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: Replacing and Converting in a Macro.

Replacing and Converting in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2021)

Saskia was having a problem converting information, under the control of a macro, and still having it be usable in Excel. When she would receive a worksheet that showed numbers formatted with decimal points, she would need to convert the values so they used decimal commas, consistent with how numbers are displayed in Holland. She would do a find and replace, and everything would work fine. However, when she recorded a macro that did the find and replace, the resulting cells were treated as text instead of as numeric values.

The reason for this behavior is that Excel VBA "speaks" American, and some actions done using a recorded macro don't work as expected due to that fact. Because American Excel expects the decimal separator to be a period, interpreting a "number" in VBA with another separator (such as a comma) will cause Excel to consider the value to be text.

The workaround is not to use find and replace, but to use a different trick. Consider the following short macro:

Sub ConvertNumbers()
    Dim oConRange As Range
    Set oConRange = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Cells.SpecialCells(xlConstants)
    oConRange.Value = oConRange.Value
End Sub

This macro defines a range that consists of all the cells that contain constants. Then, it sets the value of each cell in the range equal to itself. In the process of doing this, Excel re-evaluates the contents of each cell and converts it to the appropriate numeric value. In other words, numbers that contain decimal points are converted to numbers that contain decimal commas.

There are other ways you can process the cells using a macro, but the above procedure seems to work the best and the quickest.

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 (2291) 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: Replacing and Converting 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Mandatory Form Fields

When using form fields to gather information from users of your documents, you may want to make sure that some of the ...

Discover More

Printing Reports

The Report Manager allows you to create specialized reports that can be easily printed from your worksheet data. This tip ...

Discover More

Counting Employees in Classes

Excel is very good at counting things, even when those things need to meet specific criteria. This tip shows how you can ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Preserving the Undo List

The undo list can be a lifesaver when working in a macro. Unfortunately, the undo list is not preserved when you run a ...

Discover More

Adding Leading Zeroes to ZIP Codes

Import a bunch of ZIP Codes into Excel, and you may be surprised that any leading zeroes disappear. Here's a handy little ...

Discover More

Reorganizing Data

If you need to consolidate a single column of data into multiple columns of data, you'll love this macro. It provides a ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 one more than 4?

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.