Using a Progress Indicator in Macros

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 23, 2012)

1

The macro language (VBA) provided with Excel is quite powerful. This means that you can do some pretty intense (and impressive) tasks with the language. Some tasks might take quite a while to complete. The problem is that some users may think their computer has hung unless there is some on-screen indication that the macro is running.

There are two ways that you can approach a solution to such a task. The first (and simplest) option is to use the status bar to indicate the progress of your macro. For instance, you could add some code to your macro by which it determines the percentage of completion. Once you have a percentage in hand (let's say it is stored in the xPctComp variable), you simply add the following line to your macro:

Application.StatusBar = "Portion completed: " & _
  Format(xPctComp, "##0.00%")

Such a line could be added within the main body of your macro, for instance within whatever loop you have that controls processing. When the macro is just about done, you should add a line that clears the status bar, such as the following:

Application.StatusBar = ""

The other way to create a progress indicator is to use some sort of a dialog box that displays a "fuel gauge" indicator as to the percentage complete. There are numerous implementations of such a concept already available on the Web. A good representative of this approach is found at John Walkenbach's site:

http://www.j-walk.com/ss/excel/tips/tip34.htm

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2496) 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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What is three more than 8?

2012-10-23 13:24:00

John Zelno

When implementing a progress indicator, be careful of how frequently the indicator is updated. Updating it too frequently can make a macro run much longer. Updating the screen with anything takes a lot of time. You should instrument the progress indicator with something to limit the update frequency. This can be a conditional (IF statement) that updates the conditional every 100 or 1000 loops, or every 5% of a task.

To prove this, I ran the following macro:

Sub test()
t1 = Timer
For i = 1 To 100000#
Application.StatusBar = "loop iteration: " & i
Next
t2 = Timer
For j = 1 To 100000#
If (j Mod 100) = 0 Then
Application.StatusBar = "loop iteration: " & j
End If
Next
t3 = Timer
For k = 1 To 1000000#
Next
t4 = Timer
MsgBox t2 - t1 & {carriage return} & t3 - t2 & {carriage return} & t4 - t3
End Sub

Running this, it takes 28.5 seconds for the macro to count to 100K, updating every loop, 0.3 seconds for it to count to 100K, updating every 100 loops, and 0.02 seconds to count to 1M without a status update.


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