This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

VBA Tables and ListObjects

VBA Code Snippets

Tables are one of the most powerful features of Excel.  Controlling them using VBA provides a way to automate that power, which generates a double benefit 🙂

Excel likes to store data within tables.  The basic structural rules, such as (a) headings must be unique (b) only one header row allowed, make tables compatible with more complex tools.  For example, Power Query, Power Pivot, and SharePoint lists all use tables as either a source or an output.  Therefore, it is clearly Microsoft’s intention that we use tables.

However, the biggest benefit to the everyday Excel user is much simpler; if we add new data to the bottom of a table, any formulas referencing the table will automatically expand to include the new data.

Whether you love tables as much as I do or not, this post will help you automate them with VBA.

Tables, as we know them today, first appeared in Excel 2007.  This was a replacement for the Lists functionality found in Excel 2003.  From a VBA perspective, the document object model (DOM) did not change with the upgraded functionality.  So, while we use the term ‘tables’ in Excel, they are still referred to as ListObjects within VBA.

Download the example file

I recommend you download the files which support this post, as you’ll be able to work along with examples.  This is the best way to learn.  You’ll be able to see the solutions in action, plus the file will be useful for future reference.  The support files are available for FREE to newsletter subscribers.

Click below to subscribe and gain access to the subscriber area.  You will also receive:

  • My favorite tips and tricks direct to your inbox
  • Exclusive content (which is only available to subscribers)
  • FREE tools and downloads

Download Icon

If you’re already a subscriber, click here to log-in to the subscriber downloads area.

The filename for this post is 0009 VBA Tables and List Objects.xlsx.

Structure of a table

Before we get deep into any VBA code, it’s useful to understand how tables are structured.

Range & Data Body Range

The range is the whole area of the table.

VBA tables - range

The data body range only includes the rows of data, it excludes the header and totals.

VBA tables - data body range

Header and total rows

The header row range is the top row of the table containing the column headers.

VBA tables - header row range

The totals row range, if displayed, includes calculations at the bottom of the table.

VBA tables - totals row range

List columns and list rows

The individual columns are known as list columns.

VBA tables - list columns

Each row is known as a list row.

VBA tables - list rows

The VBA code in this post details how to manage all these table objects.

Referencing the parts of a table

While you may be tempted to skip this section, I recommend you read it in full and work through the examples.  Understanding Excel’s document object model is the key to reading and writing VBA code.  Master this, and your ability to write your own VBA code will be much higher.

Many of the examples in this first section use the select method, this is to illustrate how to reference parts of the table.  In reality, you would rarely use the select method.

Select the entire table

The following macro will select the whole table, including the totals and header rows.

Sub SelectTable()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").Range.Select

End Sub

Select the data within a table

The DataBodyRange excludes the header and totals sections of the table.

Sub SelectTableData()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").DataBodyRange.Select

End Sub

Get a value from an individual cell within a table

The following macro retrieves the table value from row 2, column 4, and displays it in a message box.

Sub GetValueFromTable()

MsgBox ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").DataBodyRange(2, 4).value

End Sub

Select an entire column

The macro below shows how to select a column by its position, or by its name.

Sub SelectAnEntireColumn()

'Select column based on position
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns(2).Range.Select

'Select column based on name
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns("Category").Range.Select

End Sub

Select a column (data only)

This is similar to the macro above, but it uses the DataBodyRange to only select the data; it excludes the headers and totals.

Sub SelectColumnData()

'Select column data based on position
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns(4).DataBodyRange.Select

'Select column data based on name
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns("Category").DataBodyRange.Select

End Sub

Select a specific column header

This macro shows how to select the column header cell of the 5th column.

Sub SelectCellInHeader()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").HeaderRowRange(5).Select

End Sub

Select a specific column within the totals section

This example demonstrates how to select the cell in the totals row of the 3rd column.

Sub SelectCellInTotal()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").TotalsRowRange(3).Select

End Sub

Select an entire row of data

The macro below selects the 3rd row of data from the table.

Note – The header row is not included as a ListRow.  Therefore, ListRows(3) is the 3rd row within the DataBodyRange, and not the 3rd row from the top of the table.
Sub SelectRowOfData()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows(3).Range.Select

End Sub

Select the header row

The following macro selects the header section of the table.

Sub SelectHeaderSection()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").HeaderRowRange.Select

End Sub

Select the totals row

To select the totals row of the table, use the following code.

Sub SelectTotalsSection()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").TotalsRowRange.Select

End Sub

OK, now we know how to reference the parts of a table, it’s time to get into some more interesting examples.

Become a VLOOKUP master with the Advanced VLOOKUP Cheat Sheet

  • Faster Calculation
  • VLOOKUP to the left
  • Automatically change the column number
  • Lookup with multiple criteria
  • Lookup with rows and columns
  • Wildcards

Download the VLOOKUP Cheat Sheet today!

Click the button below to subscribe, you’ll gain access to the subscriber area in which you can download the cheat sheet.

Download Icon (on mid-green background)

Advanced VLOOKUP Cheat Sheet Image

Creating and converting tables

This section of macros focuses on creating and resizing tables.

