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VBA Rename File (How to + 5 code examples)

VBA Code Snippets

VBA in Excel does not restrict us to just a single application. VBA gives us access to the windows environment too. With this we can perform a lot of common file-based actions. One of the most common is to rename a file. In this post, we will look at 5 examples of renaming files with VBA.

Rename a File VBA

To rename a file with VBA we use the Name command. Name appears in blue because it is a reserved word within VBA.

Example 1: Renaming a file

This example renames a file from Example File.xlsx to Example File Renamed.xlsx.

Sub VBARenameFile()

Name "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File.xlsx" As _
    "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File Renamed.xlsx"

End Sub

Example 2: Rename a file based on cell values

In this example, we rename a file based on cell values. The screenshot below shows the current file name in Cell C2 and the new file name in Cell C4.

Example - VBA Rename File

We can run the following macro to rename a file using these cell values.

Sub VBARenameFileSheetNames()

Name ActiveSheet.Range("C2") As _

End Sub

Example 3: Move a file with the Name command

Did you notice the Name command requires the file path and file name? Therefore, the Name command doesn’t just rename files but can also move files. For example, the code below moves the file from C:\Users\marks\Documents\ to C:\Users\marks\, but the file name remains the same.

Sub VBAMoveFile()

Name "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File.xlsx" As _
    "C:\Users\marks\Example File.xlsx"

End Sub

Example 4: Avoiding errors when renaming files

Trying to move files that don’t exist, or are locked for editing can trigger errors. The errors are detailed in the section below.

If there is an error, we really want to avoid going through the Visual Basic error debugging process. Instead, a better option is to display a message box with an OK button.

Sub VBAAdvancedRenameFile()

'Create variables to hold file names
Dim filePath As String
Dim newFilePath As String

filePath = "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File.xlsx"
newFilePath = "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File Renamed.xlsx"

'Ignore errors
On Error Resume Next

'Rename file
Name filePath As newFilePath

'Display message if error occured
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    MsgBox Prompt:="Unable to rename file", Buttons:=vbOK, _
        Title:="Rename file error"
End If

'Turn error checking back on
On Error GoTo 0

End Sub

Example 5: Reusable function

Finally, let’s create a reusable function for moving and renaming files.

The VBA function below accepts two string arguments; the existing file path and the new file path.

Function fxRenameFile(filePath As String, newFilePath As String)

'Ignore errors
On Error Resume Next

'Rename file
Name filePath As newFilePath

'Display message if error occured
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    fxRenameFile = False
    fxRenameFile = True
End If

'Turn error checking back on
On Error GoTo 0

End Function

We can use this function in two ways.

  1. Calling the function from another macro
  2. Calling the function from a worksheet

Let’s look at both of these in turn.

Calling the function from a macro

The macro below calls the function and displays a message box with the following values:

  • True = File renamed
  • False = Error occurred.
Sub CallFunction()

'Create variables to hold file names
Dim filePath As String
Dim newFilePath As String

filePath = "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File.xlsx"
newFilePath = "C:\Users\marks\Documents\Example File Renamed.xlsx"

'True = File Renamed
'False = Error Occured
MsgBox fxRenameFile(filePath, newFilePath)

End Sub

Calling the function from a worksheet

Alternatively, we can call the function just like a normal worksheet function.

Calling function to rename file from worksheet

Look at the screenshot above, our custom function is used in Cell C6:


TRUE indicates that the file named in Cell C2 has been successfully renamed to the file named in Cell C4. If we run the function a second time, it will show FALSE, as the file has already been renamed.

Be aware the function executes each time cells C2 or C4 change, so be careful with the order in which you update the cells.

TOP TIP: If we use the fxRenameFile function inside an IF function, it will only executes when the condition is met. In the example below, the fxRenameFile function only executes if cell A6 equals Y.

=IF(A6="Y",fxRenameFile(C2,C4),"Do not rename")

Using this method, we can control when and how the function executes. We just need to change cell A6 to another value when we don’t the function to execute.

Possible errors

If we try to rename a file or folder path that does not exist, it triggers an error: Run-time error’53’: File not found.

VBA Rename File error

If the new file name is the same as an existing one, it triggers the following error: Run-time error ’58’: File already exists.

Rename file to an existing open file

If either file name is not a valid format, it triggers the following error: Run-time error ‘5’: Invalid procedure call or argument

Invalid file name error when renaming a file with VBA

Notes on renaming files

We have used Excel workbooks in the examples, but we can use any file type. Also, we are not restricted to files; we can rename folders using the Name command too.

The Name command is core Visual Basic code. Therefore, it exists in other applications supporting VBA, such as Word and PowerPoint.

Related Posts:

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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.

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