Category Archives: MS Office

vba progress bar

Animated VBA progress bar for Excel and Access

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Sometimes there are very large and complex solutions built in Excel (which is a mistake mind you), where calculations or macro executions can take minutes or even hours. This causes many issues, especially for the end users who usually do not know how long processing the calculations/macros will take. In such cases it is important to notify the end users of the progress of your macros/calculations so they can switch to other activities. This is where the VBA Progress bar can aid you.

For one of my older projects I needed a VBA Progress Bar that would show:

  1. The current progress of the computations
  2. How much execution time was left (estimation)

Users especially wanted to know how much execution time was left – whether they should grab a coffee or stay and wait for the macro to finish.

Option 1: Animated VBA Progress Bar UserForm

The easiest approach to animating an Excel is to create a simple UserForm with the use of a label control which width you can manipulate to show the current progress. Easy and straightforward.

Example of how to use the VBA Progress Bar in Excel:

Sub ExampleProgressBar()
    Dim pb As ProgressBar
    Set pb = New ProgressBar
    pb.Initialize "My title", 100
    'Add 10% progress
    pb.AddProgress 10
    '...
    'Hide and remove the Progress Bar
    pb.Hide
    Set pb = Nothing
End Sub

The result:

Advanced VBA Progress Bar
Advanced VBA Progress Bar

Download the Progress UserForm complete with sourcecode here:

Option 2: Animated Worksheet VBA Progress Bar

The UserForm progress bar is very good to use when you don’t want to show too much content or use advanced formatting. However, if you want the Progress Bar GUI to be more attractive I would suggest to go with a Worksheet Progress Bar. This gives you unlimited possibilities of how to make your Progress Bar more visually attractive and allows you to use Charts/Conditional formatting etc. My example below calculates the expected time left to complete a given task based on historical progress (forecasting based on how much time to make certain progress). Pretty cool and useful in my opinion when dealing with long lasting VBA Macros.

Excel VBA Progress Bar
Excel VBA Progress Bar

Below feel free to download a Workbook with the Excel Worksheet ProgressBar VBA:


Now how does it work? The progress bar is located on a separate hidden worksheet which appears only when the progress bar is activated. The estimation of the time left is extrapolated based on the time which elapsed to the current progress and will become more accurate with time – depending on how comparative each increment is.

See the example below of how the progress bar is activated and incremented.

Example of how to use the VBA Progress Bar in Excel:

Sub TestProgressBar()
    'Activate the progress bar - switch to the progress bar worksheet
    Call ActivateProgressBar(ActiveWorkbook, ActiveSheet, 100)
    For i = 1 To 100
        Call AddOneProgress
        DoEvents 
    Next i
    'Deactivate the progress bar - switch to your original worksheet
    Call DeactivateProgressBar(ActiveWorkbook)
End Sub

So simple! Notice also when opening the example file that the update procedure contains the “DoEvents” command. This guarantees that when doing long computations the Excel screen will not freeze but will update and be responsive. The “DoEvents” command is better than using a “Sleep” command as the “Sleep” command does not always work as expected (sometimes freezing Excel) and will unnecessarily extend the time needed to execute the macro. Whereas the “DoEvents” command will only carry out pending Excel events (usually just refreshing the window).

scrape html add-in

Excel Scrape html by element id, name or… any regex!

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Sometimes I have a need to quickly scrape some data from website to be able to work on them and update their values when needed e.g. stock prices, temperature, search results, statistics etc. From time to time I stumble upon similar issues. Below find 2 quick UDF functions (user defined functions) that you can use to scrape html items by id and name. Scrape HTML elements in Excel by ID, name or Regex.

Get element by id

An example of getting an element by ID:

Public Function GetElementById(url As String, id As String)
    Dim XMLHTTP As Object, html As Object, objResult As Object
    Set XMLHTTP = CreateObject("MSXML2.serverXMLHTTP")
    XMLHTTP.Open "GET", url, False
    XMLHTTP.setRequestHeader "Content-Type", "text/xml"
    XMLHTTP.setRequestHeader "User-Agent", "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0"
    XMLHTTP.send
    Set html = CreateObject("htmlfile")
    html.body.innerHTML = XMLHTTP.ResponseText
    Set objResult = html.GetElementById(id)
    GetElementById = objResult.innerHTML
End Function

Get element by name

An example of getting an element by name.

Public Function GetElementByName(url As String, name As String)
    Dim XMLHTTP As Object, html As Object, objResult As Object
    Set XMLHTTP = CreateObject("MSXML2.serverXMLHTTP")
    XMLHTTP.Open "GET", url, False
    XMLHTTP.setRequestHeader "Content-Type", "text/xml"
    XMLHTTP.setRequestHeader "User-Agent", "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0"
    XMLHTTP.send
    Set html = CreateObject("htmlfile")
    html.body.innerHTML = XMLHTTP.ResponseText
    Set objResult = html.GetElementByName(name)
    GetElementByName = objResult.innerHTML
End Function

Examples

You can use these functions directly like other Excel functions like this:

But these functions are often not enough to scrape more complicated structured data or require additional cleansing before being able to use the data. I thought therefore of using xpath at first but regular expressions seemed the more obvious solution. So I knocked up this more flexible alternative of the above functions which allows you to use any regex to scrape data of a website:

Get element by regex

An example of scraping an element by regex (regular expression).

