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Determining If a File Exists

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Determining If a File Exists.

As you are programming your macros, you may have a need to determine if a particular file exists on disk. For instance, the purpose of your macro may be to open and read from a text file. Before doing so, you will want to check to see if the file exists, in order to avoid an error.

The following VBA function can be used to check for the existence of a file. All you need to do is pass it the full filename as a string, and the macro returns either True (if the file exists) or False (if it doesn't).

Function FileThere(FileName As String) As Boolean
     FileThere = (Dir(FileName) > "")
End Function

This function works by using the Dir function, which checks for a file in a directory. If the file exists, then Dir returns the full path of the file. The True/False condition of the function is derived by comparing what Dir returns against an empty string. If something is returned, the file exists because Dir doesn't return an empty string.

You can use the function similar to the following:

If FileThere("c:\myfile.txt") Then
     ' Do stuff here
     MsgBox "File Not There!"
End If

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2516) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Determining If a File Exists.

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Comments for this tip:

Franklyn    27 Mar 2015, 14:23
Thank you, it works great.
Greg Yoder    15 Jul 2014, 17:28
Never mind I figured it out. Had to add the function to the end of my sub

Greg Yoder    15 Jul 2014, 17:22
I am using Excel 2010. Writing a macro to load a file from c:\temp.

When I try using FileThere I get the following Error.

Compile Error SubFunction not defined?


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