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Using VBA to control Custom Lists

VBA Code Snippets

In Excel it is possible to create Custom Lists which are available for use in the spreadsheet or VBA application.  The default lists provided by Microsoft are the days of the week Monday – Sunday (or the shorter version of Mon-Sun) and the months of the year January – December (or the shorter version Jan-Dec).

The most common uses for Custom Lists are to speed up data entry on a spreadsheet.  They exist on the application level and are therefore only present on the computer on which they were created.  However, by using the VBA code snippets below it is possible to automatically add, find, delete and apply these Custom Lists.

Adding a new Custom List

'Add a new Custom List
Application.AddCustomList ListArray:=Array("Element1", "Element2", "Element3")

'Add a new Custom List from range of cells
Application.AddCustomList ListArray:=Range("Sheet1!A1:A3")

Count the number of Custom Lists

'Count the number of Custom Lists
Dim noOfLists As Integer
noOfLists = Application.CustomListCount

Find if a Custom Lists already exists

'Find the listNum of a Custom List based on all items
Dim listNumFound As Integer
listNumFound = Application.GetCustomListNum(Array("Element1", "Element2", "Element3"))

'Find a Custom List which contains a specific element 
Dim i As Integer
Dim arrayItem As Variant
Dim customListContents() As Variant
Dim listNumFound As Integer

For i = 1 To Application.CustomListCount

    'Set the CustomList array to a variable
    customListContents = Application.GetCustomListContents(i)

    'Loop through each element in the CustomList
    For Each arrayItem In customListContents

        'Test if the element has a specific value
        If arrayItem = "Element1" Then listNumFound=i

    Next arrayItem

Next i

Delete a Custom List

'Delete a Custom List
Application.DeleteCustomList listNum:=5

Note: listNum 1-4 are reserved for defaults set by Microsoft

Edit a Custom List

There is no way to edit an existing Custom List.  The best option is to delete the list, then create a new list.

Apply a Custom List to a range of cells

'Apply an existing Custom List to a range of cells
Range("D5").FormulaR1C1 = "Element1"
Selection.AutoFill Destination:=Range("D5:D7")

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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?
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