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 Directory Name.

Finding the Directory Name

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 31, 2014)

If you have a need to find out the directory in which your workbook is saved, you may be tempted to use a macro to figure out the answer. While this is a valid approach (and relatively easy), some people are intimidated by macros or don't want to use them within the workbooks. The following worksheet formula will return the directory in which the workbook is stored:

=LEFT(CELL("Filename",$A$1),FIND("[",CELL("Filename",$A$1))-1)

If you use this formula in a workbook that is brand new—one that has yet to be saved—then it will return a #VALUE! error. This happens because the filename has not yet been set, and the LEFT function cannot return a portion of something that is not there. To avoid the error, simply encase the formula in an IF function, as follows:

=IF(CELL("Filename",$A$1)>"",LEFT(CELL("Filename",$A$1),
FIND("[",CELL("Filename",$A$1))-1),"")

In this variation the CELL function is used to determine if the filename has been set. If it has, then the directory name is extracted and returned. If not, then an empty string is returned.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2571) 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 Directory Name.

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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