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Working with Tables in Excel 2013, 2010 and 2007 (VBA)

This article has also been published on Microsoft Office Online:

Working with Excel tables in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)


In Working with Tables in Excel 2013, 2010 and 2007 I promised to add a page about working with those tables in VBA too. Well, here you go.

It's a ListObject!

On the VBA side there seems to be nothing new about Tables. They are addressed as ListObjects, a collection that was introduced with Excel 2003. But there are significant changes to this part of the object model and I am only going to touch on the basic parts here.

Creating a table

Converting a range to a table starts with the same code as in Excel 2003:

 Sub CreateTable()
    ActiveSheet.ListObjects.Add(xlSrcRange, Range("$B$1:$D$16"), , xlYes).Name = _
        'No go in 2003
    ActiveSheet.ListObjects("Table1").TableStyle = "TableStyleLight2"
End Sub

But the new stuff is right there already: TableStyles. A collection of objects which are a member of the Workbook object. This gives rise to some oddities. You can change the formatting of a tableStyle, e.g. like this:

Sub ChangeTableStyles()
    'No Go in Excel 2003
    ActiveWorkbook.TableStyles(2).TableStyleElements(xlWholeTable) _
        .Borders(xlEdgeBottom).LineStyle = xlDash
End Sub

This changes the linestyle of the bottom of your table. But hold your horses! If you have any other workbook open, all tables with the same tablestyle appear in your changed style! But if you save your file, close Excel and open Excel again with the file, the changes are gone. This is because you've just changed a built-in tablestyle. If you ask me, I find it strange that the Workbook is a tablestyles' parent, whereas built-in table styles behave as if being bound to the Application object.

If you want full control over your table style, you'd better duplicate a built-in style and modify and apply that style to your table.

Listing the tables

Let's start with finding all tables on the active worksheet:

Sub FindAllTablesOnSheet()
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Dim oLo As ListObject
    Set oSh = ActiveSheet
    For Each oLo In oSh.ListObjects
        Application.Goto oLo.Range
        MsgBox "Table found: " & oLo.Name & ", " & oLo.Range.Address
End Sub

This snippet of code works exactly the same in Excel 2003, so nothing new there (well, that is, in 2003 those tables ARE called Lists).

Selecting parts of tables

You might need to work with specific parts of a table. Here is a couple of examples on how to achieve that. The code comments show you where Excel 2003 differs from 2013, 2010 and 2007.

Sub SelectingPartOfTable()
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Set oSh = ActiveSheet
    '1: with the listobject
    With oSh.ListObjects("Table1")
        MsgBox .Name
        'Select entire table
        'Select just the data of the entire table
        'Select third column
        'Select only data of first column
        'No go in 2003
        'Select just row 4 (header row doesn't count!)
    End With
    'No go in 2003
    '2: with the range object
    'select an entire column (data only)
    'select an entire column (data plus header)
    'select entire data section of table
    'select entire table
    'Select one row in table
End Sub

As you may have spotted, Excel 2013, 2010 and 2007 handle tables like they are range names. Well, that is exactly what is going on. After inserting a table, a range name is defined automatically. These range names are special though. Excel controls them entirely. You cannot delete them and they get renamed automatically when you change a table's name. Remove a table (convert back to range) and the defined name is removed as well.

Inserting rows and columns

Another part in which lists already had most of the functionality. Just a few new things have been added, like the "AlwaysInsert" argument to the ListRows.Add method:

Sub TableInsertingExamples()
'insert at specific position
    Selection.ListObject.ListColumns.Add Position:=4
'insert right
'insert above
    Selection.ListObject.ListRows.Add (11)
'NoGo in 2003
'insert below
    Selection.ListObject.ListRows.Add AlwaysInsert:=True
End Sub

If you need to do something with a newly inserted row, you can set an object variable to the new row:

     Dim oNewRow As ListRow
    Set oNewRow = Selection.ListObject.ListRows.Add(AlwaysInsert:=True)

If you then want to write something in the first cell of the new row you can use:

oNewRow.Range.Cells(1,1).Value="Value For New cell"

Adding a comment to a table

This is something Excel 2003 cannot do and is related to the fact that a table is a range name. Adding a comment to a table through the UI is a challenge, because you have to go to the Name Manager to do that. In VBA the syntax is:

Sub AddComment2Table()
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Set oSh = ActiveSheet
    'NoGo in 2003
    'add a comment to the table (shows as a comment to
    'the rangename that a table is associated with automatically)
    'Note that such a range name cannot be deleted!!
    'The range name is removed as soon as the table is converted to a range
    oSh.ListObjects("Table1").Comment = "This is a table's comment"
End Sub

Convert a table back to a normal range

That is simple and uses the identical syntax as 2003:

Sub RemoveTableStyle()
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Set oSh = ActiveSheet
    'remove table or list style
End Sub

Special stuff: Sorting and filtering

With Excel 2013, 2010 and 2007 we get a whole new set of filtering and sorting options. I'm only showing a tiny bit here, a Sort on cell color (orangish) and a filter on the font color. The code below doesn't work in Excel 2003. A List in 2003 only has the default sort and autofilter possibilities we have known since Excel 5 and which had hardly been expanded at all in the past 12 years or so.

