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: Testing for an Empty Worksheet.

Testing for an Empty Worksheet

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 28, 2015)

Michael has a macro that prints a number of worksheets. Occasionally one or two of the worksheets to be printed may contain no data. He is looking for a technique to test whether a worksheet contains data, and then only print those worksheets.

There are several ways you can go about testing for an empty worksheet. Of course, it depends on what you really mean by "empty," at least to a degree. For instance, if a worksheet has absolutely nothing in it—nothing in any cell of the worksheet—we could consider it empty. However, you might have a worksheet that contains some column headings that you added, but nothing except those headings. While Excel would consider the worksheet not empty, you might consider it empty for printing purposes.

Perhaps the easiest way to check if a worksheet is empty is to use the UsedRange object to deterrnine what is in the worksheet:

IsSheetEmpty = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Rows.Count=1 _
  AND ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Columns.Count=1 _
  AND Cells(1,1).Value=""

Note that the UsedRange object consists of, well, the range of used cells within a worksheet. Thus, if the count of rows in this range is 1 and the count of columns in this range is 1, and there is nothing in cell A1, then the worksheet is probably empty.

If you have a header row (or two) in your worksheet, then you can adjust this technique to however may rows and columns you have in those headers. For instance, if you have headers in the range A1:F4, then you might adjust the technique in this manner:

IsSheetEmpty = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Rows.Count=4 _
  AND ActiveSheet.UsedRange.Columns.Count=6

You don't need to check the contents of A1 in this instance because you already know that it (and several other cells) contain information—your headers. You just want to ignore everything in those headers to determine if there is additional information in the worksheet.

If the worksheet is completely empty (no header information that you've added), you can use the CountA worksheet function to analyze the cells in the worksheet. If the result of the function is greater than zero, then the worksheet is not empty. For example, let's say that the worksheet you want to analyze is specified by the object sht. You can use this technique in this manner:

IsSheetEmpty = Application.WorksheetFunction.CountA(sht.Cells) = 0

Of course, it is possible for a worksheet to contain items other than information in cells. If you suspect you will have these types of objects in a worksheet (things like AutoShapes, graphics, or embedded charts), then your testing for "emptiness" will need to be more complete. Each of these items are contained within collections that are accessible in VBA, and you can check the Count property for each collection to see if it is zero or not.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3280) 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: Testing for an Empty Worksheet.

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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