Macro, while Running, Stops Excel from Responding

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 20, 2014)


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

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.

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

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 five less than 5?

2016-10-12 06:31:31


Thanks buddy .. This "DoEvents" really helped me a lot :)

2015-11-13 05:18:25

Hans Hallebeek

Hi Allen,
True, I was able 'trigger' it to continue by adding DoEvents before the next loop
This removed the "Not Responding" which is Window's way of telling you I don't see anything happening, a nuisance but... my solution helped.

2015-11-13 04:02:07


I face exactly the same problem in excel 2016 with windows 10, while with excel 2007 and windows XP no problem

2015-01-09 04:30:16


This is what I hate most about migrating from XP to 7: VBA hanging only happens in the latter, not the former. No matter which version of Excel, a lot of iterations in a For/do while = freeze.

DoEvents is the way to go, but unfortunately it adds A LOT of execution time. I generally tend to execute it in 1% of my iterations (through some sort of IF implementation).

If only this didn't happen, I would be more proficient at Project Euler...

2014-12-30 16:40:57


23/10 = 2.3 but 2310 returns an error.

Sub t()
Dim i As Double
i = 23 / 10
MsgBox i

i = 23 10
MsgBox i
End Sub

Works for me

2014-12-29 02:55:26


My thanks to all of you who contributed to the solution to my question.

The status bar update was not limited to large files. I had a process where the update stopped at about 220 of 4000 rows. I assume that the coordinate geometry processing being done by that particular macro became a little too much!

However, the addition of the "DoEvents" line of code appears to have cleared things up nicely, with no apparent deterioration in the time taken to run the process. That is one to be remembered!

Again, my thanks to all.

2014-12-23 15:31:07

David de Jongh

You can use the INT function for the integer part of the result: =INT(23/10) resolves to 2.

2014-12-23 08:59:29

Glenn Case


The "" operator is apparently only recognized in VBA. If you open the VBA editor and enter "? 2310" into the immediate window, you will get the answer of 2 returned.

2014-12-22 15:33:00


Peter, 23/10 = 2.3 but 2310 returns an error.

2014-12-20 11:39:18

Peter Atherton

One point not addressed in the article is integer division. Say you want to show the update after each 10% is processed. You would use NumberofRows10 not NumberofRows/10. Say N was a prime number 23 then we would want it to update after processing every 2 rows 23/2 produces 2.3 while 232 returns 2. If we give this value the name lMult we can use the phrase:
If i Mod lMult = 0 Then
Application.StatusBar = msg & i
End If

Also expect a decrease in speed. I've seen an increase in time taken from 25 for a large N Value to 60 for a smaller value.

2014-12-20 07:18:09


Nive tip, but it doesn't always work, for some reason the fact that it's 'backgroud' processing makes it display the 'not reponding' messag while it's working perfectly.

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