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: Counting All Characters.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2018)
When you work with worksheets—particularly those from other people—you may be looking for a way count the number of characters in a workbook. The following macro is very handy in that regard. It counts the number of characters in an entire workbook, including any characters in any text boxes inserted in the various worksheets.
Sub CountCharacters() Dim wks As Worksheet Dim rng As Range Dim rCell As Range Dim shp As Shape Dim bPossibleError As Boolean Dim bSkipMe As Boolean Dim lTotal As Long Dim lTotal2 As Long Dim lConstants As Long Dim lFormulas As Long Dim lFormulaValues As Long Dim lTxtBox As Long Dim sMsg As String On Error GoTo ErrHandler Application.ScreenUpdating = False lTotal = 0 lTotal2 = 0 lConstants = 0 lFormulas = 0 lFormulaValues = 0 lTxtBox = 0 bPossibleError = False bSkipMe = False sMsg = "" For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets ' Count characters in text boxes For Each shp In wks.Shapes If TypeName(shp) <> "GroupObject" Then lTxtBox = lTxtBox + shp.TextFrame.Characters.Count End If Next shp ' Count characters in cells containing constants bPossibleError = True Set rng = wks.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeConstants) If bSkipMe Then bSkipMe = False Else For Each rCell In rng lConstants = lConstants + Len(rCell.Value) Next rCell End If ' Count characters in cells containing formulas bPossibleError = True Set rng = wks.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas) If bSkipMe Then bSkipMe = False Else For Each rCell In rng lFormulaValues = lFormulaValues + Len(rCell.Value) lFormulas = lFormulas + Len(rCell.Formula) Next rCell End If Next wks sMsg = Format(lTxtBox, "#,##0") & _ " Characters in text boxes" & vbCrLf sMsg = sMsg & Format(lConstants, "#,##0") & _ " Characters in constants" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf lTotal = lTxtBox + lConstants sMsg = sMsg & Format(lTotal, "#,##0") & _ " Total characters (as constants)" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf sMsg = sMsg & Format(lFormulaValues, "#,##0") & _ " Characters in formulas (as values)" & vbCrLf sMsg = sMsg & Format(lFormulas, "#,##0") & _ " Characters in formulas (as formulas)" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf lTotal2 = lTotal + lFormulas lTotal = lTotal + lFormulaValues sMsg = sMsg & Format(lTotal, "#,##0") & _ " Total characters (with formulas as values)" & vbCrLf sMsg = sMsg & Format(lTotal2, "#,##0") & _ " Total characters (with formulas as formulas)" MsgBox Prompt:=sMsg, Title:="Character count" ExitHandler: Application.ScreenUpdating = True Exit Sub ErrHandler: If bPossibleError And Err.Number = 1004 Then bPossibleError = False bSkipMe = True Resume Next Else MsgBox Err.Number & ": " & Err.Description Resume ExitHandler End If End Sub
The macro may seem quite long, but it is very well structured in exactly what it does. First, it looks through all the text boxes in a worksheet. If they are not grouped (you cannot count characters in grouped text boxes), then the characters in them are tallied up. Then the macro tallies up the characters in cells containing constants. Finally, it counts all the characters used in cells containing formulas. The balance of the macro is used to present the information in a message box.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2284) 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: Counting All Characters.
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!
Import information from a program external to Excel, and your numbers may be treated as text because of the way that the ...Discover More
Macros are often used to process the data in a worksheet. If that data includes dates that need to be processed, you'll ...Discover More
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
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.