should. You do this by viewing both the windows for your macro and a test worksheet. As you step through the macro (using the commands available in the Debug menu of the VBA Editor), you can correct any errors you locate. (I particularly like to use the F8 key to step through the macro one line at a time.)

As you are debugging macros, you need to make sure you think through every possible way the macro could be used and all the possible conditions that could exist at the time the macro is invoked. Try the macro out in all these ways and under all these conditions. In this way, you will make your macro much more useful.

Don't be surprised, however, if you give your workbook to some friends and they discover bugs you never thought of. In those cases, the debugging process is the exact same as mentioned above—except you use their data as your test worksheet. Try to go through the macro using their data, one line at a time, until you discover where your code went wrong and then fix it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7732) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Debugging a Macro.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Tools to View Field Codes

Fields can be used to add all sorts of dynamic data to your documents. Viewing the field codes, at times, is desirable. ...

Discover More

One Change Affects Everything

Have you ever made one formatting change in your document, only to see that change applied to all the paragraphs in the ...

Discover More

Specifying Proper Case

If you need to change the case of letters in a cell, one of the functions you can use is the PROPER function. This tip ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Maximum Length Limit for a Macro

Make your macros too long, and Excel may just refuse to run them at all. This tip explains what the limit is for macros, and ...

Discover More

Triggering an Event when a Worksheet is Deactivated

One way you can use macros in a workbook is to have them automatically triggered when certain events take place. Here's how ...

Discover More

Running Macros in the Background

Want to run a macro in Excel, but not sure if doing so will tie up your computer? Here's how macro processing really happens.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.