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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 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 9314 times)

Download the treeview sample Word document (build 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 2431 times)

Download the treeview sample Access database (build 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 8378 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 265 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Alex (9/24/2014 3:27:08 PM)

I was talking about the lines that links one node to an other, like in the screenshots at the top of this page.

So, something like that :

- Root
+-- Node
+-- Node

I get more something like this :

- Root

+ Node

+ Node

so no vertical lines, nor horizontal ones.

Here is a screenshot of the demo application :


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (9/24/2014 3:54:56 PM)

Hi Alex,

Odd, they should show. They do on my system. What Excel version and Windows version are you on?


Comment by: Alex (9/24/2014 4:10:48 PM)

I'm working on Windows 7 64 bits, Access 2010 64 bits.

But it works fine on Windows XP 32 bits with Access 2010 32 bits.

Oh, by the way, there are two small bugs (at least under Access) :
Application.Version is as String value ("14.0"), so Application.Version >= 12#
throws an error in frmFelp.Form_Load and in the AutoExec macro.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (9/24/2014 4:51:12 PM)

Thanks for letting me know about the bug.

The tree shows up just fine on my system, I'll ask Ben to take a look.


Comment by: Dale Fye (9/28/2014 3:14:53 PM)


In your response at:Peter Thornton (8/20/2014 12:14:14 PM)

you mentioned "right click context menus". How would you implement these? I've got my menus built, use them all the time with the ActiveX treeview control, but now that I need something that works in 64 bit Office. Unfortunately, I have not figured out how to test for the MouseUp event and detect whether the mouse button that was clicked is the left or right button.


Comment by: Peter Thornton (9/29/2014 1:10:23 PM)

Hi Dale,
MouseDown/Up node events were added in v023 so they should exist in your version. FWIW they were included to enable the previous activenode to be semi highlighted until user releases mouse on the newly selected node, or reactivate the previous node if user moves the mouse off the new node before releasing, in effect cancel selection. Trust you appreciate the attention to detail, but I digress <g>

In the mctlControl_MouseUp add the two new lines as indicated

    If Not moLastActiveNode Is Nothing Then
     ' about 23 lines of code
    ElseIf Button = 2 Then ' new
        MsgBox "my right click" ' new
    End If

There are various of ways to go from here, eg call a routine in the clsTreeView (passing a ref to the node) to raise an event back to the form (similar to click) to create the context menu.

Generally easiest to create a commandbars popup, but can also use APIs to create a menu if say you want to include your own custom icons.


Comment by: WOJTEK (9/30/2014 5:30:13 PM)

It's very usefull tool for programmer. I must admit it is the best solution found by myself in this area.
I'd like to use the solution in my job. But my question is:
what do you mean by statement "The code may not be republished without prior written consent of the authors."?


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (9/30/2014 7:38:11 PM)

It just means that if you want to make the code publicly available by writing about it (for instance an article on your blog) and including code from it, you need our permission.
You can use the tool in your projects without having to ask permission. But if you add useful things to it, we ask you to send them to us.


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