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Home > English site > Articles > Excel Tables (VBA)
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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 781 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/14/2018 9:15:24 AM)

Hi Jeff,

Unfortunately, you cannot have formulas in the header of a table.
You could indeed use a formula like the one you posted to test for content of the column. If you have that formula either return "Phone" if the average is as expected for a phone number, or the existing column name if not you can simply copy that row of formulas and paste-special it on top of the table header row.


Comment by: Ben Todres (3/14/2018 4:00:00 PM)

I have an excel file with 62 individual tabs, on 56 of those tabs there is one table. I want to change each table name based on a list (cells: A1:A56) one one of the other tabs in sequential order using VBA.

thx in advance for any guidance you may have (I have searched many sites trying to find a solution but have been unsuccessful)!!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/14/2018 4:10:00 PM)

Hi Ben,

Assuming your list has two columns:
Col A containing the worksheet names
Col B containing the associated new table names
And assuming each sheet has no more than one table:
- Select sheet with names
- Select cells in column A with sheet names
- Run this macro:

Sub RenameAllTables()
    Dim oCell As Range
    For Each oCell in Selection
        Worksheets(oCell.Value).ListObjects(1).Name = oCell.Offset(,1).Value
End Sub


Comment by: Ben Todres (3/14/2018 5:13:46 PM)

Jan - thank you sooooo much! - I have been trying for days to come up with what you just provided - extremely helpful!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/14/2018 5:28:03 PM)

Hi Ben,

Just as a FJI: questions like this one are often quickly addressed by posting a question at


Comment by: Jeff Carnohan (3/18/2018 5:05:36 PM)

Hi Jan, thank you for replying. I must not have been clear in my question. I am not trying to place a formula in the column header, I am trying to use VBA to write the column headers based on the contents of the column. For example, if the column contains phone numbers, label it 'Phone1', if it contains 4-6 digit alpha sequences, label it 'Product codes', 16 digit numerics would be 'Credit card number' and so on. Basically a series of IF statements that looks at the column data and then writes/inserts the headers from a list of 20-30 pre-defined possible headers. Thanks again!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/19/2018 10:29:38 AM)

Hi Jeff,

Perhaps code like this helps you to get going?
Option Explicit

Sub UpdateTableHeaders()
    Dim oLo As ListObject
    Dim oCell As Range
    Dim lColCt As Long
    Set oLo = ActiveSheet.ListObjects("Table1")
    If oLo.ListRows.Count = 0 Then Exit Sub
    For lColCt = 1 To oLo.ListColumns.Count
        Select Case ContentType(oLo.ListColumns(lColCt).DataBodyRange.Value)
        Case "Phone"
            oLo.HeaderRowRange.Cells(1, lColCt).Value = "Phone"
            'Excel will automatically add suffixes to the names to avoid duplicates
        Case "Text"
            'Do something smart here
        Case Else
        End Select
End Sub

Function ContentType(vData As Variant) As String
    Dim lRow As Long
    Dim lFoundTxt As Long
    Dim lFoundNum As Long
    Dim lFound10Digits As Long
    For lRow = LBound(vData, 1) To UBound(vData, 1)
        If IsNumeric(vData(lRow, 1)) Then
            lFoundNum = lFoundNum + 1
            If Len(vData(lRow, 1)) >= 9 And Len(vData(lRow, 1)) <= 10 Then
                lFound10Digits = lFound10Digits + 1
            End If
            lFoundTxt = lFoundTxt + 1
        End If
    If lFound10Digits = lFoundNum And lFoundTxt = 0 Then
        ContentType = "Phone"
    ElseIf lFoundNum = 0 And lFoundTxt > 0 Then
        ContentType = "Text"
        ContentType = "Mixed"
    End If
End Function


Comment by: Jeff Carnohan (3/20/2018 6:55:25 PM)

This is fantastic Jan!! I'll let you know how it works out! Thank you so much :)


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