Sub SortingAndFiltering()
'NoGo in 2003
    With ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets("Sheet1").ListObjects("Table1")

        .Sort.SortFields.Add( _
                Range("Table1[[#All],[Column2]]"), xlSortOnCellColor, xlAscending, , _
                xlSortNormal).SortOnValue.Color = RGB(255, 235, 156)
        With .Sort
            .Header = xlYes
            .MatchCase = False
            .Orientation = xlTopToBottom
            .SortMethod = xlPinYin
        End With
    End With
    'Only old autofilter stuff works in 2003
    ActiveSheet.ListObjects("Table1").Range.AutoFilter Field:=2, _
        Criteria1:=RGB(156, 0, 6), Operator:=xlFilterFontColor
End Sub

Accessing the formatting of a cell inside a table

You may wonder why this subject is there, why not simply ask for the cell.Interior.ThemeColor if you need the ThemeColor of a cell in a table? Well, because the cell formatting is completely prescribed by the settings of your table and the table style that  has been selected. So in order to get at a formatting element of a cell in your table you need to:

The function shown here returns the TableStyleElement belonging to a cell oCell inside a table object called oLo:

Function GetStyleElementFromTableCell(oCell As Range, oLo As ListObject) As TableStyleElement
' Procedure : GetStyleElementFromTableCell
' Company   : JKP Application Development Services (c)
' Author    : Jan Karel Pieterse
' Created   : 2-6-2009
' Purpose   : Function to return the proper style element from a cell inside a table
    Dim lRow As Long
    Dim lCol As Long
    'Determine on what row we are inside the table
    lRow = oCell.Row - oLo.DataBodyRange.Cells(1, 1).Row
    lCol = oCell.Column - oLo.DataBodyRange.Cells(1, 1).Column

    With oLo
        If lRow < 0 And .ShowHeaders Then
            'on first row and has header
            Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlHeaderRow)
        ElseIf .ShowTableStyleFirstColumn And lCol = 0 Then
            'On first column and has first column style
            Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlFirstColumn)
        ElseIf .ShowTableStyleLastColumn And lCol = oLo.Range.Columns.Count - 1 Then
            'On last column and has last col style
            Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlLastColumn)
        ElseIf lRow = .DataBodyRange.Rows.Count And .ShowTotals Then
            'On last row and has total row
            Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlTotalRow)
            If .ShowTableStyleColumnStripes And Not .ShowTableStyleRowStripes Then
                'in table, has column stripes
                If lCol Mod 2 = 0 Then
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlColumnStripe1)
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlWholeTable)
                End If
            ElseIf .ShowTableStyleRowStripes And Not .ShowTableStyleColumnStripes Then
                'in table, has column stripes
                If lRow Mod 2 = 0 Then
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlRowStripe1)
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlWholeTable)
                End If
            ElseIf .ShowTableStyleColumnStripes And .ShowTableStyleRowStripes Then
                If lRow Mod 2 = 0 And lCol Mod 2 = 0 Then
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlRowStripe1)
                ElseIf lRow Mod 2 <> 0 And lCol Mod 2 = 0 Then
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlColumnStripe1)
                ElseIf lRow Mod 2 = 0 And lCol Mod 2 <> 0 Then
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlRowStripe1)
                    Set GetStyleElementFromTableCell = oLo.TableStyle.TableStyleElements(xlWholeTable)
                End If
            End If
        End If
    End With

End Function

You could use this function like this:

Sub test()
    Dim oLo As ListObject
    Dim oTSt As TableStyleElement
    Set oLo = ActiveSheet.ListObjects(1)
    Set oTSt = GetStyleElementFromTableCell(ActiveCell, oLo)
    With ActiveCell.Offset(, 8)
        .Interior.ThemeColor = oTSt.Interior.ThemeColor
        .Interior.TintAndShade = oTSt.Interior.TintAndShade
    End With
End Sub

Removing formating from an Excel Table

Suppose you have just converted a range to a table, but the range had some formatting set up such as background fills and borders. Tables allow you to format things like that automatically, but now your preexisting formatting messes up the table formatting. One way to overcome this is by changing the style of the cells (see this article) in the table back to the Normal style. This however removes your number formats too. The little macro below fixes that by first making a copy of the normal style, setting its Number checkbox to false and then applying the new style without number format to the table. Finally it applies the tablestyle and deletes the temporary style:

Sub RemoveFormattingOfTable()
    Dim oStNormalNoNum As Style
    On Error Resume Next
    Set oStNormalNoNum = ActiveWorkbook.Styles("NormalNoNum")
    On Error GoTo 0
    If oStNormalNoNum Is Nothing Then
        ActiveWorkbook.Styles.Add "NormalNoNum"
        Set oStNormalNoNum = ActiveWorkbook.Styles("NormalNoNum")
        oStNormalNoNum.IncludeNumber = False
    End If
    With ActiveSheet.ListObjects(1)
        .Range.Style = "NormalNoNum"
        'Now apply tablestyle:
        .TableStyle = "TableStyleLight1"
    End With
End Sub

Note that the function shown above does not take into account that you can set the width of the stripes, both vertically and horizontally.

