Macro, while Running, Stops Excel from Responding

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 12, 2020)

1

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.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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 Office 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Inserting a Section Mark

Section marks are used regularly in the writings of some industries, such as in legal documents. If you need a way to ...

Discover More

Calculating Elapsed Time with Excluded Periods

When using Excel to calculate elapsed time, there can be all sorts of criteria that affect the formulas you would ...

Discover More

Capturing a Screen

A picture is worth a thousand words, but getting the pictureâ€""particularly a screen shotâ€""into a workbook may seem ...

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)

Checking for the Existence of a File

The data stored in a worksheet can often correspond to information external to that worksheet. For instance, you might ...

Discover More

Seeing the Difference on the Status Bar

Do you often need to know the difference between two values in your worksheet? This tip shares a quick little macro that ...

Discover More

Forcing Manual Calculation For a Workbook

If you have a large, complex workbook, you may want to make sure that it is always calculated manually instead of ...

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 6 - 6?

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/


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.