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: Finding the Path to the Desktop.

Finding the Path to the Desktop

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 17, 2016)

3

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, and 2016. 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 three minus 3?

2016-03-17 08:32:03

debriggs

I use the Environ method but test to make sure the path exists

Public Function PathExists(Pathname As String) As Boolean
If Len(Dir(Pathname, vbDirectory)) = 0 Then
PathExists = False
Else
PathExists = True
End If
End Function


2013-08-26 10:38:33

Jonathan Murray

Using the user profile directory and appending desktop will only work as long as Microsoft continues to use that structure, and only when your users haven't moved their 'desktop' folder (i.e. to a network asset to facilitate backups or the use of multiple workstations. The VBA solution seems more reliable.


2013-08-26 08:35:39

Bryan

What's the advantage/disadvantage of each method? Environ is easier to understand since it's a native VBA function, and it seems like it would be quicker since you don't have to dimension, create, and destroy an object (although I do it all on one line so I save a little time there), but I've seen the shell method so much on the internet that it really makes me wonder if it has some hidden advantage. Also, manually adding the "Desktop" makes me worry a bit, as I'm always paranoid that hard-coding a variable will fail in some unknown future.


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