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Home > English site > Articles > Treeview control

An MSForms (all VBA) treeview


If you have ever used the Treeview control from the "Additional controls" section, then you know what a versatile control this is to show hierarchically organized data. There are a couple of problems with this Treeview control:

  1. Compile errors due to a difference in how the control libraries are registered in 32 bits Windows' System32 and 64 bit Windows' SysWOW32 folders. If you distribute a file that was saved in 64 bit Windows, containing one of the "Microsoft Windows Common Controls 6.0" (The Treeview control is one of them) and with the reference set to "mscomctl.ocx", people using 32 bit Windows will almost certainly have problems. At best it could entail removing both the control and the reference and replacing both, but at worst the user's Excel can crash when trying to load the file and run the app.
  2. The standard Treeview control, like all non built-in ActiveX controls, cannot be used in 64 bit versions of Office.

Especially the second point convinced me it is time to develop a custom-made Treeview "control", that only uses the native Office forms controls. I started building this a couple of weeks ago and after some time I tricked Peter Thornton into helping me with it

The screenshot below shows both our new Treeview (left) and the Windows one (right) side-by-side in their simplest display mode (read on, there are even prettier screenshots further down the page):

Treeview controls
Two treeviews, left: VBA tree, right: Common controls tree

In the following pages I'll show what our treeview can do and explain how to put it to use in your own VBA project.

MAC Office and 64 bit Office Compatible!

Our treeview was tested (and works) on 64 bit Office. It also works on MAC office. Tested applications include:

Excel 2000
Excel 2003
Excel 2010
Excel 2010 (64 bit)
Excel 2011 (MAC Office)
Excel 2013 (32 bit)

Access 2003
Access 2010 (32 bit)
Access 2010 (64 bit)

Windows screenshot:

Treeview demo on Windows Excel
Treeview demo on Windows Excel

Mac screenshot:

MAC screenshot of our treeview demo form
Screenshot of treeview on Mac Excel 2011


The basic plumbing and code structure of this treeview control was devised by me. However, without the help of my friend and fellow MVP Peter Thornton, lots of functionality would not have been available now. For that I sincerely thank Peter!

Furthermore, Access MVP Ben Clothier was kind enough to make the necessary adjustments to incorporate the treeview in an Access form

Also: Fellow Excel MVP Ron De Bruin ensured the treeview also works on MAC Office 2011, Thanks Ron!

Copyright and Licensing

All code in the treeview is (c) JKP Application Development Services and Peter Thornton (the Authors). It remains our sole intellectual property.

However, we're offering this treeview to you at no cost. You get an unrestricted license for use in any VBA project you like. You're free to modify any part of the code at will.

We do have some rules:

We're always interested to see how people have implemented the VBA Treeview. So please feel free to send a screenshot with a brief description or relevant details.


You use this control at your own risk: The authors accept no liability whatsoever for any damages which may arise due to the use of our treeview.


Many, many hours were spent developing this treeview. Although we developed it for use in our own projects, we are giving it away for free!

Nevertheless, we would really be pleased if you actually express your appreciation in a more "tangible" form. So here is a paypal donation button at your disposal:


The Excel workbook contains most of the documentation (on the tabs of the workbook), so I recommend you to at least download the Excel version. The Access version has instructions on its main form on how to implement the treeview in your own projects.

Download the treeview sample Excel workbook (including documentation) (build 026, 13 March 2015, downloaded 13159 times)

Download the treeview sample Word document (build 026, 13 March 2015, downloaded 3425 times)

Download the treeview sample Access database (build 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 11168 times)



Other controls

Another often used control is the calendar control. This control has the added problem that it has been deprecated with Office 2010 (where we're supposed to use the date picker control). Frankens Team created an all-vba alternative using very similar techniques to what we've done here.

Ron de Bruin created a Date Picker control for MAC Excel.


Showing last 8 comments of 328 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Thomas Magdahl (3/9/2015 4:59:57 PM)

Hi Peter,

Worked fine!
Thanks for your help!



Comment by: Thomas Magdahl (3/11/2015 5:21:36 PM)

Hi Peter,
Besides the node editing capabilities of the TreeView, I am providing in my application a form to set additional node info. So when the user selects a node and depresses an EDIT button, a form is opened where he can not only change/edit what will be displayed in the Caption of the node (active node), but other info stored in an array (indexed by the Tag property). After the unload of that form I set the new Caption, overriding the old value and do a tree refresh.

My problem is that when no horizontal scrollbar is present, because all nodes have short texts, and the new text of the edited node is very long, I am not able to get the horizontal scroll bar to appear.
You can duplicate this behavior in your demo doing this two modifications.
1) In the InitializeDemo1 routine, shorten the text of this node so that when initializing the TreeView, only a vertical scrollbar is present.

Set cNode = cNode.AddChild(cRoot.Key & "_A", " level 5 with extra text to test scrollwidth")

Cut the text that follows “level 5”

2) Add a button to the form with the following code:

Private Sub CommandButton1_Click()
    mcTree.ActiveNode.Caption = "This very long text is used to test if the horizontal scroll bar will be activated automatically!"
End Sub

Any suggestion on how to solve this?




Comment by: Peter Thornton (3/11/2015 9:00:15 PM)

Hi Thomas,
A method to fully update scrollbars has already been developed for the next version 026. For your purposes after changing the caption you will simply be able to call

mcTree.SetScrollbars bRecalcMaxTextWidth:=True

SetScrollbars(False) will also cater for updating scrollbars if resizing the treeview, eg while resizing the form with the mouse.


Comment by: Frank Russell (3/19/2015 5:18:21 PM)

I think that what you have done is great for the MS Access user/developer. There appears to be only one thing missing that I would greatly appreciate if you could incorporate and that is the ability to Drag and Drop between nodes and another treeview. I have tried, unsuccessfully to develop my own drag and drop routines.
Thanks again for a great product.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/19/2015 8:15:11 PM)

Hi Frank,

Thanks! There is some plumbing in there already to handle drag and drop if I recall correctly.

Peter Thornton has been investing quite some time in that feature, but I'm not entirely sure of the current status.

Watch this place, as Peter does visit here now and then to post comments too.


Comment by: tino (3/20/2015 3:39:47 AM)

I can't open any of the files with Microsoft Office 2003.

Excel 2003, gives... invalid file format

Word 2003.. nothing happens when you click the button. I think it gets converted to a doc with no macros.

The only one I could open is the Access file, but it gives a code error when the demo starts to run upon opening the file.
I can see the code though in here.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/20/2015 1:42:16 PM)

Hi Tino,

Try reinstalling Office.


Comment by: Peter Thornton (3/23/2015 11:07:38 AM)

As Jan Karel mentioned quite a lot of work has been done with Drag & Drop. It's not included in the demo as some of the code is external to the intrinsic treeview and how best to adapt depends of the individual project. We'd be happy to help implement D&D privately if that's an option for you. Alternatively, to point you in the right direction, there are two approaches: using the built-in D&D MSForms events or "simulating", as Jan Karel also said some of the "plumbing" is included.

I've just double checked and demo v026 works fine for me in Excel 2003 and 2000, albeit after saving the file as an .xls. There can be problems with the Access 2003 if the file was not compiled in 2003, eg if used in 2007+ then attempted in 2003.
I wonder if the Dec-2014 Windows update that affects MSForms controls has hit you. With Office apps closed try deleting or renaming all MSForms.exd files in your system, restart windows.


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