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: Self-Deleting Macros.

Self-Deleting Macros

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 9, 2016)

2

Patrick is writing a macro, and he wants the macro to delete itself after a specific expiration date is reached. There are a couple of ways that this task can be approached. First, you could write a macro that would only function before a specific date, in the following manner:

Sub MyMacro()

    ExpirationDate = #1/1/2014#
    If Now() < ExpirationDate Then

        'Rest of macro goes here

    End if
End Sub

The idea is that if (in this case) the current date is prior to January 1, 2014, then the main body of the macro will execute. If it is January 1 or later, then the macro will not execute. This approach, of course, does not actually delete the macro; it simply checks to see that the macro is being executed before a certain date.

To actually get rid of the macro code, you need to take a different approach:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    Dim VBComp As VBIDE.VBComponent
    Dim VBComps As VBIDE.VBComponents

    'Delete if Past Date
    If Date >= #1/1/2014# Then
        Set VBComps = ActiveWorkbook.VBProject.VBComponents

        For Each VBComp In VBComps
            Select Case VBComp.Type
                Case vbext_ct_StdModule, vbext_ct_MSForm, _
                  vbext_ct_ClassModule
                    VBComps.Remove VBComp
                Case Else
                    With VBComp.CodeModule
                        .DeleteLines 1, .CountOfLines
                    End With
            End Select
        Next VBComp
    End If

    Set VBComps = Nothing
    Set VBComp = Nothing
End Sub

This code was adapted from a macro originally written by Chip Pearson, available on his site at the following address:

http://www.cpearson.com/excel/vbe.aspx

To make the macro work, you'll need to make sure that there is a reference to Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications Extensibility. (You do this by choosing, in the VB Editor, Tools | References and then choosing Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications Extensibility in the available references.)

The macro runs when the workbook is opened and, if the date is greater than or equal to January 1, 2014, then each component of the VBProject is deleted. This means that the macro is very powerful, because it deletes everything, not just a single procedure or module.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this macro, of course. First, if the user chooses to not enable macros when the workbook is opened, then this code will never run and the macro won't be deleted. Second, deleting macros in this way obviously introduces changes to the workbook. That means that when the workbook is closed, the user will be asked if they want to save their changes. If they choose not to, then the deletions will not be saved and the macro will again run the next time the workbook is opened.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12812) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Self-Deleting Macros.

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

Hiding Errors on Printouts

If there are error values in a worksheet, you may not want those error values to appear on a printout. Excel actually allows ...

Discover More

Spell-Checking Abbreviations

Need to make sure that Word includes abbreviations when you check a document's spelling? Here's how to make sure that those ...

Discover More

Quickly Accessing the Column Tab

If you need to quickly display the Column tab of the Table Properties dialog box, here are some handy tricks you can use. ...

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)

Transferring Data between Worksheets Using a Macro

Macros can be used for all sorts of data processing needs. One need that is fairly common is the need to move data from one ...

Discover More

Removing All Macros

Macros are stored as part of a workbook so that they are always available when you have the workbook open. If you want to get ...

Discover More

Continuing Macro Lines

Sometimes a macro command line can get very, very long. This can make it hard to understand when you look at it a month or so ...

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 seven less than 7?

2016-11-09 17:58:09

Alec Whatmough

My tip for sharing workbooks that require macros to be enabled is to:
1/ Insert a worksheet with instructions that macros must be enabled (and how to do so)
2/ Write a before_close macro to select that sheet and hide all others, then protect the workbook, then save it. This means 99% of people won't be able to do anything without macros enabled.
3/ Write a Workbook Open macro that unprotects the workbook, unhides the working sheet(s) and selects the desired starting point.

This is not utterly foolproof, but has yet to let me down.


2013-12-02 10:59:41

Bryan

If you wanted to be *really* evil, you could have the macro save the workbook after it has deleted the procedures!

Couple things to watch out for:
* You need to update your security settings by going to the Developer tab > Code > Macro Security > Macro Settings, then check "Trust access to the VBA Object Model". Be warned that this could potentially open yourself up to VBA viruses... though I don't think there are tons of those floating around anymore.
* According to Chip, code which references the IDE ojbect model can be deleted without warning by virus scanners. I've not had this problem, but you could wake up one day to find out that your code-deletion code has itself been deleted!


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.