VBA code to find out if a file is already open

VBA Code Snippets

If you work in a team, there are times when more than one person tries to use a file.  Maybe your line manager is checking a piece of information in a workbook, whilst at the same time you are trying to rename the file.  When you’re running files manually, it normally provides a reasonable warning message, but if you’re trying to do this with a macro you will probably receive this type of error:

VBA file open Run-time error '75' File Path access error

If other users will be using your macro, chances are that they will have no idea what this error means.  The code below will check to see if the file is already open by you, or another user.  If it is open, or un-editable for any reason, you will be able to stop the macro from running or display a meaningful error message to the user.

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Do you know the fastest way to learn foreign languages?  It is to read, write, speak, and think in that language as often as possible.  Apart from speaking, programming languages are no different.  The more you immerse yourself in that language, the faster you will pick it up.

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Therefore, what most people like you need is lots of examples that you can practice.  That is why the 100 Excel VBA Macros eBook exists.  It’s the book for all Excel users who want to learn how to read and write Excel macros, save time, and stand out from their peers.  The book contains:

  • 100 example codes to practice reading and writing macros that will embed the language into your thinking.
  • An introduction to macros in Excel to ensure you can implement the VBA code in the book even if you have no prior knowledge.
  • Consistent code layout between examples to enable you to understand the structure and easily customize the code to meet your needs.
  • Downloadable workbook containing all the source code, so the examples can be added to your project to give you the benefit of VBA straight away.

The function has 3 possible results:

  • True = The file is already open
  • False = The file is currently closed
  • [Error Number] = Something else has gone wrong, so the error number is returned.
Function IsFileOpen(fileName As String)

Dim fileNum As Integer
Dim errNum As Integer

'Allow all errors to happen
On Error Resume Next
fileNum = FreeFile()

'Try to open and close the file for input.
'Errors mean the file is already open
Open fileName For Input Lock Read As #fileNum
Close fileNum

'Get the error number
errNum = Err

'Do not allow errors to happen
On Error GoTo 0

'Check the Error Number
Select Case errNum

    'errNum = 0 means no errors, therefore file closed
    Case 0
    IsFileOpen = False
    'errNum = 70 means the file is already open
    Case 70
    IsFileOpen = True

    'Something else went wrong
    Case Else
    IsFileOpen = errNum

End Select

End Function

Remember: Functions must be placed into a Module to work correctly.

The following procedure shows how to call the above function.

Sub CheckIfFileOpen()

Dim fileName As String
fileName = "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Already Open.xlsx"

'Call function to check if the file is open
If IsFileOpen(fileName) = False Then

    'Insert actions to be performed on the closed file


    'The file is open or another error occurred
    MsgBox fileName & " is already open."

End If

End Sub

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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.

What next?
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6 thoughts on “VBA code to find out if a file is already open

  1. jd says:

    I found that this code does not work for files opened from network mapped drive. Maybe that is because network file system isn’t using Windows OS and you don’t have the information if file is open?

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