Maybe SkyNet Will Be Written In Excel VBA After All … OR … Why ThisWorkbook Can Save You Headaches With Your Macros

In my last post
, I joked that SkyNet from The Terminator would not be written in Excel VBA because you cannot make Excel VBA code aware that it exists within a particular workbook.

Turns out that I may have been wrong about SkyNet and that I was very wrong about needing to create a workbook object to ensure your code looks at the workbook in which it exists.

There is a way to force your macros to look at the workbook in which they exist.

You use the ThisWorkbook property.

OK, Give Me An Example

Of course. For the example below, create a workbook called “WhyThisWorkbookIsOKWithMacroCode.xlsm” and place the code below in a VBA module.

Sub NotSoConfusingThisWorkbook()

Dim whatYouThinkIsActiveWorkbook As Workbook
Dim whatActuallyIsActiveWorkbook As Workbook

Set whatYouThinkIsActiveWorkbook = Workbooks("WhyThisWorkbookIsOKWithMacroCode.xlsm")
Set whatActuallyIsActiveWorkbook = Workbooks.Add

whatYouThinkIsActiveWorkbook.Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(1, 1) = "this is what you think you will see"
whatActuallyIsActiveWorkbook.Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(1, 1) = "this is what you actually see since activeWorkbook confused you"

Debug.Print ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(1, 1)

' show how ThisWorkbook works
Debug.Print "Now Let's try it with ThisWorkbook"
Debug.Print ThisWorkbook.Worksheets("Sheet1").Cells(1,1)

Set whatYouThinkIsActiveWorkbook = Nothing
Set whatActuallyIsActiveWorkbook = Nothing

End Sub

As you can see after running this code, while ActiveWorkbook looks at the last activated or clicked workbook, ThisWorkbook refers back to the workbook in which the VBA Macro code exists.