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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.

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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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:

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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