Conditionally Playing an Audio File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2012)

Tassos would like to have Excel play an audio file when the value in a certain cell exceeds a threshold. For instance, when the value in a cell exceeds 999 he would like a particular sound file to be played.

There is no built-in way to do this in Excel (although it would be an interesting addition to Excel's conditional formatting features). You can, however, play a sound file by using a macro to do a call to the Windows API.

You need to start by placing some code in the Sheet object for the workbook. (Right-click the tab for the worksheet and choose View Code from the Context menu.) Declare the function "playsound" using the following code:

Private Declare Function PlaySound Lib "winmm.dll" _
  Alias "PlaySoundA" (ByVal lpszName As String, _
  ByVal hModule As Long, ByVal dwFlags As Long) As Long

    Const SND_SYNC = &H0
    Const SND_ASYNC = &H1
    Const SND_FILENAME = &H20000

Next you can create a short little macro that will actually play the sound file. Assuming that the sound file is in the same directory as the workbook, the following code will work. (You should modify the code so that it contains the proper filename and location.)

Sub PlayWAV()
    WAVFile = ThisWorkbook.Path & "\MyAudioFile.wav"
    Call PlaySound(WAVFile, 0&, SND_ASYNC Or SND_FILENAME)
End Sub

Finally, establish the criteria when the file is to be played. In this case you want the sound file to play whenever the value in the target cell exceeds the threshold value of 999. The following will check for that condition in cell C5 and, if warranted, play the sound file:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Threshold = 999
    If Range("C5").Value > Threshold Then PlayWAV
End Sub

Now, whenever the value in Cell C5 changes and exceeds 999, the audio file will play one time. If the values is changed to less than 999, nothing plays. If the value changes to another value that exceeds 999, the sound file will play again.

For additional ideas on playing audio files, check out these sites:

http://www.j-walk.com/ss/excel/tips/tip87.htm
http://www.cpearson.com/excel/PlaySound.aspx

You should note, as well, that you can get Excel to play a system sound by using data validation. Simply set up the validation criteria (described in other issues of ExcelTips) and then, on the Error tab, specify whether you want Excel to stop, warn, or inform the user. When a value is entered in the cell that does not fit the criteria, a dialog box is displayed and the system sound is heard.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6559) 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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