Unhiding or Listing All Objects

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 12, 2021)

Mike had a problem where he knew that there were objects hidden within his workbook and he wanted to find them all. It seems he wrote a macro that hid some objects, but then did not unhide them.

If you want to simply find out the names of the objects in a worksheet, the following macro will do so very nicely. It shows not only the name, but also the type of object.

Sub ListObjects()
    Dim objCount As Integer
    Dim x As Integer
    Dim objList As String
    Dim objPlural As String
    Dim objType(17) As String

    'Set types for different objects
    objType(1) = "Autoshape"
    objType(2) = "Callout"
    objType(3) = "Chart"
    objType(4) = "Comment"
    objType(7) = "EmbeddedOLEObject"
    objType(8) = "FormControl"
    objType(5) = "Freeform"
    objType(6) = "Group"
    objType(9) = "Line"
    objType(10) = "LinkedOLEObject"
    objType(11) = "LinkedPicture"
    objType(12) = "OLEControlObject"
    objType(13) = "Picture"
    objType(14) = "Placeholder"
    objType(15) = "TextEffect"
    objType(17) = "TextBox"

    objList = ""

    'Get the number of objects
    objCount = ActiveSheet.Shapes.Count

    If objCount = 0 Then
        objList = "There are no shapes on " & _
          ActiveSheet.Name
    Else
        objPlural = IIf(objCount = 1, "", "s")
        objList = "There are " & Format(objCount, "0") _
          & " Shape" & objPlural & " on " & _
          ActiveSheet.Name & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
        For x = 1 To objCount
            objList = objList & ActiveSheet.Shapes(x).Name & _
              " is a " & objType(ActiveSheet.Shapes(x).Type) _
              & vbCrLf
        Next x
    End If

    MsgBox (objList)

End Sub

This macro returns the names and types of all objects in the worksheet. Another approach, however, is to display all the object names and then, if the object is hidden, ask if you want it unhidden. The following macro does just that:

Sub ShowEachShape1()
    Dim sObject As Shape
    Dim sMsg As String
    For Each sObject In ActiveSheet.Shapes
        sMsg = "Found " & IIf(sObject.Visible, _
          "visible", "hidden") & " object " & _
          vbNewLine & sObject.Name
        If sObject.Visible = False Then
            If MsgBox(sMsg & vbNewLine & "Unhide ?", _
              vbYesNo) = vbYes Then
                sObject.Visible = True
            End If
        Else
            MsgBox sMsg
        End If
    Next
End Sub

If you want the macro to only work on hidden objects and ignore those that are visible, then you can modify the macro to the following:

Sub ShowEachShape2()
    Dim sObject As Shape
    Dim sMsg As String
    For Each sObject In ActiveSheet.Shapes
        If sObject.Visible = False Then
            sMsg = "Object & sObject.Name & _
              " is hidden. Unhide it?"
            If MsgBox(sMsg, vbYesNo) = vbYes Then
                sObject.Visible = True
            End If
        End If
    Next
End Sub

To simply make all the objects visible in one step, you can shorten the macro even more:

Sub ShowEachShape3()
    Dim sObject As Shape
    For Each sObject In ActiveSheet.Shapes
        sObject.Visible = True
    Next
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2025) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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