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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 24, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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
...
[your code]
...
sOp = "opening target file"
...
[your code]
...
sOp = "counting lines already filled"
...
[your code]
...
sOp = "copying source data table"
...
[your code]
...
sOp = "saving and closing"
...
[your code]

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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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. ...

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