How to Use VBA SelectionChange Event in 3 Minutes (Excel)
Written by Kasper Langmann
The VBA SelectionChange event in Excel is a powerful tool that can be used to automate and enhance your worksheets. This event is triggered whenever a cell or range of cells is selected in a worksheet. It can be used to perform a variety of tasks, such as data validation, formatting cells, or displaying messages. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of using the VBA SelectionChange event effectively.
Understanding the VBA SelectionChange Event
The VBA SelectionChange event is an inbuilt event in Excel VBA that gets triggered whenever a new cell or range of cells is selected in the worksheet. This event is particularly useful when you want to perform a specific action whenever a cell selection changes.
For instance, you can use the SelectionChange event to automatically format cells, validate data, or even display custom messages to the user. The possibilities are endless, and the only limit is your imagination and understanding of VBA.
How the SelectionChange Event Works
The SelectionChange event is triggered by Excel whenever a new cell or range of cells is selected in the worksheet. This event is associated with the Worksheet object and is part of the Excel VBA events system.
When you select a cell or range of cells, Excel fires the SelectionChange event, and any VBA code associated with this event is executed. The event is passed a single argument, Target, which is a Range object that represents the new selection.
Where to Write the SelectionChange Event Code
The code for the SelectionChange event should be written in the code window for the Worksheet object. To access this window, right-click on the worksheet tab and select ‘View Code’. This will open the VBA Editor with the code window for the selected worksheet.
In this window, you can write the code for the SelectionChange event. The code should be written in the following format:
Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range) ' Your code here End Sub
Using the VBA SelectionChange Event
Now that we understand what the VBA SelectionChange event is and how it works, let’s look at how to use it. We will cover a few examples that demonstrate the power and versatility of this event.
Example 1: Formatting Cells
One common use of the SelectionChange event is to automatically format cells based on their values. For instance, you might want to highlight cells that contain negative numbers.
To do this, you would use the SelectionChange event to check the value of the selected cell and apply the appropriate formatting. Here’s an example of how you might do this:
Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range) If Target.Value < 0 Then Target.Interior.Color = RGB(255, 0, 0) Else Target.Interior.Color = RGB(255, 255, 255) End If End Sub
Example 2: Data Validation
Another common use of the SelectionChange event is for data validation. You can use this event to check the value of a cell and display a message to the user if the value is not valid.
For example, you might want to ensure that a cell contains a numeric value. If the cell contains a non-numeric value, you could use the SelectionChange event to display a message to the user and clear the cell. Here’s an example:
Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range) If Not IsNumeric(Target.Value) Then MsgBox "Please enter a numeric value." Target.ClearContents End If End Sub
Best Practices for Using the VBA SelectionChange Event
While the VBA SelectionChange event is a powerful tool, it’s important to use it responsibly. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when using this event.
Keep the Code Efficient
Because the SelectionChange event is triggered every time a cell is selected, it’s important to keep the associated VBA code as efficient as possible. Avoid performing complex or time-consuming operations in the SelectionChange event, as this can slow down Excel and lead to a poor user experience.
Use Error Handling
As with any VBA code, it’s important to include error handling in your SelectionChange event code. This will ensure that any errors that occur are handled gracefully and don’t cause Excel to crash or behave unpredictably.
Finally, make sure to thoroughly test your SelectionChange event code. Because this event is triggered so frequently, even small bugs can have a big impact. Test your code with a variety of cell selections and values to ensure it behaves as expected.
In conclusion, the VBA SelectionChange event is a powerful tool that can greatly enhance your Excel worksheets. By understanding how this event works and following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can use the SelectionChange event to automate tasks, validate data, and much more.