Pausing Macros for User Input

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 1, 2019)

3

For those who have been around spreadsheet programs for quite some time, you may remember the old {?}~ command that was available in Lotus 1-2-3. This command allows you to pause the macro while the user enters data in the spreadsheet.

Excel doesn't include the same capability, but it does have ways that you can prompt the user for input. The two primary methods are these:

  • MsgBox function. This function displays a dialog box and a set of buttons. When the user clicks on a button, an integer value is returned that indicates the button clicked. Your program can then take action based on the value returned. (For additional information on the MsgBox function, see this tip.)
  • InputBox function. This function displays a dialog box and allows the user to type a response. Whatever the user types is returned as a string to the macro. (For additional information on the InputBox function, see this tip.)

Both of these functions have been discussed in other issues of ExcelTips, as noted in the links above. Based on the user's input, you can modify what the macro does in any way desired. The only drawback to the functions is that they only return a single, discrete piece of data. In other words, they aren't designed to allow the user to input a range of cells and then continue processing. For instance, if you wanted to ask the user to provide five values destined for five cells, you would need to present an InputBox five times, depositing the user's responses into the desired cells one after the other.

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 (9515) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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

Distributing Columns Evenly

When you want the horizontal space in a table to be divided evenly among the columns in the table, you'll love this tip. ...

Discover More

Looking Up Names when Key Values are Identical

Need to look up some values based upon some key items that may be identical to each other? Depending on the ...

Discover More

Recording a Macro

One of the most common ways of creating macros is to use Word's macro recorder. This tip shows how easy it is to use the ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Opening a Workbook and Suppressing Automatic Macros

Want to stop Excel from running any automatic macros that may be stored with a workbook? Here's how to do it.

Discover More

Macros Run Slower in Newer Excel?

If you run a macro you used in an older version of Excel on a newer system, it may seem like the macro runs slower. Here ...

Discover More

Changing Directories in a Macro

Need to specify which directory on your hard drive should be used by a macro? It's easy to do using the ChDir command.

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 five minus 0?

2019-06-05 11:42:18

Willy Vanhaelen

Here is a typical example of the use of InputBox and MsgBox: This macro asks to enter a column letter or letters and gives you the corresponding column number.

Sub ColNr()
X = InputBox("Column letter(s)")
X = Sheet1.Range(X & 1).Column
MsgBox "Column number is: " & X
End Sub

This is a simple macro that does not trap errors.
You can even combine it's 3 lines to one line:

Sub ColNr()
MsgBox "Column number is: " & Sheet1.Range(InputBox("Column letter(s)") & 1).Column
End Sub

By adding On Error Resume Next you trap all errors. You don't get an answer but neither do you get a crash message from vba:

Sub ColNr()
On Error Resume Next
MsgBox "Column number is: " & Sheet1.Range(InputBox("Column letter(s)") & 1).Column
End Sub

Here is something to play with:
Copy the following line to the clipboard:
MsgBox "Column number is: " & Sheet1.Range(InputBox("Column letter(s)") & 1).Column
paste it into the Immediate Window in vba and press enter. Have fun.


2019-06-04 13:21:52

JMJ

@J. Woolley: VERY interesting! I didn't know that form of InputBox, but it is the answer to many, many problems... Thank you!


2019-06-01 10:46:53

J. Woolley

Application.InputBox is more versatile than VBA.InputBox (which only returns a String). Application.InputBox can return a Range or an array of values. See
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/vba/api/excel.application.inputbox


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.