How to Clear an Array in VBA: Learn Quickly in 3 Minutes (Excel)

Written by Kasper Langmann

In the world of programming, arrays are a fundamental concept that every coder should be familiar with. They are especially important in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a programming language used in Microsoft Excel. In this guide, we will delve into the process of clearing an array in VBA, a task that is often necessary when working with large datasets in Excel.

Understanding Arrays in VBA

Before we delve into the process of clearing an array, it’s important to understand what an array is. In VBA, an array is a data structure that can store multiple values of the same type. These values are stored in a specific order and can be accessed by referring to their position or index in the array.

Arrays in VBA can be either static or dynamic. A static array has a fixed size, which is defined at the time of its declaration. On the other hand, a dynamic array does not have a fixed size and can be resized during runtime. This flexibility makes dynamic arrays a popular choice for many programmers.

Regardless of the type, arrays in VBA are incredibly useful for storing and manipulating large amounts of data. However, there may be instances where you need to clear the contents of an array. This is where understanding how to clear an array in VBA becomes crucial.

Why Clear an Array in VBA?

There are several reasons why you might want to clear an array in VBA. One of the most common reasons is to free up memory. When you’re working with large datasets in Excel, memory can quickly become a limiting factor. Clearing an array when it’s no longer needed can help to free up this valuable resource.

Another reason to clear an array is to reset its contents. If you’re using an array to store temporary data that is used in calculations, you might want to clear the array before each new calculation to ensure that old data doesn’t interfere with the new calculation.

Finally, clearing an array can also be useful when you’re debugging your code. If you’re encountering unexpected results, clearing your arrays can help to ensure that old data is not causing the problem.

How to Clear an Array in VBA

Clearing a Static Array

Clearing a static array in VBA is a straightforward process. Since a static array has a fixed size, you can simply loop through the array and set each element to its default value. For numeric arrays, the default value is 0, while for string arrays, it’s an empty string (“”).

Here’s an example of how you can clear a static array in VBA:


Dim myArray(1 To 5) As Integer
Dim i As Integer

' Fill the array with some values
For i = 1 To 5
    myArray(i) = i
Next i

' Clear the array
For i = 1 To 5
    myArray(i) = 0
Next i

In this example, we first declare a static array named myArray with a size of 5. We then fill the array with some values using a For loop. Finally, we clear the array by setting each element to 0 using another For loop.

Clearing a Dynamic Array

Clearing a dynamic array in VBA is slightly more complex than clearing a static array. This is because a dynamic array can be resized during runtime, which means that simply setting each element to its default value might not be enough.

To fully clear a dynamic array in VBA, you need to use the Erase function. The Erase function not only sets each element to its default value, but it also frees up the memory that was allocated for the array.

Here’s an example of how you can clear a dynamic array in VBA:


Dim myArray() As Integer
Dim i As Integer

' Resize the array and fill it with some values
ReDim myArray(1 To 5)
For i = 1 To 5
    myArray(i) = i
Next i

' Clear the array
Erase myArray

In this example, we first declare a dynamic array named myArray. We then resize the array to a size of 5 and fill it with some values using a For loop. Finally, we clear the array using the Erase function.

Conclusion

Clearing an array in VBA is a crucial skill that every Excel programmer should master. Whether you’re working with static or dynamic arrays, knowing how to clear an array can help you to manage memory more effectively, prevent errors, and produce more reliable code.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with arrays in VBA and try clearing them in different ways. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with this important programming concept.