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: Understanding Subroutines.

Understanding Subroutines

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 28, 2015)

1

When you write macros in Excel, you use a programming language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). This is based on the BASIC programming language, with extensions specific to Excel. One of the features of the language is the capability to use subroutines in your programs. For instance, consider the following VBA macro:

Sub Macro1()
    TestSub
End Sub
Sub TestSub()
    MsgBox "In the subroutine"
End Sub

This simple macro (Macro1) does nothing but call a subroutine (TestSub), which in turn displays a message box to inform you that it is in the subroutine. When you click on OK to dismiss the message box, the subroutine ends and returns control to the main program. You can have as many subroutines in a VBA program as you desire. The purpose of each should be to perform common tasks so you don't have to rewrite the same code all the time.

You can also pass parameters to your subroutines. These parameters can then be acted upon by your subroutine. For instance, consider the following macro:

Sub Macro1()
    A = 1
    PrintIt A
End Sub
Sub PrintIt(x)
    MsgBox "Value: " & x
End Sub

This is a simple macro that sets a variable, and then passes it in a subroutine call to PrintIt. This subroutine displays the value of the variable in a message box, and then (after you press OK) returns to the calling program.

Notice that the subroutine does not use the same variable name as it was passed. This is because VBA reassigns the value of x (what the subroutine expects to receive) so that it matches the value of A (what the program is passing to the subroutine). The important thing to remember in passing parameters to subroutines is that your program must pass the same number of parameters as the subroutine expects, and that the parameters must be of matching types and in the proper order.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11764) 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: Understanding Subroutines.

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

Opening Two Workbooks with the Same Name

If you have two workbooks that each have the same name, opening them at the same time in Excel could cause some problems. ...

Discover More

Determining if Caps Lock is On

If your macro needs to determine the status of the Caps Lock key, you need the code in this tip. Just use the Information ...

Discover More

Combining Word Documents

At some point you may want to insert one Word document inside another Word document. An easy way to do this is to use the ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Stopping a Checked Box from being Unchecked

When creating user forms for use in Excel, you are provided with a range of controls you can add, including check boxes. If ...

Discover More

Adjusting Values with Formulas

Paste Special is a great tool that allows you to modify the values in a range of cells in your worksheets. You may want, ...

Discover More

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
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 8 - 2?

2015-11-30 04:27:18

balthamossa2b

When passing variables as Sub arguments, it's preferable to declare its type. For example, in the macro above that would be

Sub PrintIt (x As String)


It also works without declaration, it's just that Excel will consider the variable a Variant. A Variant occupies more memory space, but more importantly not knowing which kind of variable goes in the macro can cause execution problems.

Like for example if you tried CInt(x) in the above macro.


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.