Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Finding the Path to the Desktop.

Finding the Path to the Desktop

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 9, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


1

Donald is writing a macro in which he needs to reference a user's desktop. However, the path to the desktop necessarily varies from system to system and user to user. He wonders what coding he can use to determine the path to the desktop regardless of system.

There are several ways to find the path to the desktop in VBA. One way is to call the Windows scripting host, in this manner:

Function GetDesktop() As String
    Dim oWSHShell As Object

    Set oWSHShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
    GetDesktop = oWSHShell.SpecialFolders("Desktop")
    Set oWSHShell = Nothing
End Function

Note that this is a user-defined macro that you can use either from the worksheet or from another macro. The use from the worksheet would be as follows:

=GetDesktop()

Another way to determine the path to the desktop is to use the following line in your code:

sPath = Environ("USERPROFILE") & "\Desktop"

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8236) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Finding the Path to the Desktop.

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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What is two more than 7?

2023-09-09 10:56:20

J. Woolley

My Excel Toolbox's NameOf function can return the value of an environment variable. For example, this cell formula will return the path to your desktop as indicated in the Tip:
=NameOf("UserProfile")&"\Desktop"
For more about the NameOf function, see my earliest comment here:
https://excelribbon.tips.net/T013432_Inserting_the_Workbook_Name.html
For more about environment variables, see my earliest comment here:
https://excelribbon.tips.net/T013227_Adjusting_a_Path_Based_on_System_and_User.html
My Excel Toolbox's ListSpecialFolders dynamic array function will return 7 Excel special folders plus 48 Windows special folders, including the desktop's path:
=ListSpecialFolders([SkipHeader])
Expect 2 columns (Acronym, Folder) and 55 rows plus the optional header row.
In older versions of Excel that do not support dynamic arrays, you can preselect an appropriate 2x55 (plus header) range and enter the formula as a CSE (Ctrl+Shift+Enter) array. Or you can use My Excel Toolbox's SpillArray function to simulate a dynamic array:
=SpillArray(ListSpecialFolders())
If you only want the path to your desktop, use the following cell formula:
=VLOOKUP("Windows MyDesktop",ListSpecialFolders(),2,FALSE)
See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox


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