Pivot Table Pivot Chart Navigator

Pivot Table Pivot Chart Navigator

This post is about navigating between pivot tables and pivot charts. The sample workbook contains a Pivot Table and Pivot Chart Navigator userform that lists the workbook’s pivot tables and takes you to them or their associated charts. The workbook also adds buttons to the chart and pivot table right-click menus. These buttons take you to the associated pivot chart or table. I used Ribbon XML for this last part since later versions of Excel don’t allow modification of the chart context menus with VBA. The downloadable workbook can be easily converted to an addin.

pivot chart context menu

I used to eschew pivot charts as far too clunky. Recently though I was given a project that contained many pivot charts. It seemed that, unless I’d just gotten much less picky (not likely), pivot charts work much better than I remembered. This impression was confirmed in a Jon Peltier post, so I know it’s true.

Using XML to Add to Right-Click Menus

As mentioned above, I’ve added a “Go to Source Pivot” button at the bottom of the chart context menu. I’d never used Ribbon XML to make a right-click menu before. The XML part is straightforward.

To create the button I used the Custom UI Editor and added a ContextMenu section to the XML. I also used the Microsoft’s NameX addin to figure out the name that refers to the chart context menu (ContextMenuChartArea) The XML for the chart and pivot table context menus is below. All of this, including links to the Custom UI Editor and the NameX addin, is covered very nicely in this MSDN post.

Since I’m already forced to use XML to modify the chart context menu, I used it for the pivot table context menu too, even though it can still be modified with VBA:

    <contextMenu idMso="ContextMenuChartArea">
     <button id="cmdGoToSourcePivot" label="Go To Source Pivot"
        getVisible = "cmdGoToSourcePivot_GetVisible"/>
    <contextMenu idMso="ContextMenuPivotTable">
     <button id="cmdGoToPivotChart" label="Go To Pivot Chart"
        onAction="cmdGoToPivotChart_onAction" />

VBA to Go To Source Pivot
The code to go to the source pivot is similar to that in my Finding a Pivot Chart’s Pivot Table post. It looks at the charts PivotLayout property, which only exists if a chart is based on a pivot table. I use this same property in the RibbonInvalidate method to only show the “Go To Pivot Table” button when the chart is a pivot chart. That’s one thing I like about programming the ribbon: the code to show or hide tabs, buttons and other controls is generally simpler than it is when using VBA.

VBA to Go To Pivot Chart
The code to go to a pivot table’s chart loops through all chart sheets and charts on worksheets looking for one whose source range is the pivot table’s range:

Function GetPivotChart(pvt As Excel.PivotTable) As Excel.Chart
Dim wbWithPivots As Excel.Workbook
Dim ws As Excel.Worksheet
Dim chtObject As Excel.ChartObject
Dim cht As Excel.Chart

Set wbWithPivots = pvt.Parent.Parent
For Each cht In wbWithPivots.Charts
    If Not cht.PivotLayout Is Nothing Then
        If cht.PivotLayout.PivotTable.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) = pvt.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) Then
            Set GetPivotChart = cht
            Exit Function
        End If
    End If
Next cht
For Each ws In wbWithPivots.Worksheets
    For Each chtObject In ws.ChartObjects
        Set cht = chtObject.Chart
        If Not cht.PivotLayout Is Nothing Then
            If cht.PivotLayout.PivotTable.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) = pvt.TableRange1.Address(external:=True) Then
                Set GetPivotChart = cht
                Exit Function
            End If
        End If
    Next chtObject
Next ws
End Function

PivotNavigator Form
The other element of the sample workbook is a simple-yet-powerful form that navigates through a workbook’s pivot tables and pivot charts.

pivot navigator form

The form opens up with a list of all the pivot tables in the active workbook. Selecting an item in the form list takes you to the selected pivot. Use the Ctrl key with the left and right arrows to toggle between a pivot and its associated chart.

The form is modeless and responds to selection changes in the workbook, updating the list selection when you click into a different pivot or chart. This functionality uses VBA from my last post, which raises an event every time any chart in a workbook is selected.

The sample workbook has the modified right-click menus, the navigation form and a button in the Developer tab to start the form. There’s even instructions!

Track ActiveCell Movement Within Selection

Track ActiveCell Movement Within Selection

I searched the internet a bit before deciding that neither Excel or the forums have a way to track Activecell movement in a Selection. So, even though I don’t have the most pressing need for such an event, I spent several quality hours coding one.

The Issue
Here’s what I’m talking about. You can capture cell activation using Selection_Change code:

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Range)
Me.Range("A2") = ActiveCell.Address
Me.Range("B2") = ActiveCell.Value
End Sub

Selection Change

But this doesn’t capture cell activation within a selection, the kind that happens when you select an area and then tab through it:

No ActiveCell Change

I noticed this while creating a little ActiveCell Viewer form. My solution is to capture TAB key presses using Application.OnKey. This is a little clunky in a couple of ways, but it seems to work.

My Solution
So my userform uses OnKey to capture the Tab press when a Selection has more than one cell. Now I know when the active cell is changing within a selection, so that’s good. The hard part is that, since I’ve killed the normal Tab behavior, I have to recreate it in VBA with code that moves the ActiveCell one cell forward. Before I can do that I need to define the active cell’s location in terms of the selection.

Basically, the code cycles through each cell in each Area of the Selection. The Areas cycle through in the order they were selected. Tab cycles through each cell of an Area from top to bottom, right to left no matter how you selected the Area.

