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: Understanding Functions in Macros.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 24, 2020)
You already know that you can use subroutines in your macros. VBA also allows you to define functions that can be used in your macros. The difference between functions and subroutines is that functions can return values, whereas subroutines cannot. Consider the following macro:
Sub Macro1() TooMany = TestFunc If TooMany Then MsgBox "Too many columns selected" End Sub
Function TestFunc() TestFunc = False If Selection.Columns.Count > 10 Then TestFunc = True End If End Function
The macro (Macro1) calls the TestFunc function. This function returns either the value False or True, depending on a test it performs. Macro1 then acts upon the value returned. Notice that the function name can appear on the right side of an equal sign. This makes functions very powerful and an important part of any program. Within the function the result is assigned to TestFunc, which is the name of the function itself; this is the value returned by the function.
As with subroutines, you can also pass parameters to your functions. This is illustrated in the following macro:
Sub Macro1() A = 12.3456 MsgBox A & vbCrLf & RoundIt(A) End Sub
Function RoundIt(X) As Integer RoundIt = Int(X + 0.5) End Function
This simple macro (Macro1) defines a number, and then uses a message box to display it and the result of passing the number to the RoundIt function. The output is 12.3456 and 12. Notice that the parameter should be passed to the function within parentheses. Also notice that the function does not use the same variable name as it was passed. This is because VBA reassigns the value of X (what the function needs) so it matches the value of A (what the program is passing to the function). The important thing to remember in passing parameters to functions is that your program must pass the same number of parameters as the function expects and the parameters must be of matching types and in the proper order.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11765) 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: Understanding Functions in Macros.
Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!
Macros are stored as part of a workbook so that they are always available when you have the workbook open. If you want to ...Discover More
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
If you have a range of cells in which you want to count all the commas, there are several ways you can derive the figure ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.