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: Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro.

Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 3, 2016)

When using macros to access or change data in worksheets, you will most often rely on ranges. Doing so removes the need to actually select cells in the macro. Even so, you may want to (for whatever reason) actually select the cells you want to work with. If the cell you want to select is in a different workbook, the task becomes a bit harder. For instance, consider the following two lines of code:

Sub CellSelect1()
    Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").Select
    ActiveSheet.Range("A18").Select
End Sub

You might think that this macro will select Sheet3!A18 in the pwd.xls workbook. It does, with some caveats. If you have more than one workbook open, this macro results in an error, if pwd.xls isn't the currently active workbook. This occurs even if pwd.xls is already open, but simply not selected.

The same behavior exists even when you condense the selection code down to a single line:

Sub CellSelect2()
    Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").Range("A18").Select
End Sub

You still get the error, except when pwd.xls is the active workbook. The solution is to entirely change how you perform the jump. Instead of using the Select method, use the Goto method and specify a target address for the method:

Sub CellSelect3()
    Application.Goto _
      Reference:=Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").[A18]
End Sub

This code will work only if pwd.xls is already open, but it doesn't need to be the currently active workbook. If you want the target workbook to be scrolled so that the specified cell is in the upper-left corner of what you are viewing, then you can specify the Scroll attribute to be True, as shown here:

Sub CellSelect4()
    Application.Goto _
      Reference:=Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").[A18] _
      Scroll:=True
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11947) 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: Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro.

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

Transposing Two Characters

If you have two characters in the wrong order, you might be interested in a shortcut you can use to switch their order. ...

Discover More

Unique Date Displays

Need to print an elapsed date in a strange format? It's easier to do than may appear at first glance. Here's a discussion ...

Discover More

Sorting ZIP Codes

Sorting ZIP Codes can be painless, provided all the codes are formatted the same. Here's how to do the sorting if you ...

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)

Resetting Default Names for New Worksheets

When you add a new worksheet to a workbook, Excel gives it a default name that consists of "Sheet" followed by a number. ...

Discover More

Digital Signatures for Macros

The security features built into Excel allow you to digitally sign your macros so that users can rest assured that they ...

Discover More

Understanding the While...Wend Structure

Logical structures are important in programming, as they allow you to control how the programming statements are ...

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 one more than 5?

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.