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: Checking for the Existence of a File.

Checking for the Existence of a File

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 8, 2021)

John has a column of invoice numbers in a worksheet. He has a directory on the network where staff save a PDF of the actual invoice and name it using the same invoice number that is in the worksheet. Each invoice number in the worksheet should have a correspondingly named PDF in the directory on the network. John is looking for a way, within Excel, to check and verify that a PDF really does exist for each invoice number.

There is no way to do this using built-in Excel commands. You can, however, create a macro that will do the checking for you. For instance, consider the following simple user-defined function:

Function FileExists1(sPath As String)
    FileExists = Dir(sPath) <> ""
End Function

The routine simply returns a True or False value, based on whether the specified file exists. The value that is passed to the function needs to include a full path and file name. For example, if the file specification (including the path) were in cell A1, you could use the following in a cell:

=FileExists1(A1)

You may not, however, want to put the full path name into the cell. In that case, you could specify it in the actual formula, in this way:

=FileExists1("c:\your\path\here\" & A1 & ".pdf")

Of course, you could instead specify the path in the user-defined function:

Function FileExists2(sFile As String)
    sPath = "c:\your\path\here\" & sFile & ".pdf"
    FileExists = Dir(sPath) <> ""
End Function

With such a function you could easily create a formula in your worksheet that would "flag" any invoices missing from the directory:

=IF(FileExists2(A1),"","Missing Invoice")

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7512) 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: Checking for the Existence of a File.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Displaying Thumbnails and Full-Size Images

Sometimes images can be just too big to display in a document. Instead you may want to display a smaller, thumbnail-size ...

Discover More

Squeezing Everything In

Do you have just a line or two of text that "spills over" onto another printed page? Here are some ways you can compress ...

Discover More

Removing Conditional Formats, but Not the Effects

Conditional formatting is very powerful, but at some point you may want to make the formatting "unconditional." In other ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Finding the Parent Folder

Do you need to figure out the name of the parent folder of whatever folder a worksheet is in? Believe it or not, this can ...

Discover More

Error Opening Second Workbook

If you try to open a second workbook and you see an error message, it could be because of the way you are opening the ...

Discover More

Saving Information in a Text File

The VBA programming language provide with Excel allows you to create and modify text files quite easily. Here's how to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.