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: Preserving the Undo List.

Preserving the Undo List

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2021)

As you are working in Excel, there is a bit of a "safety net" in place in regards to changes you make. Most people know that if they mess things up, they can quickly press Ctrl+Z or choose the Undo command from the Edit menu or by using the Undo tool on the toolbar. If you don't like what you just did, you can easily undo it and get back to the way things were before.

When you run a macro, however, the macro doesn't "play nice" with the Undo list. In fact, running a macro completely erases the Undo list, and therefore you cannot automatically undo the effects of running the macro. There is no intrinsic command—in Excel or in VBA—to preserve the Undo list. There are a couple of ways that you can approach the problem, however.

If you feel that you might want to undo the effects of a macro, the first thing you can do is to save your workbook before running the macro. This, in effect, gives you a "pre-macro" version of the workbook. If you want to later revert to this version, simply close the workbook without saving and then reload it from disk.

Another option is to rethink the way you do your macros. If you have a macro that does a lot of processing of information in your worksheet, code the macro so that it maintains, in memory, the state of anything that it changes. You can then create a separate macro that reads this information and effectively undoes the effects of the first macro.

To make this approach really handy, the last step in your primary macro can be to "stuff" information on the Undo stack. This info can then be used, but the user, to "undo" macro that you created. For instance, the following macro command could be the last one in your primary macro:

Application.OnUndo "Primary Macro", "UndoPrimary"

After this command, when the user looks at the Undo list, he or she will see the text "Primary Macro." If they choose this option from the Undo list, then your "undo" macro (UndoPrimary) is executed.

You should note that this approach doesn't save what was on the Undo list before you ran the macro—there seems no way to do that. When your primary macro is through running, there will only be a single option available on the Undo list: Primary Macro.

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 (2060) 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: Preserving the Undo List.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Automatic Text in an E-mail

When creating an e-mail address hyperlink using the Insert Hyperlink dialog box, Excel allows you to enter a subject for ...

Discover More

Displaying the Styles You Want Displayed

Want to customize your styles list so that it only lists the ones you are using? It's easy and can save some time when ...

Discover More

Jumping between Columns

Need to jump from one column to another on a page? You can use the handy shortcut keys described in this tip.

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Extracting Proper Words

If you've got a list of potential words, and you want to know which of those potential words are real, you'll appreciate ...

Discover More

Easily Adding Blank Rows

Want to add a bunch of blank rows to a your data and have those rows interspersed among your existing rows? Here's a ...

Discover More

Making a Cell's Contents Bold within a Macro

When your macro is processing information in a worksheet, do you need to periodically make the contents of a cell bold? ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.