Wrap Up

Of course there is more to learn and know about tables and lists. A good way to come acquainted with the VBA behind them is by recording macro's while fooling around with them. Luckily Microsoft did include the table object if it comes to recording your actions, unlike the omission on the charting side...


Showing last 8 comments of 578 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Rudi (6/5/2014 12:26:08 PM)

TX for the speedy reply.

I must have had something else wrong in the macro that I recall...
Anyways, TX for your examples. I'll be sure to try them again.



Comment by: Cody (7/22/2014 4:12:44 PM)


I am working with Tables in VBA and had a question.

What I am trying to do is autofill a table range with the upper left corner fixed and the bottom right corner variable. Variable only in terms of more or less columns, rows are fixed with my method.

In my code I set the first cell equal to a formula
Next line I select the cell
Next line I attempt to auto fill

Here is a code I know works but is not variable:

ActiveCell.FormulaR1C1 = "=Inputs!R3C5-Table1[@1]*R1C29"
Selection.AutoFill Destination:=Range("Table3[[1]:[14]]"), Type:= _

Here is the code I am trying to change it into:

Dim num as integer
num = 14                 '''Could be any input number'''

ActiveCell.FormulaR1C1 = "=Inputs!R3C5-Table1[@1]*R1C29"
Selection.AutoFill Destination:=Range(Table3[[1]:[num]]), Type:= _

I took away the "" within the range because it would not treat num as an integer and said invalid object.

Any suggestions on how to make this work, or an alternate approach?

Thanks in advance!!


Comment by: Ted Pettit (7/25/2014 5:50:22 PM)

Let's say you have a table (we'll call it Table1) with the following columns:
|Date|Time|Area|Technician|Activity|Completed|Delayed|Canceled|Reason|Current Status|
But you only want to perform some VBA function on the columns labeled Completed, Delayed, and Canceled, use this syntax:
To include an additional column that is not adjacent i.e. the "Current Status" column to the previous selection, use this syntax:
Range("Table1[Completed]:Table1[Canceled],Table1[Current Status]")


Comment by: Eugenio (7/29/2014 4:49:34 AM)

Using a unique cell, how do i get its index row in a table (not the row number into the sheet) and how do i get a cell value by this index and a column name?
Thank you very much.


Comment by: BobJordanB (8/3/2014 6:01:56 AM)

Tables seem to be just what I want but cannot quite see how to do it.

I want to create a table of operations in Excel with half a dozen columns describing the parts of each operation.
In my vba I want to process each of the rows in turn using the column values as 'instructions'.

to be specific the table (here Named as Table) defines a sequence of parameter changes ( a start, an end, an increment and a sheet location as columns) (and a sequence of these in the rows) which in turn control a chart display. At each parameter change I save the modified chart as a png and then combine the pngs (in an AVI) to become a movie.
But cannot see a tidy way to refer to the columns by name.

Here is some pseudocode that uses a constructed table access command

For Each thisRow in Table.Rows
For myParam = Table.thisRow.[pStart] to Table.thisRow.[pEnd] step Table.thisRow.[pinc]
     Range(Table.thisRow.Locn) = myParam
     Export Chart
    Next myParam
Next thisRow

But cannot seem to find a way to tidily refer to the row elements using their column names.

Is their a way of referring to a row column intersection using something like:

    Table,thisrow,columnName OR Table(thisrow,[columnName]) etc.?

I could use Offsets to get to the row/column but this will require me to name each column separately which seems to be unnecessary as the naming has already been done

You can for example refer to the 'Thisrow' or @ row but that is for formulae in the table itself.

Is this possible?

The code works in a non-table format but I believe it can be made more readable

Any thoughts appreciated

Bob J.


Comment by: Bob Jordan (8/7/2014 1:02:33 PM)

I tried to post a question on accessing the rows of a table but it seems to have got lost

meantime I have solved this problem and would like to share it with you.

How to work through the values in the rows of a table in vba

Turns out there is a nice construct.

row 3 of column ID of table Table1 is: Range("Table1[ID]")(3)

Rows go from 1 to Range("Table1").Rows.Count

If you have a single row table (for parameters etc you can skip the Row number part ie Range("Params[Colour]") gives you the first item below the heading.

This is very readable and conforms to the usual rules. you can append .text, .formula etc

You might like to add this to your help page.I searched hard to find this and it seems unknown. Please help others like me.

Bob JordanB


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/11/2014 7:14:47 PM)

Hi Bob,

Thanks for sharing!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/12/2014 11:12:33 AM)

Hi Cody,

I expect this is a better approach:

Range("C15").resize(num).FormulaR1C1 = "=Inputs!R3C5-Table1[@1]*R1C29"


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