Applications Settings v2

I made a new version of my Application Settings addin as per Sébastien’s comments in my last post.

Application Settings Version 2

As you can see, there are new settings for the following.




In the case of the last 2 settings, you’ll notice that there are Set, Reset and Save buttons. This is how they work,

Set: Set to the number that is entered in the text box.

Reset: Reset to the real default or “alias” default.

Save: Save an “alias” default instead of Excel’s real default. For example, if you prefer 120 instead of 100 for Max Iterations, you can set the “alias” default so that the form does not appear when opening or saving the active workbook if Application.MaxIterations is set to 120. Also, clicking the Reset button thereafter will reset Application.MaxIterations to 120. And using the Set button to set Application.MaxIterations to any other value than 120 will show the value in red font to indicate it is not the “alias” default.

Hope this is useful. Download the new version here.

Application Settings

As posted on my blog a few days earlier,

Back in 2005, I noticed something that worried me.

You may know already that switching Application.Calculation to xlCalculationManual can make various code run faster. It can be a big time saver.

The problem, as I see it, is not switching it back to xlCalculationAutomatic. Given that some people for whatever reasons might use Manual Calculation all the time, most people don’t, especially the vast majority of average users who probably haven’t heard of this setting. With Calculation still set to Manual, they might be looking at values that haven’t be updated. Even experienced programmers might be temporarily confused until they figure out what’s going on. Imagine someone in a sales department quoting incorrect pricing to a customer or doing a faulty presentation at an important meeting. Not good.

And now for what really worries me – saving files with this setting. Let’s try something. Close all Excel files, except one to use for testing. Now switch to Manual Calculation. If you don’t know how to do it in code, you can click Calculation Options on the Formulas tab, then select Manual. Now save in that setting, close Excel, and reopen the file. If that file is the first one to be opened, Excel Calculation will be set to Manual by default, and all other files opened thereafter will be affected too. Save any of them with this setting, and the same thing will happen if they happen to be the first file opened…

So, how do you know Calculation is set to Manual without specifically checking?

You can’t. (Actually there is a way to make it more obvious. See the comment from Jake Collins)

Now, imagine sending one of these files to colleagues or customers, then realizing something is amiss days later. Again, not good. In fact, downright scary.

So, also in 2005(?), I made an addin called Calculation Checker. It checks Calculation when you save and prompts you to do so as Automatic if set as otherwise (including Automatic Except for Data Tables).

I’ve found it useful, but since then I’ve thought there’s room for improvement, so I made something new.

As you can see there’s 3 menu items. The bottom 2, when toggle to “On”, check files when opened/saved for the following settings.





If any of those settings are not at their default, the Application Settings form will be displayed. Non-default settings are displayed in red. (Yes, the first 3 should be obvious, but easy enough to miss if you’re busy, tired or both!)

Click the form’s controls to reset them individually, or just click the Reset Everything button, then the Save File and Exit button if you choose to. Alternatively, click the X button not to save the file. Note that any other file that are open will also be saved with these settings (unless you change them later), because they are Application settings, not Workbook settings.

And because the form can be opened directly from the Ribbon, you can easily change any of the settings at any time for whatever reason. Click the Show Settings button and you can see other settings that can also be reset when clicking the Reset Everything button, if the Include other settings checkbox is ticked.

Keep in mind that these additional settings aren’t checked automatically. The form only resets them if you click the Reset Everything button as mentioned above. Also, if Application.EnableEvents is set to False by VBA code, my addin won’t check files when opening or saving as these are the events that trigger it. In fact, you should be setting this False if any of your code does open or save workbooks to prevent my code from running, then set it back to True before the code ends.

Hopefully this tool will be of use. You can download it here.

PS. I’m going on holidays for a few days so I’ll reply to comments (if there be any!) when I get back.

Adding Stuff to the Top of a Dictionary

I wrote a KwikOpen addin that I use about a million times a day. I ran into a little nagging problem. When I Save As’d a file from the addin, it never showed up on the recently opened list. I finally decided to track down the bug. A while back, I switched my custom class storage method from Collection to Dictionary. I don’t remember why, but I’m sure it was a fine reason. I ended up with this Add method

I have this optional argument, bToTop, so I can add it to the front of the list. But as you can see from the commented code at the bottom, that argument is basically ignored. Dictionaries don’t allow you to insert values into specific locations and that code no longer works.

So why a bug? Because I only store the most recent 2,000 files, and I’m at that limit, any Save As’d file would become 2,001 and not written to disk. When I’d go to open a file, it would read in from the file again and, of course, that recently saved file was not there.

Surely there’s a quick and easy method for pushing something to the top. Nope. All I could find was rewriting the whole Dictionary.

In that code, I create a temporary Dictionary, dcTemp, put my Save As’d file in first, then fill in the rest, finally replacing the old Dictionary with the temporary one. That’s not exactly elegant, but it gets the job done. I tested it and found that the recently saved file was not on the top of the list. It was near the top, but I inserted it first, it should be at the top. Then I remembered that I read in Excel’s MRU before I read in my file. That means there are 50 files ahead of the one I just saved. No biggie, but it gave me an idea.

