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: Workbook Events.

Workbook Events

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 21, 2015)

In the previous tip you learned how you can discover the various events that you can trap and program for in your macros. Excel also allows you to trap different events on a workbook level. You can discover a list of those events in much the same manner as you do for worksheets:

  1. Press Alt+F11 to display the VBA Editor.
  2. In the Project Explorer window (upper-left corner of the VBA Editor), find the project (workbook) that you are working on.
  3. Expand the project, if necessary, by clicking the plus sign to the left of the project name. You should see all the worksheets in the project listed.
  4. Double-click the ThisWorkbook item. A code window should appear for the workbook.
  5. At the top of the workbook's code window are two drop-down lists. In the left-hand drop-down list, choose Workbook.

At this point, the right-hand drop-down list contains all the events that you can "trap" for the workbook. The available events may vary, according to your version of Excel. In Excel 2003 there are 28 different events, too many to list here.

The names of the events should be descriptive enough that you can tell what triggers each of them. Notice that some of the events start with the word "Sheet" and duplicate the names of the worksheet events detailed in the previous tip. These events, because they are at a workbook level, apply to the workbook as a whole, even though they are triggered by events on a worksheet.

For example, if you choose to trap the SheetActivate event, then the macro will be run when any worksheet in the workbook is activated. Contrast this to the Activate event on the worksheet level, which is activated only when that particular worksheet is activated.

If you choose one of the events in the right-hand drop-down list, you can create the macro you want run when the event actually occurs.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2570) 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: Workbook Events.

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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