Macro, while Running, Stops Excel from Responding

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 12, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


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When Dave writes a macro that must process a lot of information in a For...Next loop, he always uses the status bar to indicate progress. Typically, he'll have a message displayed there such as "Processing row X of Y." When "Y" is a large value (the top end of the For...Next loop), Excel often stops updating the status bar and displays something like "Not Responding" in Excel's title bar. The macro is still running, though, and when it completes, Excel starts responding and everything works like it should. Dave wonders how he can make Excel stop behaving in this manner and, instead, display the status bar updates like he wants.

This behavior seems to occur when it appears to Windows that Excel has stopped responding. (It is Windows, after all, that is responsible for what appears in a program's title bar.) I was able to reproduce the behavior quite easily if I have multiple programs open in Windows and I click to another program window while Excel is chunking through a long macro. Essentially, if Excel is busy performing the macro or it cannot keep up in asking Windows to update the status bar, then it does, indeed appear like Excel has stopped responding.

There are two possible approaches that can be used. First, you could use the DoEvents command within the loop. Normally this is used to instruct the macro to pay attention to anything that is in the events queue, such as when someone presses the keyboard. It is equivalent to forcing Excel to "look up" from the macro on which it is working and to communicate with Windows. This would, necessarily, let Windows know that Excel really is responsive and allow the updates to the status bar to occur. You could even put the command right after updating the status bar:

Application.StatusBar = "Processing row " & X & " of " & Y
DoEvents

The other thing to try is to simply not update the status bar as much. If the upper end of your loop is very large, then it might be better to calculate a percentage and update the status bar when some portion of the total is completed—perhaps every 5% or 10% of the total. This would mean the status bar only needs to be updated 10 or 20 times during the loop, rather than hundreds or thousands of times. This may mean that Windows can keep up with the requests to update the status bar and, as a bonus, your macro may run faster because it doesn't have to update the status bar as often.

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ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13341) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365.

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 two more than 7?

2020-12-12 11:12:33

J. Woolley

My Excel Toolbox includes the freely available ProgressBar_Text and ProgressBar_Form procedures. ProgressBar_Text uses the status bar. ProgressBar_Form includes a user form. I like to use the latter with Lightbox_Initiate to obscure the Excel window while a long macro is running, followed by Lightbox_Terminate. See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/


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