Instead of recreating the Dictionary, why don’t I just add it to the MRU? There are some websites about adding entries to the registry but that won’t work. Excel reads the registry when it opens and I wasn’t about to close and reopen the app. Another way to add a file to the MRU are to specify the arguments in the Open and SaveAs methods. I am saving a file. Now my Add method looks like this

The heavy lifting is done when I save the file

That lone True out there is the AddToMru argument. By getting rid of the .Execute method and doing the SaveAs myself, I also got rid of a problem where overwriting an existing file caused two warning prompts. Now there’s no need for me to add it to my list (the commented out code at the bottom) because Excel adds it to its list and that’s what I read first.

Storing Stuff in VBA Lists

You no doubt recall when snb wrote about Scripting.Dictionaires. Well, there’s more.

I use Collection objects in my custom class modules almost exclusively. It’s the only object, that I know of, that I can enumerate using For Each.

Outside of custom class modules, I use Dictionary objects. I used to avoid them because they weren’t built in to the language. I was always afraid of some dependency problem. But I’ve never seen one in all my years, so I’m over that now. The advantage of the Exists property and the ability to produce an array of keys or items is awesome. it’s probably more awesome than For Each, but I just haven’t made that leap yet.

And I never use ArrayLists because I never remember them. That’s not totally true. When I’m writing a procedure with a Dictionary and I need to sort, I kick myself for not using an ArrayList.

Here’s some features of Collections, Dictionaries, and ArrayLists.

Feature Collection Dictionary ArrayList
New Enum in class Yes No No
Exists No .Exists .Contains
Key Value paradigm Yes Yes No
Unique keys Yes Yes NA
Key data types String Any NA
Get keys No Yes NA
Auto create items No Yes No
Insert anywhere .Add(,,before,after) No .Insert
Output to array No .Keys or .Items .ToArray

There are other differences. Those are just the ones that are important to me. If there’s a difference that’s important to you, leave a comment. You can read everything you ever wanted to know about these objects at one of the pages below:


Deleting Pivot Table Drilldown Sheets

I tried to make drilling into pivot tables better once upon a time. I failed. Earlier this week, I read Debra’s blog post about showing details and deleting the sheets later. It got me thinking.

The problem I have is that her solution (and many others) rely on the Before_DoubleClick event. As you might imagine, I don’t double click to show pivot table details. I press the context menu key and choose Show Details from the menu. I need a different event or to capture that context menu item. I don’t think there’s any event that will allow me to identify new sheets only when they come from showing details of a pivot table. It doesn’t matter. The better answer is create my own shortcut.

In my Auto_Open and Auto_Close procedures in my PMW:

That’s Ctrl+Shift+D for the uninitiated. That will now run PTDrillDown

Lot’s of

in there. That’s the sign of really tight code, you know. This determines if the ActiveCell is in a pivot table by trying to set a PivotTable variable. If it’s in a pivot table, it next checks to see if it’s in the body (as opposed to row or column headers or filters). If it’s in the body, the code shows the detail, deletes any sheet with my special name, and names the resulting sheet with my special name. The special name lives in my MGlobals module.

And for the coup de grace, I have a class module that defines an Application variable WithEvents. I added this event procedure to it.

Whenever I switch off of the details sheet, it goes away. Now that’s keeping things tidy.

KwikOpen Update

A year and a half ago, I decided that I was going to make a change to my KwikOpen add-in to get rid of recent files that no longer exist. Well, I finally got it done. No, it didn’t take that long to implement. The performance of the add-in has been fine so there wasn’t a pressing need. The other day, the addin seemed a little less peppy than usual and I thought it was time for a look.

I had 2,368 files in my MRU and 465 of them are dead links. That’s about 20% and it’s similar to the proportion I saw back in February 2015. Of the three options I listed at the bottom of my previous post, I chose none of them. Instead, I weeded out some files as I wrote them back out to disk.

The file names are written to the file with the most recent at the top – sort of. Because I’m using the built-in MRU as well as my own, it’s not exactly that way, but it’s close enough for government work. Instead of time stamping the entries, I decided to dump any nonexistent files that were near the bottom of the list. If a file is in the top 90% of the list, it stays regardless of whether it exists. If it’s in the bottom 10%, it only stays if it’s still where it was.

Iteration Total Files Orphaned Files
Beg. 2,368 465
1 2,250 345
2 2,226 321
3 2,225 320

Looking at the last 100 or so files, they’re mostly from 2014. I could cap this at 2,000 and probably not notice.

Unique Entries in Userform Dependent Listboxes

Deepthi commented

…could you please help me tweak the code so that I can make multiple selections in listbox 1 in such a way that the values selected in list box two has all the values applicable for the selections made (listbox) but removes all duplicates?

First, a word about that post. I have used the relationship listbox template exactly zero times. I simply prefer to build my classes from scratch with names that reflect the business objects they represent. But I did reuse the userform and I didn’t change the control names from Parent/Child to Class/Student. I’m conflicted about that, but I’ll get over it.

Let’s say we have some classes and students. A class can have many students and a student can have many classes.

When you select a class, the userform lists the students. If you select more than one class, the userform lists all the student from the selected classes, but each student is listed only once.

Andrew and Payton are only listed once.

There are some significant changes to the code, not the least of which is removing the grandchildren. Also instead of tracking ActiveParent (singular), I now track ActiveClasses (plural) because my top listbox is now multiselect. When my Parent listbox changes, I have to see all the classes that are selected.

To get a unique student list, I use a dictionary object. My favorite thing about dictionaries is returning a zero-based array from the Keys or Items properties.

You can check out the rest of the code in the downloadable file.

You can download