Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Friendly and Informative Error Handling.

Friendly and Informative Error Handling

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 29, 2016)

Other people use my workbooks and I have a simple technique that I use when writing error handlers that makes it easier to cope with problems if macros fail. Every procedure that is at all risky contains a local string variable, sOp, whose value is set during the macro code as follows:

Dim sOp As String
...

...
sOp = "opening target file"
...

...
sOp = "counting lines already filled"
...

...
sOp = "copying source data table"
...

...
sOp = "saving and closing"
...

These statements are nothing more than one might put in as remarks, but they have the advantage that when an error occurs, the user can be informed what was going on at the time. At its simplest the error handler just needs to contain a single statement like this:

MsgBox "Procedure MyMacro failed while " + vbCrLf + sOp

The value of sOp can also be used to determine the next action (resume, exit, etc). Using this technique in your own macros can make them easier to debug and more friendly for users.

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 (9577) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Friendly and Informative Error Handling.

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

Making Sure Changes and Comments are Anonymous

When using Track Changes, Word normally notes the originator of a particular comment or change. This information can then ...

Discover More

Messed-up Typing

It is not uncommon for newcomers to Word to overwrite their existing document text as they are editing. There is a reason ...

Discover More

Referencing Worksheet Tabs

Ever want to use the name of a worksheet tab within a cell? Here's how you can access that information using the CELL ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Easily Changing the Default Drive and Directory

Need a quick way to change the default drive and directory in a macro you are writing? Here's the commands to do it and a ...

Discover More

Deleting Old Data from a Worksheet

If you keep on-going data in a worksheet, some of your dataâ€"over timeâ€"may need to be deleted. If you have an ...

Discover More

Removing Pictures for a Worksheet in VBA

Excel allows you to add pictures to your worksheet, even within a macro. However, you might have a bit harder time ...

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 two more than 2?

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.