How the VBA Get Statement Works Step-by-Step (Excel)

Written by Kasper Langmann

The Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Get statement is an essential tool for any Excel user looking to enhance their spreadsheet capabilities. This powerful statement allows you to read data from binary, random, and sequential files, providing a level of flexibility and control that can significantly improve your Excel experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the VBA Get statement, providing a step-by-step walkthrough of its functionalities and uses.

Understanding the VBA Get Statement

The VBA Get statement is a part of the Visual Basic for Applications language, a programming language developed by Microsoft to be used with their Microsoft Office applications. It is primarily used to read data from files, whether they are binary, random, or sequential. The Get statement reads the data from the file and assigns it to a variable in your VBA code.

It’s important to note that the Get statement is not limited to Excel. It can be used in any application that supports VBA, such as Word or Access. However, its functionality is particularly useful in Excel, where it can be used to automate tasks and manage large amounts of data.

Components of the VBA Get Statement

The VBA Get statement consists of several components, each of which plays a crucial role in its functionality. These components include the file number, the record number, and the variable. The file number is a unique number that VBA assigns to each open file. The record number is the position of the record in the file that you want to read. Lastly, the variable is the place where the data read from the file will be stored.

Understanding these components is key to effectively using the VBA Get statement. Each component must be correctly specified for the Get statement to function as intended.

How to Use the VBA Get Statement

Using the VBA Get statement involves several steps, each of which is crucial to its functionality. The first step is to open the file from which you want to read data. This is done using the VBA Open statement, which allows you to specify the file name and mode in which the file should be opened.

Once the file is open, you can use the Get statement to read data from it. The syntax for the Get statement is as follows: Get [#]filenumber, [recordnumber], variable. The filenumber is the number assigned to the open file, the recordnumber is the position of the record you want to read, and the variable is the place where the data will be stored.

Example of Using the VBA Get Statement

Let’s consider a simple example to illustrate how the VBA Get statement works. Suppose you have a binary file named “data.bin” and you want to read the first record from it. The following code accomplishes this:

    Dim MyData As String
    Open "C:data.bin" For Binary As #1
    Get #1, 1, MyData
    Close #1
    MsgBox MyData

In this example, the Open statement is used to open the file “data.bin” in binary mode. The file number assigned to it is 1. The Get statement is then used to read the first record from the file and store it in the variable MyData. The Close statement is used to close the file once the data has been read. Finally, the MsgBox function is used to display the data read from the file.

Common Uses of the VBA Get Statement

The VBA Get statement is incredibly versatile, and its uses are only limited by your imagination and programming skills. However, there are several common uses that are worth highlighting.

One of the most common uses of the Get statement is to automate tasks in Excel. By reading data from files, you can automate data entry and manipulation tasks, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors.

The Get statement is also commonly used to manage large amounts of data. By reading data from files, you can handle datasets that are too large to fit in an Excel spreadsheet. This can be particularly useful for data analysis and reporting tasks.

Limitations and Considerations

While the VBA Get statement is a powerful tool, it’s important to be aware of its limitations and considerations. One of the main limitations is that it can only read data from files. If you need to write data to a file, you will need to use the VBA Put statement.

Another consideration is that the Get statement reads data in a binary format. This means that the data must be converted to a readable format before it can be used. This can be done using the VBA Str function, which converts numeric data to a string.

Finally, it’s important to remember to close any files that you open with the VBA Open statement. Failing to do so can result in errors and potential data loss.


The VBA Get statement is a powerful tool that can enhance your Excel experience. By understanding its components and how to use it, you can automate tasks, manage large amounts of data, and unlock new possibilities in your spreadsheets. While it has its limitations and considerations, its benefits far outweigh them, making it a valuable addition to any Excel user’s toolkit.