Convert selection to a table

The macro below creates a table based on the currently selected region and names it as myTable.  The range is referenced as Selection.CurrentRegion, but this can be substituted for any range object.

If you’re working along with the example file, this macro will trigger an error, as a table called myTable already exists in the workbook.  A new table will still be created with a default name, but the VBA code will error at the renaming step.

Sub ConvertRangeToTable()

tableName As String
Dim tableRange As Range

Set tableName = "myTable"
Set tableRange = Selection.CurrentRegion
ActiveSheet.ListObjects.Add(SourceType:=xlSrcRange, _
    Source:=tableRange, _
    xlListObjectHasHeaders:=xlYes _
    ).Name = tableName

End Sub

Convert a table back to a range

This macro will convert a table back to a standard range.

Sub ConvertTableToRange()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").Unlist

End Sub
Note – Unfortunately, when converting a table to a standard range, the table formatting is not removed.  Therefore, the cells may still look like a table, even when they are not – that’s frustrating!!!

Resize the range of the table

To following macro resizes a table to cell A1 – J100.

Sub ResizeTableRange()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").Resize Range("$A$1:$J$100")

End Sub

Table styles

There are many table formatting options, the most common of which are shown below.

Change the table style

Change the style of a table to an existing pre-defined style.

Sub ChangeTableStyle()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").TableStyle = "TableStyleLight15"

End Sub

To apply different table styles, the easiest method is to use the macro recorder.  The recorded VBA code will include the name of any styles you select.

Get the table style name

Use the following macro to get the name of the style already applied to a table.

Sub GetTableStyleName()

MsgBox ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").TableStyle

End Sub

Apply a style to the first or last column

The first and last columns of a table can be formatted differently using the following macros.

Sub ColumnStyles()

'Apply special style to first column
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowTableStyleFirstColumn = True

'Apply special style to last column
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowTableStyleLastColumn = True

End Sub

Adding or removing stripes

By default, tables have banded rows, but there are other options for this, such as removing row banding or adding column banding.

Sub ChangeStripes()

'Apply column stripes
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowTableStyleColumnStripes = True

'Remove row stripes
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowTableStyleRowStripes = False

End Sub

Set the default table style

The following macro sets the default table style.

Sub SetDefaultTableStyle()

'Set default table style
ActiveWorkbook.DefaultTableStyle = "TableStyleMedium2"

End Sub

Looping through tables

The macros in this section loop through all the tables on the worksheet or workbook.

Loop through all tables on a worksheet

If we want to run a macro on every table of a worksheet, we must loop through the ListObjects collection.

Sub LoopThroughAllTablesWorksheet()

'Create variables to hold the worksheet and the table
Dim ws As Worksheet
Dim tbl As ListObject

Set ws = ActiveSheet
'Loop through each table in worksheet
For Each tbl In ws.ListObjects

    'Do something to the Table....

Next tbl

End Sub

In the code above, we have set the table to a variable, so we must refer to the table in the right way.  In the section labeled ‘Do something to the table…, insert the action to be undertaken on each table, using tbl to reference the table.

For example, the following will change the table style of every table.

tbl.TableStyle = "TableStyleLight15"

Loop through all tables in a workbook

Rather than looping through a single worksheet, as shown above, the macro below loops through every table on every worksheet.

Sub LoopThroughAllTablesWorkbook()

'Create variables to hold the worksheet and the table
Dim ws As Worksheet
Dim tbl As ListObject

'Loop through each worksheet
For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets

    'Loop through each table in worksheet
    For Each tbl In ws.ListObjects

        'Do something to the Table....

    Next tbl

Next ws

End Sub

As noted in the section above, we must refer to the table using its variable.  For example, the following will display the totals row for every table.

tbl.ShowTotals = True

Adding & removing rows and columns

The following macros add and remove rows, headers, and totals from a table.

Add columns into a table

The following macro adds a column to a table.

Sub AddColumnToTable()

'Add column at the end
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns.Add

'Add column at position 2
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns.Add Position:=2
End Sub

Add rows to the bottom of a table

The next macro will add a row to the bottom of a table

Sub AddRowsToTable()

'Add row at bottom
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows.Add

'Add row at the first row
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows.Add Position:=1
End Sub

Delete columns from a table

To delete a column, it is necessary to use either the column index number or the column header.

Sub DeleteColumnsFromTable()

'Delete column 2
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns(2).Delete

'Delete a column by name
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns("Feb").Delete
End Sub

Delete rows from a table

In the table structure, rows do not have names, and therefore can only be deleted by referring to the row number.

Sub DeleteRowsFromTable()

'Delete row 2
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows(2).Delete

'Delete multiple rows
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").Range.Rows("4:6").Delete
End Sub

Add total row to a table

The total row at the bottom of a table can be used for calculations.

