How to Quickly Refresh VBA Queries in Excel in 3 Minutes

Written by Kasper Langmann

Excel, a powerful tool from Microsoft’s suite of office applications, has been a staple in businesses worldwide for decades. Its versatility and functionality, especially when combined with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), make it an indispensable tool for data analysis and reporting. One of the most common tasks in Excel is refreshing queries, which can be a time-consuming process if done manually. However, with the help of VBA, this process can be automated, saving you time and effort. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to quickly refresh VBA queries in Excel in just 3 minutes.

Understanding Excel Queries and VBA

Before we delve into the process of refreshing Excel queries using VBA, it’s crucial to understand what these terms mean. Excel queries are essentially commands that retrieve data from a database. They can be as simple as pulling all records from a table, or as complex as joining multiple tables, filtering records, and sorting results. On the other hand, VBA is a programming language developed by Microsoft that is used to automate tasks in Excel and other MS Office applications.

When combined, Excel queries and VBA can perform powerful data manipulation tasks. For example, you can write a VBA script to automatically refresh a query whenever the workbook is opened, or at regular intervals. This can be particularly useful if your Excel workbook is connected to a dynamic data source that is updated frequently.

Setting Up Your Excel Workbook

The first step in automating the refresh of your Excel queries is to set up your workbook. This involves creating your queries and connecting them to your data source. Excel provides a Query Wizard that guides you through the process of creating a query. You can access this by clicking on the ‘Data’ tab, then ‘Get Data’, and finally ‘From Other Sources’.

Once your queries are set up and connected to your data source, you can proceed to write your VBA script. But first, you need to ensure that your workbook is saved in a macro-enabled format (.xlsm or .xlsb). This is because VBA scripts are considered macros, and Excel has specific file types for workbooks that contain macros.

Writing Your VBA Script

Accessing the VBA Editor

The VBA Editor is where you write your VBA scripts. To access it, you can press ‘Alt + F11’ on your keyboard. This will open a new window where you can write your code. If you’re new to VBA, don’t worry. The VBA Editor provides a range of tools to help you write your code, including syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and a built-in debugger.

Writing the Refresh Code

The code to refresh a query in Excel is quite simple. It involves calling the ‘Refresh’ method on the query object. Here’s an example:

Sub RefreshQuery()
End Sub

In this code, ‘MyQuery’ is the name of the query you want to refresh. You need to replace this with the actual name of your query.

Automating the Refresh

Now that you have the code to refresh your query, the next step is to automate this process. There are several ways to do this, depending on your needs. For example, you can set your query to refresh every time the workbook is opened. To do this, you can use the ‘Workbook_Open’ event, like so:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
End Sub

This code calls the ‘RefreshQuery’ subroutine (the one we wrote earlier) every time the workbook is opened.

Testing and Debugging Your VBA Script

After writing your VBA script, it’s important to test it to ensure it works as expected. The VBA Editor provides a ‘Run’ button that you can use to execute your script. If there are any errors, the editor will highlight the problematic line of code and display an error message.

Debugging your VBA script involves identifying the cause of the error and fixing it. This can be as simple as correcting a typo, or as complex as rewriting a section of your code. The VBA Editor’s debugger can help you with this process by allowing you to step through your code one line at a time and inspect the values of variables at each step.


Refreshing Excel queries using VBA is a powerful technique that can save you a lot of time, especially if you work with dynamic data sources. While it may seem complex at first, with a bit of practice, you can quickly become proficient at it. Remember, the key to mastering VBA is practice and patience. So, start writing your VBA scripts today and see the difference it makes in your Excel tasks.