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Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro

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: Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro.

It is often necessary to select a particular cell in a macro. It is harder, however, to select that cell if it is in a different workbook. For instance, consider the following two lines of code:

Sub CellSelect1()
    Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").Select
    ActiveSheet.Range("A18").Select
End Sub

You might think that this macro will select Sheet3!A18 in the pwd.xls workbook. It does, with some caveats. If you have more than one workbook open, this macro results in an error, if pwd.xls isn't the currently active workbook. This occurs even if pwd.xls is already open, but simply not selected.

The same behavior exists even when you condense the selection code down to a single line:

Sub CellSelect2()
    Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").Range("A18").Select
End Sub

You still get the error, except when pwd.xls is the active workbook. The solution is to entirely change how you perform the jump. Instead of using the Select method, use the Goto method and specify a target address for the method:

Sub CellSelect3()
    Application.Goto _
      Reference:=Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").[A18]
End Sub

This code will work only if pwd.xls is already open, but it doesn't need to be the currently active workbook. If you want the target workbook to be scrolled so that the specified cell is in the upper-left corner of what you are viewing, then you can specify the Scroll attribute to be True, as shown here:

Sub CellSelect4()
    Application.Goto _
      Reference:=Workbooks("pwd.xls").Sheets("Sheet3").[A18] _
      Scroll:=True
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2791) 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: Selecting a Specific Cell in a Macro.

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