How to Quickly Activate a Workbook Using VBA in 3 Minutes (Excel)

Written by Kasper Langmann

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is a powerful tool that can automate and enhance Excel. One of the many tasks you can perform with VBA is activating a workbook. This might seem like a simple task, but when you’re dealing with multiple workbooks, automation can save you a lot of time and effort. In this guide, we’ll show you how to quickly activate a workbook using VBA in just three minutes.

Understanding Excel Workbooks and VBA

Before we dive into the process of activating a workbook using VBA, it’s important to understand what Excel workbooks are and how VBA interacts with them. An Excel workbook is essentially a file that contains one or more worksheets. These worksheets can contain data, charts, and other elements.

VBA, on the other hand, is a programming language that’s built into Excel. It allows you to automate tasks, manipulate data, and interact with Excel objects like workbooks and worksheets. When you use VBA to activate a workbook, you’re essentially bringing that workbook into focus so you can interact with it.

Why Use VBA to Activate a Workbook?

There are several reasons why you might want to use VBA to activate a workbook. For one, if you’re working with multiple workbooks at the same time, it can be a hassle to manually switch between them. By using VBA to activate a workbook, you can automate this process and save yourself some time.

Additionally, activating a workbook using VBA can be useful in more complex automation tasks. For example, you might have a VBA script that performs a series of operations on multiple workbooks. By activating each workbook before performing these operations, you can ensure that your script is always working on the correct workbook.

How to Activate a Workbook Using VBA

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Excel workbooks and VBA, let’s get into the process of activating a workbook using VBA. This is a relatively straightforward task that can be accomplished in just a few lines of code.

First, you’ll need to open the VBA editor. You can do this by pressing Alt + F11 on your keyboard. Once the VBA editor is open, you can create a new module by clicking on “Insert” in the menu and then selecting “Module”.

Writing the VBA Code

With your new module open, you can now write the VBA code to activate a workbook. The basic syntax for this operation is as follows:


In this line of code, “YourWorkbookName” should be replaced with the name of the workbook you want to activate. Note that you should include the file extension (e.g., .xlsx or .xls) in the workbook name.

Once you’ve written this line of code, you can run it by pressing F5 on your keyboard. If the specified workbook is open, it will be activated.

Handling Errors

While the above code is simple and effective, it doesn’t account for potential errors. For example, if the specified workbook isn’t open, the code will result in an error. To handle this, you can add some error handling code:

On Error Resume Next
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    MsgBox "The specified workbook is not open."
End If
On Error GoTo 0

This code will attempt to activate the specified workbook. If it can’t, it will display a message box informing you that the specified workbook is not open.

Advanced Workbook Activation Techniques

While the above code is sufficient for basic workbook activation tasks, there are more advanced techniques you can use if you need additional functionality.

Activating a Workbook by Index

Instead of activating a workbook by name, you can also activate it by its index. The index of a workbook is determined by the order in which it was opened. The first workbook opened has an index of 1, the second has an index of 2, and so on. Here’s how you can activate a workbook by index:


This line of code will activate the first workbook that was opened.

Activating the Last Active Workbook

Another useful technique is activating the last active workbook. This can be useful in situations where you’re switching between workbooks and want to return to the one you were working on previously. Here’s how you can do this:


This line of code will activate the workbook that was active before the current one.


Activating a workbook using VBA is a simple but powerful technique that can save you time when working with multiple workbooks. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out with VBA or an experienced user looking to streamline your workflow, this guide should have provided you with the knowledge you need to quickly activate a workbook using VBA.

Remember, the key to mastering VBA is practice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and explore the full capabilities of this powerful tool. Happy coding!