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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 (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, 13 March 2015, downloaded 14424 times)

Download the treeview sample Word document (build 026, 13 March 2015, downloaded 3812 times)

Download the treeview sample Access database (build 025, 16 Oct 2013, downloaded 12047 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 380 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/17/2015 5:30:33 PM)

Hi Anthony,

You would set the ForeColor property of the node in question when you are loading the nodes into the tree.
If you change any formatting of a node once the tree is already displaying, you need to refresh the tree:



Comment by: Anthony Powers (8/18/2015 12:29:35 AM)

Hi Jan,
Thank you for your response. Much appreciated!
My problem is with the criteria. How can I refer to information in the tables? For example: If Gender is Male then node text changes color. Can you provide a simple example?
Thank you for your support and kindness,


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/18/2015 10:05:17 AM)

Hi Anthony,

You would read the information of tblStudents and extract the gender information belonging to each node and color the nodes accordingly. Some air code:

Sub ColorNodes()
    Dim oRS As ADODB.Recordset
    Dim cn As ADODB.Connection
    Dim sSQL As String
    Dim cNode As clsNode
    Set cn = CurrentProject.Connection
    Dim mcTree As clsTreeView
    For Each cNode In mcTree.Nodes
        Set oRS = New ADODB.Recordset
        sSQL = "SELECT Gender FROM tblStudent WHERE StudentID = " & cNode.Key
        oRS.Open sSQL, cn, adOpenStatic, adLockReadOnly
        If Not (oRS.BOF And oRS.EOF) Then
            'Student found
            If oRS.Fields("Gender").Value = "Male" Then
                cNode.ForeColor = vbBlue
                cNode.ForeColor = vbRed
            End If
        End If
End Sub


Comment by: Anthony Powers (8/18/2015 10:31:41 AM)

Hi Jan,

This is what I'm looking for. Thank you so very much! You are wonderful!



Comment by: Josh Feuerstein (8/18/2015 7:53:10 PM)

I've been emailing with the devs about some questions but I thought this one might get a more generally useful answer to all:

If my control is in TriState mode, and I check a box, is there any way to detect which checkbox was *actually* clicked by the user?
event cascades and triggers for every single node up and down its branch, and that can be less than helpful.


Comment by: Peter Thornton (8/19/2015 1:45:14 PM)

Events to trap dependent TriState changes were added in v026, actually on request (see the Versions sheet in the Excel demo).

In typical scenarios which particular checkbox triggered the change is not important, but knowing all changes that have occured as a result is. The current arrangement can also help the developer, eg after programatically changing just one checkbox, all parents to the root and child checkboxes that may have changed as a result are returned in the chain of events. In turn a DB can be simply and fully updated in real time if required. Without that the developer would need to calculate the logic (not easy) or compare against record of previous checked nodes in the the entire treeview.

If the events are counter productive for your purposes (I'd be curious to know why) you could customize the treeview to only trigger the event for a single manually changed checkbox. Or, add an additional flag in the event to indicate it was the one that triggered the chain (possible but complicated). Alternatively in your own form record the time of the event but only if the time is more than say 0.2sec since the previous change; if more than 0.2sec assume the event is teh one clicked by the user as it will be the first event in the chain, otherwise it's dependent event. A third approach would be to use v025!


Comment by: Josh Feuerstein (8/19/2015 5:38:33 PM)

The simple reason why is that the ultimate state is good, but I might want to provide some feedback to the user, or log which node was clicked for debugging purposes, etc.


Comment by: Peter Thornton (8/20/2015 6:33:17 PM)

Typically (but see below) the node receiving user's checkbox change is the ActiveNode. So you can determine if a checkbox was changed directly by the user or due to its TriState dependency

' in the NodeCheck event
    If cNode Is mcTree.ActiveNode Then

To ensure the user changed checkbox node is the ActiveNode look at mctlCheckBox_Click() in clsNode. There are 3 If/End-If's, swap the 2nd and 3rd If's to ensure the node is active before NodeCheck event is triggered.


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