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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:

And please mention the source of the treeview (including a link to this page) in your helpfile, manual and/or on your about screen.

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 (click the "How do I...?" button) on how to implement the treeview in your own projects.

Download the treeview sample Excel workbook (including documentation) (build 026, 15 Oct 2015, downloaded 18,836 times)

Download the treeview sample Word document (build 026, 15 Oct 2015, downloaded 5,380 times)

Download the treeview sample Access database (build 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 15,646 times)

Pro version

We are currently developing a professional version of the treeview control this version has much better performance, capable of handling thousands of branches. Contact us if you would like to participate in the beta program. Note that this version will not be freeware.



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.

We are currently developing a listgrid/listview control. Contact us if you would like to participate in the beta program. Note that this control will not be made available as freeware.



Showing last 8 comments of 450 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (4/30/2016 11:38:45 AM)

Hi Thomas,

When you create a node, you can set its ExpanderImage property, to which you pass the collapsed and expanded icons. The control then automatically adjusts the image on click. See the demo file, routine called "InitializeDemoIcons" in ufDemo.


Comment by: Thomas Magdahl (5/2/2016 1:37:56 PM)

Hi Jan,

I know; it works fine when I buid up the tree at program start, from data on an Excel worksheet. At that time I figure out the state of the excel row (very simple, based on the date) and generate its associated node with the correct colapsed and expanded icon. My problem is with the code I provided in the previous post, which happens when the user interacts with the node of the displayed tree. He changes the state of the active node (date changes at the excel row) and the expanded icon of that node has to change acordingly. Sorry if I missunderstood your answer and it only can be done at node creation as in the demo?, but then the property is available and I suspect it should work and I am doing a mistake. At the demo the propperty is only used for retrieving the value but it is not changed at run time with the nodes already created.

I started to use your tree class a year ago and left the project by side for other needs. I started this days to continue on it, and I am again surprised by how good it is. My only wish would be to have 32x32 icons, but it is a minor issue for me. If it already had 32x32 I would probbably desire 64x64 :-)


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/2/2016 1:55:47 PM)

Hi Thomas,

Theoretically it should suffice to refresh the tree after changing the expanded state of a node. But you do have to add the right icons to the nodes when you create them.

I expect if you create those icons yourself you can use any size you like :-)


Comment by: Thomas Magdahl (5/2/2016 2:22:45 PM)

Hi Jan,

Sorry for being such a pain in the neck.

If you add the line surrounded by asterixes in the demo code and at run time (with icons) double click on a node and type 456, I expect the expanded icon to change to "GreenTick".
If a refresh is necesary you can run the code and add a child to another node, and the ImageExpanded will be still the same and not "GreenTick", despite a refresh that must have be requested.

Private Sub mcTree_AfterLabelEdit(Cancel As Boolean, NewString As String, cNode As clsNode)

' Validate user's manually edited node here

    If Len(NewString) >= 3 Then
        If NewString Like ("*123*") Then
            MsgBox "123 is not allowed !" & vbCr & "but try 456", , AppName
            Cancel = True    ' undo user's change
        ElseIf NewString Like "*456*" Then
            NewString = Replace(NewString, "456", "789")
            cNode.ImageExpanded = "GreenTick"
        End If
    End If

End Sub




Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/2/2016 6:01:15 PM)

Hi Thomas,

Seems there is some roomm for improvement :-)
This appears to work:

cNode.ImageExpanded = "GreenTick"
'Kludge to update the icon
cNode.Expanded = Not cNode.Expanded
cNode.Expanded = Not cNode.Expanded


Comment by: Thomas Magdahl (5/2/2016 7:19:07 PM)

Hi Jan,

Worked out fine. Thanks for your kind help.
Yo can not imagine how important your code (and the calendar you recomend) are for the portability of my simple application.




Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/3/2016 8:56:34 AM)

Hi Thomas,

You're welcome!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/3/2016 4:58:15 PM)

Hi Thomas,

Seems I overlooked an important method and property. Changing the image of a node is as simple as:

cNode.ImageExpanded = "GreenTick"


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