Public Function GetElementByRegex(url As String, reg As String)
    Dim XMLHTTP As Object, html As Object, objResult As Object
    Set XMLHTTP = CreateObject("MSXML2.serverXMLHTTP")
    XMLHTTP.Open "GET", url, False
    XMLHTTP.setRequestHeader "Content-Type", "text/xml"
    XMLHTTP.setRequestHeader "User-Agent", "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0"
    XMLHTTP.send
    Set html = CreateObject("htmlfile")
    html.body.innerHTML = XMLHTTP.ResponseText
    Set regEx = CreateObject("VBScript.RegExp")
    regEx.Pattern = reg
    regEx.Global = True
    If regEx.Test(XMLHTTP.ResponseText) Then
        Set matches = regEx.Execute(XMLHTTP.ResponseText)
        GetElementByRegex = matches(0).SubMatches(0)
        Exit Function
    End If
    GetElementByRegex = ""
End Function

Need an example? Here is one.

Let us say we want to scrape the latest headline off the cnn website:

scrape: cnn
CNN

Try this regex then:

=GetElementByRegex("http://edition.cnn.com/";"<h2 data-analytics=""_list-hierarchical-xs_article_"" class=""banner-text banner-text--natural""><strong>(.*?)</strong></h2>")

The result:

scrape
Regex

What did I do? I looked at the HTML of the Cnn website and notice the following HTML:

<h2 data-analytics="_list-hierarchical-xs_article_" class="banner-text banner-text--natural"><strong>
Why these girls fear the summer
</strong></h2>

As this piece of HTML is quite unique in the whole HTML content we can simply replace the header between the strong tags with the following regex (.*?). This will extract any string of characters between these tags which are not end of line characters.

Simple? Yes. If you want to play around with this I recommend you read more on using regular expressions e.g. on stackoverflow.

map

Excel Google Charts Tool

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I always wanted to utilize the beautiful and interactive Google Charts in Excel. The Google Charts repository is constantly growing and sometimes Excel lacks those features. Hence I introduce the Excel Google Charts Tool to display a way to leverage some of those Google Charts directly in Excel.

The WebBrowser control is no longer supported by Office 2013 and above, hence this functionality might not work by default in those versions of Office

The Excel Google Charts Tool contains example Google Charts embedded inside an Excel xlsm file allowing you to visualize data in a more attractive way and enabling more user interaction.

Excel Google Charts: Gauge Chart

Gauge charts are extremely useful to highlight important values in reports. You can also visualize the good and bad ranges of values e.g. orange and red for too high values. These however, can be easily configured. I

Excel VBA Gauge Chart
Excel VBA Gauge Chart

How to configure a Gauge Chart?

Google Chart: Gauge Chart

Excel Google Charts: Treemap Chart

Treemaps can be particularly useful when you want to drill-down data values e.g. used disk space and drill-down across folders. Google Treemaps have 2 values which you can visualize – the area of the treemap and the color.

Excel VBA Treemap Chart
Excel VBA Treemap Chart

How to configure a Treemap Chart?

Google Charts: Treemap Chart

Excel Google Charts: Org Chart

Excel VBA Orgchart
Excel VBA Orgchart

How to configure a Org Chart?

Org Charts come in handy when you want to visualize the tree/organisational structure.
Google Charts: Org Chart

Excel Google Charts: Geo Chart

I would say – one of the most useful charts when playing with geo-data. Using the Geo Chart you can easily visualize how your data is broken down across countries. You can zoom in the Geo Chart just to show a single continent, country or region.

Excel VBA Geochart
Excel VBA Geochart

How to configure a Geo Chart?

Google Charts: Geo Chart

Download

The file below contains all examples of Google Charts used in the Excel Google Charts Tool.


Currently the Google Chart Tool contains examples of the following Google Charts:

Issues and errors

One issue you might stumble on when using the above Google Charts may be due to recent scriptable control restrictions imposed by Microsoft. Due to these in Excel 2013 and above Excel will restrict (by default) the use of some controls e.g. Microsoft Web Browser Control – which is required to run the above Google Charts. There is a way around that so utilize the link above to read more.

SQL in VBA

Using SQL in VBA on Excel. Run SELECT Queries from VBA

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Many times I was irritated of the lack of some Excel functionality (or just I don’t know there is) to easily transform data w/o using pivot tables. SQL in VBA was the only thing that was missing for me.

