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: Progression Indicator in a Macro.

Progression Indicator in a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 28, 2014)


Macros are often created to process data, and processing data can often take a long time. Because of this, some users may think that their computer has stopped responding, even though the macro is busy chunking away a it's appointed task.

The solution for most macro developers is to somehow alert users as to the progress of the macro. There are two ways that you can do this in Excel. The simplest and most common approach is to use the status bar to indicate what the macro is doing. All you need to do is put together a string that contains the status message, and then assign that string to the StatusBar property of the Application object, as shown here:

sStatus = "Processing Input File - Please Be Patient"
Application.StatusBar = sStatus

The message stays on the status bar until you overwrite it with some other message. You could also indicate progress in a loop by giving the percentage complete:

For x = 1 to y
    Application.StatusBar = Format(x/y,"0.0%") & " Complete"
' Other coding here

When your routine finishes, return the status bar back to normal with the following statement:

    Application.StatusBar = False

If you prefer to develop an actual progress indicator for the macro, you can do so by creating a UserForm and then updating the form to display a "percentage bar" or some other visual indicator. Most people who desire this type of progress indicator rely on a variation of John Walkenbach's solution, found at this address:

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3223) 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: Progression Indicator 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. ...


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What is 5 + 9?

2014-06-30 10:07:36

Scott Renz

I have a macro that takes about 14 minutes to run. So, I add a worksheet with 22 named steps in column A. I start off with Application.ScreenUpdating=false. As each step progresses, I put Application.ScreenUpdating=True, add a bunch of dots to the end of the step name and the current time, and then put Application.ScreenUpdating=False. This keeps the user entertained and can see how long it is taking to progress.

2014-06-28 11:02:40


Be careful about adding % complete statuses as shown in the second example. In programming, printing to the screen takes a very long time relative to the rest of the functions. If you print a new status on every pass through a loop, your macro may end up taking a LOT longer to complete. For that reason, I will typically only update status every 100 or 1000 times through a loop, depending on the complexity of the loop. This way, you get periodic status updates, without significantly slowing down the macro.

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