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

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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Searching for Formatting

When searching for text, Word can pay attention to more than just the characters in the text. It can also pay attention ...

Discover More

Printing Odd or Even Pages

When you print a worksheet, Excel normally prints all the pages or a consecutive series of pages that you specify. If you ...

Discover More

Excel Custom Formats (Table of Contents)

The fundamental building block to displaying your data is the feature known as custom formats. Here is the table of ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Switching Windows in a Macro

When you have multiple workbooks open at the same time, Excel allows you to easily switch between those workbooks. How ...

Discover More

Seeing the Difference on the Status Bar

Do you often need to know the difference between two values in your worksheet? This tip shares a quick little macro that ...

Discover More

Swapping Two Strings

Strings are used quite frequently in macros. You may want to swap the contents of two string variables, and you can do so ...

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 7 + 4?

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.