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. ...

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