Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Replacing and Converting in a Macro.

Replacing and Converting in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 8, 2016)


Saskia was having a problem converting information, under the control of a macro, and still having it be usable in Excel. When she would receive a worksheet that showed numbers formatted with decimal points, she would need to convert the values so they used decimal commas, consistent with how numbers are displayed in Holland. She would do a find and replace, and everything would work fine. However, when she recorded a macro that did the find and replace, the resulting cells were treated as text instead of as numeric values.

The reason for this behavior is that Excel VBA "speaks" American, and some actions done using a recorded macro don't work as expected due to that fact. Because American Excel expects the decimal separator to be a period, interpreting a "number" in VBA with another separator (such as a comma) will cause Excel to consider the value to be text.

The workaround is not to use find and replace, but to use a different trick. Consider the following short macro:

Sub ConvertNumbers()
    Dim oConRange As Range
    Set oConRange = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Cells.SpecialCells(xlConstants)
    oConRange.Value = oConRange.Value
End Sub

This macro defines a range that consists of all the cells that contain constants. Then, it sets the value of each cell in the range equal to itself. In the process of doing this, Excel re-evaluates the contents of each cell and converts it to the appropriate numeric value. In other words, numbers that contain decimal points are converted to numbers that contain decimal commas.

There are other ways you can process the cells using a macro, but the above procedure seems to work the best and the quickest.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12630) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Replacing and Converting 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. ...


AutoText Behaving Erratically

The AutoText feature of Word is a great tool for adding common text or phrases with a minimum of fuss. What do you do if ...

Discover More

Editing a Toolbar Button Image

You already know that Word allows you to customize the tools on your toolbars. You may not have known that it also allows ...

Discover More

Comments in Headers and Footers

Comments can be a necessity when developing documents in conjunction with other people. They can be used to help document ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Converting Numbers to Strings

When creating macros, it is often necessary to change from one type of data to another. Here's how you can change from a ...

Discover More

Creating a Plus/Minus Button

Want a quick way to convert positive values to negative and vice versa? You can create your own plus/minus button by ...

Discover More

Buttons Don't Stay Put

Excel allows you to easily add all sorts of objects and controls to your workbook. Sometimes, though, those items might ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 five more than 3?

2016-03-08 13:31:47


Take care. This is a very dangerous macro. When you have not a continuous block of cells with data in it (have some empty cells in a range, or some solitary cells anywhere on the sheet) then the contents of one or more cells is overwritten with the contents of another cell.

2014-10-30 15:54:35

Hector J. Digrandi


In a user form chainging EXCEL´s configuration from "," to "." it works fine (interprets comma decimal point entered as numeric.
Is there a way to change (VBA) EXCEL configuration from comma to point and before exit change it back... Just for this one an only workbook.

thanks and best regards,


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

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.