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: Finding the Last-Used Cell in a Macro.

Finding the Last-Used Cell in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 31, 2012)

If you are working in a worksheet, you know that you can press Ctrl+End to jump to the last-cell in the worksheet. What the shortcut does is to choose the cell that represents the intersection of the last column containing data and the last row containing data. Thus, if the last column in which you have data is column F, and the last row in which you have data is row 27, then Ctrl+End will select cell F27.

To do this same task from a macro, you use a very simple command, as shown here:

Sub FindLast1()
    ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).Select
End Sub

This is functionally the same as pressing Ctrl+End. However (and this is a big issue), Excel doesn't dynamically keep track of which rows and columns are the last used in a worksheet. For instance, let's suppose that you open a workbook, press Ctrl+End, and you are taken to cell F27. If you then delete 3 rows and one column, you would expect that Ctrl+End would take you to cell E24. It doesn't; it still takes you to cell F27, until you save the workbook and reopen it.

This same problem affects the macro code shown in the FindLast1 macro; it will take you to the "highest" cell, regardless of which columns or rows you have deleted during the current session.

What's needed is a way to reset the "last cell" indicator, just as if you had saved and reopened the workbook. There is no intrinsic macro command that does that, but there is a way to force Excel to do the reset. All you need to do is adjust the macro as follows:

Sub FindLast2()
    x = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Rows.Count
    ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlLastCell).Select
End Sub

This macro always takes you to the proper cell—it works as you would expect Ctrl+End to always work. It works because apparently Excel, when it calculates the Count property for the number of rows in the worksheet, always resets the "last cell" indicator.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2271) 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: Finding the Last-Used Cell in a Macro.

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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