Sub AddTotalRowToTable()

'Display total row with value in last column
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowTotals = True

'Change the total for the "Total Column" to an average
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns("TotalColumn").TotalsCalculation = _
    xlTotalsCalculationAverage

'Totals can be added by position, rather than name
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns(2).TotalsCalculation = _
    xlTotalsCalculationAverage
End Sub

Types of totals calculation

xlTotalsCalculationNone
xlTotalsCalculationAverage
xlTotalsCalculationCount
xlTotalsCalculationCountNums
xlTotalsCalculationMax
xlTotalsCalculationMin
xlTotalsCalculationSum
xlTotalsCalculationStdDev
xlTotalsCalculationVar

Table header visability

Table headers can be turned on or off.   The following will hide the headers.

Sub ChangeTableHeader()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowHeaders = False

End Sub

Remove auto filter

The auto filter can be hidden.  Please note, the table header must be visible for this code to work.

Sub RemoveAutoFilter()

ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ShowAutoFilterDropDown = False

End Sub

I have a separate post about controlling auto filter settings – check it out here.  Most of that post applies to tables too.

Other range techniques

Other existing VBA techniques for managing ranges can also be applied to tables.

Using the union operator

To select multiple ranges, we can use VBA’s union operator. Here is an example, it will select rows 4, 1, and 3.

Sub SelectMultipleRangesUnionOperator()

Union(ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows(4).Range, _
    ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows(1).Range, _
    ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows(3).Range).Select

End Sub

Assign values from a variant array to a table row

To assign values to an entire row from a variant array, use code similar to the following:

Sub AssignValueToTableFromArray()

'Assing values to array (for illustration)
Dim myArray As Variant
myArray = Range("A2:D2")

'Assign values in array to the table
ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows(2).Range.Value = myArray

End Sub

Reference parts of a table using the range object

Within VBA, a table can be referenced as if it were a standard range object.

Sub SelectTablePartsAsRange()

ActiveSheet.Range("myTable[Category]").Select

End Sub

Counting rows and columns

Often, it is useful to count the number of rows or columns.  This is a good method to reference rows or columns which have been added.

Counting rows

To count the number of rows within the table, use the following macro.

Sub CountNumberOfRows()

Msgbox ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListRows.Count

End Sub

Counting columns

The following macro will count the number of columns within the table.

Sub CountNumberOfColumns()

Msgbox ActiveSheet.ListObjects("myTable").ListColumns.Count

End Sub

Useful table techniques

The following are some other useful VBA codes for controlling tables.

Show the table data entry form

If a table starts at cell A1, there is a simple data entry form that can be displayed.

Sub ShowDataEntryForm()

'Only works if Table starts at Cell A1
ActiveSheet.ShowDataForm

End Sub

The following screenshot shows the data form for the example table.

Tables data input screen

Check if a table exists

The following macro checks if a table already exists within a workbook.  Change the tblName variable to adapt this to your requirements.

Sub CheckIfTableExists()

'Create variables to hold the worksheet and the table
Dim ws As Worksheet
Dim tbl As ListObject
Dim tblName As String
Dim tblExists As Boolean

tblName = "myTable"

'Loop through eac worksheet
For Each ws In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets

    'Loop through each table in worksheet
    For Each tbl In ws.ListObjects

        If tbl.Name = tblName Then

            tblExists = True

        End If

    Next tbl

Next ws

If tblExists = True Then

    MsgBox "Table " & tblName & " exists."

Else

    MsgBox "Table " & tblName & " does not exists."

End If

End Sub

Find out if a table has been selected, if so which

The following macros find the name of the selected table.

Method 1

As you will see in the comments Jon Peltier had an easy approach to this, which has now become my preferred approach.

Sub SimulateActiveTable()

Dim ActiveTable As ListObject

On Error Resume Next
Set ActiveTable = ActiveCell.ListObject
On Error GoTo 0

'Confirm if a cell is in a Table
If ActiveTable Is Nothing Then
    MsgBox "Select table and try again"
Else
    MsgBox "The active cell is in a Table called: " & ActiveTable.Name
End If

End Sub

Method 2

This option, which was my original method, loops through each table on the worksheet and checks if they intersect with the active cell.

Sub SimulateActiveTable_Method2()

Dim ActiveTable As ListObject
Dim tbl As ListObject

'Loop through each table, check if table intersects with active cell
For Each tbl In ActiveSheet.ListObjects

    If Not Intersect(ActiveCell, tbl.Range) Is Nothing Then

        Set ActiveTable = tbl
        MsgBox "The active cell is in a Table called: " & ActiveTable.Name
    
    End If

Next tbl

'If no intersection then no tabl selected
If ActiveTable Is Nothing Then

    MsgBox "Select an Excel table and try again"

End If

End Sub

Conclusion

Wow!  That was a lot of code examples. 

There are over 30 VBA macros above, and even this does not cover everything, but hopefully covers 99% of your requirements. For your remaining requirements, you could try Microsoft’s VBA object reference library (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office/vba/api/Excel.ListObject)

Now that you’ve learned how to automate tables/ListObjects with VBA, you should check out the following posts, which will help you along your Excel journey.

Don’t forget:

If you’ve found this post useful, or if you have a better approach, then please leave a comment below.

Do you need help adapting this to your needs?

I’m guessing the examples in this post didn’t exactly meet 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.

2 thoughts on “VBA Tables and ListObjects

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *