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)


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, _
                    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:

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. ...


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What is 6 - 3?

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


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!

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