Distinct, grouping rows of Excel data, running multiple selects etc.
Some time agon when I had a moment of time to spare I did my homework on the topic only to discover that running SQL queries from Excel VBA is possible and easy…

Using SQL in VBA example

sql in excel
An Excel Worksheet and the Output of the RunSELECT Macro
Let see how to run a simple SELECT SQL Query in Excel VBA on an example Excel Worksheet. On the right see my Excel Worksheet and the Message Box with the similar output from my VBA Macro. The VBA Code is below:

Explaining the Code

So what is happening in the macro above? Let us break it down:

Connecting to the Data Source

First we need to connect via the ADODB Driver to our Excel Worksheet. This is the same Driver which runs SQL Queries on MS Access Databases:

The Provider is the Drive which is responsible for running the query.

The ConnectionStrings defines the Connection properties, like the path to the Queries File (example above is for ThisWorkbook) or if the first row contains a header (HDR).

The Open command executes the connection.

You can find more information on the ADODB.Connection Object on MSDN.

Looking for other Connection Strings to XLS or Access files? Check out ConnectionStrings.com. Here are some examples:

Running the SQL Select Query

Having connected to our Data Source Excel Worksheet we can now run a SQL SELECT Query:

So what happens here? First we run the Execute command with our SELECT query:

What does it do? It indicates that our records are in Sheet1. We can obviously extend this query just to filter people above the age of 30:

This would be the result:

sql in excel - above 30
SELECT * FROM [Sheet1$] WHERE Age > 30

The Execute command returns a ADODB RecordSet. We need to loop through the recordset to get each record:

Clean up

Lastly we need to Clean up our Objects to free memory. This is actually quite an important step as if you VBA code is runs a lot of queries or computations you might see a slow-down soon enough!

What Else Can I Do?

You can do tons of great things with ADODB / MS Queries / SQL in Excel. Here are some additional ideas:

  • Run Queries Across Worksheets – you can run JOIN queries on multiple Excel Worksheets. E.g.

    On the below tables:
    sql in excel example
    Running SELECT with JOIN on 2 Worksheets
  • Extracting Data from External Data Sources – use different connection strings to connect to Access Databases, CSV files or text files
  • Do more efficient LOOKUPs – read my post on VLOOKUP vs SQL to learn more
outlook users

Get Outlook recipients information via VBA (Outlook users data)

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Being a corporate Consultant I always thought of the vast amount of data stored in various corporate databases that could be put to good use. Lot of data is stored and is accessible via Outlook – although mostly not appreciated.

I once received an assignment which required analyzing the data of all employees in our company. One way to approach this assignment was to contact HR, which would then need to contact regional HR … and so on. A process that would last at least a week before I could get my hands on the actual data. And even then this would require verifying the data and some cleansing. The other easier way – the corporate Outlook correspondence group containing all active employees and to somehow dump this data to an Excel/CSV file for analysis. Hence, I conducted a short research resulting in the following VBA function:

VBA to extract Outlook recipient information

Here is the VBA code:

Sub DumpOutlookData()
    Dim NewMail As Outlook.MailItem
    Set NewMail = Application.ActiveInspector.CurrentItem
    Dim s As String, filePath As String
    s = ""
    On Error Resume Next
    For Each Recipient In NewMail.Recipients
      s = s & Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.Alias
      s = s & ";" & Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.Name
      s = s & ";" & Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.JobTitle
      s = s & ";" & Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.City
      s = s & ";" & Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.Department & vbNewLine
    Next Recipient
    Set FSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    filePath = Date & "-Outlook Data.txt"
    Set oFile = FSO.CreateTextFile(filePath)
    oFile.WriteLine s
    oFile.Close
    Call MsgBox("Saved to: " & filePath)
End Sub

Notice that what it does is locate the current open email and inspect its recipients. Next it traverses the whole list of recipients and dumps that data to your default VBA directory.

How to dump Outlook recipient information – Step by step

To make sure you are using the code above correctly be sure to follow the instructions below:

Insert the function to your Outlook Visual Basic project

Go to Developer ribbon tab and select Visual Basic. In the VBE (Visual Basic Editor) right click on your VBA Project and select New Module. Insert the macro above.

Add recipients to Outlook draft email

Open a new email message in Outlook and add the desired recipients to the To: section e.g. if adding a correspondence group be sure to expand the list to list all recipients individually. This is an important step – be sure to list INDIVIDUAL recipients as the macro will not expand any group emails

Execute the macro

Go to Developer ribbon tab, select Macros and run the DumpOutlookData procedure. Wait for it to dump the data to the txt file (to your default folder – Documents, read more how to change default directory.). This might take some time depending on how many email recipients you want to dump to your file.
outlook recipients dump
You can also extend the macro to get additional information on Outlook recipients like:

  • Manager (Recipient.AddressEntry.Manager.Alias)
  • Office Location (Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.OfficeLocation)
  • Phone Numbers (Recipient.AddressEntry.GetExchangeUser.MobileTelephoneNumber )

..and other information.

Where to go from here?

Ok so you got the data in a semicolon ; separated CSV file. What next?

Cool ideas to utilize this data

There are tons of useful things you can do with this Outlook recipient information. Here are just some:

Hopefully you see what an incredible resource everyone in a company has – which you can utilize for tons of internal company projects without needing to approach HR.