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Reading document properties with VBA

VBA Code Snippets

In the Windows Explorer it is possible to view a document’s properties.  Right-click on the file and select Properties.

There is useful information in here, such as author, creation date, last saved date etc.  The good news is, we can access this information using VBA with  the BuiltinDocumentProperties Property.

Not all document properties are populated with data, as it depends on the file type. For example, Excel files do not have data about the number of slides property, but a PowerPoint file does.  Yet, both Excel and PowerPoint files have a number of slides property, it’s just not used in all circumstances.

The basic VBA code

'Finding the author of the ActiveWorkbook
Debug.Print ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Author")

'Finding the creation date of another workbook
Dim Wb As Workbook
Set Wb = Workbooks("myFileTest.xlsx")
Debug.Print Wb.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Creation date")

Working with closed files

By using the BuiltinDocumentProperties there is no way to read the properties from a closed file.  Therefore it is necessary to open the file, read the properties, then close the file.

'Find the Last saved time of a currently closed file
Dim Wb As Workbook
Set Wb = Workbooks.Open("C:\Users\marks\Documents\myFileTest.xlsx")
Debug.Print Wb.BuiltinDocumentProperties("Last save time")

Note: Take a look in the comments section below as there appears to be a way to read and change properties on a closed file.  But that is outside the scope of this post.

Catching errors

Referencing a property which does not have any information will throw and error.

Builtin Properties - Catching Error

It is possible to catch the errors so that you know the value is blank:

'Catching errors when there is no value
Dim fileProperty As Variant
fileProperty = "Number of slides"

On Error Resume Next
Debug.Print ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties(fileProperty)
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    Debug.Print fileProperty & " is blank"
End If
On Error GoTo 0

All the available properties

The available properties are:

Last author
Revision number
Application name
Last print date
Creation date
Last save time
Total editing time
Number of pages
Number of words
Number of characters
Number of bytes
Number of lines
Number of paragraphs
Number of slides
Number of notes
Number of hidden Slides
Number of multimedia clips
Hyperlink base
Number of characters (with spaces)
Content type
Content status
Document version

It is also possible to loop through and list all of the available properties:

'List all the file properties available
Dim fileProperty As Variant
For Each fileProperty In ActiveWorkbook.BuiltinDocumentProperties
    Debug.Print fileProperty.Name
Next fileProperty

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About the author

Hey, I’m Mark, and I run Excel Off The Grid.

My parents tell me that at the age of 7 I declared I was going to become a qualified accountant. I was either psychic or had no imagination, as that is exactly what happened. However, it wasn't until I was 35 that my journey really began.

In 2015, I started a new job, for which I was regularly working after 10pm. As a result, I rarely saw my children during the week. So, I started searching for the secrets to automating Excel. I discovered that by building a small number of simple tools, I could combine them together in different ways to automate nearly all my regular tasks. This meant I could work less hours (and I got pay raises!). Today, I teach these techniques to other professionals in our training program so they too can spend less time at work (and more time with their children and doing the things they love).

Do you need help adapting this post to your needs?

I'm guessing the examples in this post don't exactly match your situation. We all use Excel differently, so it's impossible to write a post that will meet everybody's needs. By taking the time to understand the techniques and principles in this post (and elsewhere on this site), you should be able to adapt it to your needs.

But, if you're still struggling you should:

  1. Read other blogs, or watch YouTube videos on the same topic. You will benefit much more by discovering your own solutions.
  2. Ask the 'Excel Ninja' in your office. It's amazing what things other people know.
  3. Ask a question in a forum like Mr Excel, or the Microsoft Answers Community. Remember, the people on these forums are generally giving their time for free. So take care to craft your question, make sure it's clear and concise.  List all the things you've tried, and provide screenshots, code segments and example workbooks.
  4. Use Excel Rescue, who are my consultancy partner. They help by providing solutions to smaller Excel problems.

What next?
Don't go yet, there is plenty more to learn on Excel Off The Grid.  Check out the latest posts:

2 thoughts on “Reading document properties with VBA

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      Hi Roy,

      Thanks for the question. I must admit that I’ve not tried. It’s outside my current knowledge and skill level. It is something I will look into, as it’s always good to learn.

      I will add a comment to the post to clarify that it’s only referring to the basic BuiltinDocumentProperties properties.

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