A Little More About Areas
I do believe that areas are always rectangular. If you make a selection with the control key down, each down-drag-up of the mouse represents an area. I’ve delved into this area (hah) before in the SelectTracker post. As indicated there, if you hold down Ctrl and click a cell five times you get a Selection with five Areas. Interestingly, Excel 2016 gives the unsuspecting user a bit of a hint that this is happening by making the cell a little darker with each click:

darkening Selection

Back to the Coding Process

At first, as so often happens, the VBA seemed fairly simple:

  1. Find the ActiveCell’s position within the overall Selection by looping through its Areas and through each Area’s cells.
  2. Figure out what the next (or previous) cell would be, accounting for moving from one Area to the next and hopping to the beginning of the next Area or looping back to the beginning of the whole Selection.

Then I started thinking about Selections with multiple Areas that intersect the ActiveCell. To deal with this I did two things needed to make the tabbing flow smoothly through overlapping Areas.:

  1. Created a global variable to track which of these areas was selected by the last Tab press.
  2. Created a short routine to figure out the “most recent” Area that intersects the ActiveCell

The Code
Here’s the code that identifies the Activecell’s position within the Selection’s Areas and Cells:

Private Sub SelectNextCellInSelection()

'This sub is called when the Tab key is pressed.
'The point is to be able to capture Tab key presses
'that occur within a Selection, thereby capturing movement of the Activecell.
Dim SelectionCellIndex As Long
Dim SelectionCell As Excel.Range
Dim SelectionArea As Excel.Range

For Each SelectionArea In Selection.Areas
    SelectionCellIndex = 0
    'Mod lets us cycle to the Area after we reach the last one
   SelectionAreaIndex = (SelectionAreaIndex Mod Selection.Areas.Count) + 1
    For Each SelectionCell In Selection.Areas(SelectionAreaIndex).Cells
        SelectionCellIndex = SelectionCellIndex + 1
        If SelectionCell.Address = ActiveCell.Address Then
            GoTo SelectNext
        End If
    Next SelectionCell
Next SelectionArea

'Cycle to the next cell. If we're in the last one, we'll cycle to first.
SelectionCellIndex = (SelectionCellIndex Mod Selection.Areas(SelectionAreaIndex).Cells.Count) + 1
'If we're in the first cell must have gone to the next Area.
If SelectionCellIndex = 1 Then
    SelectionAreaIndex = (SelectionAreaIndex Mod Selection.Areas.Count) + 1
End If

'Because it will get incremented next time round
SelectionAreaIndex = SelectionAreaIndex - 1
End Sub

The code above uses the Mod function to cycle back to the beginning of the next Area or of the entire Selection.

The code to cycle backwards was surpisingly more difficult. Mod didn’t work in reverse, For/Next doesn’t work in reverse, and the beginning number is the last number of the previous Area changes (not 1). So although the logic was the same, the coding was much trickier.

Putting this in a UserForm had the additional complication that the procedures assigned to a key using OnKey have to reside in a regular module. So my code has two very short routines that poke a property in the UserForm, effectively passing the action back into the form as soon as possible.

I also learned VBA’s AppActivate command which shifts the focus from the form to Excel proper. I do that at the end of the forms Activate procedure, since it’s a Viewer after all and doesn’t need the focus.

The ActiveCell Viewer
You may be wondering why you even need an ActiveCell viewer. Well, you probably don’t. But if you did, it might be to see what’s in cells with big blobs of text, or ones that are in hidden columns or rows. And its ability to view cell contents using different format strings might also be nice:

Viewer in Action

Download the sample workbook and try it yourself!

MenuRighter Update Finished

MenuRighter Update Finished

A year or so ago I posted about updating MenuRighter, my free add-in for customizing Excel’s right-click menus. It’s done! You can go to the MenuRighter page for a download link and instructions. Or read on for some examples of what MenuRighter can do.

MenuRigher Customization Examples
Below I’ve modified the Row menu, with the default Excel 2016 version on the left and the modified version on the right. Copy, Cut, Paste and a few other buttons were removed and Freeze Panes is added to the top:

MenuRighter sample Row before


Here’s the modified Row menu in use. Note that the button caption changes in context from “Freeze” to “Unfreeze”:

MenuRighter Row modification in action

Modified Cell Menu
Here’s my modified Cell right-click menu. It’s barely recognizable, so let me restate that this is the menu you get when you right-click in a cell. I’ve again deleted the Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear Contents and several other buttons. At the top I’ve added the menu for my personal addin, cleverly named “myBar.” Just one click added the whole structure to the Cell menu:

MenuRighter sample Cell

You can see that I’ve also added a whole bunch of filtering buttons. Two of the built-in ones are pulled up a level from the Cell>Filter menu, like “Filter by Selected Cell’s Value.” There’s also a couple for my own routines, like “Filter by All Selected Values.”

“Autofilter” is there so I can toggle filtering for whatever Table or range I’m in. (If you’re looking for this one, one its locations is Worksheet Menu Bar > Data > Filter > AutoFilter).

Two Other Examples

Here I’ve added a couple of my routines to the Ply menu. That’s the one you get by right-clicking a sheet tab:
MenuRighter sample Ply

And here’s the entire File menu added to the Cell menu. Everything at your fingertips!

Cell with File

Just kidding. I’d never do that.

New MenuRighter Page

Again, here’s the page with the download link and instructions for the new version. Please let me know what you think if you try it.

Getting Pivot Table Value Field Characteristics

Getting Pivot Table Value Field Characteristics

This post is about a bit of code that answered somebody’s Stack Overflow question, was fun to write, and taught me a few more things about the pivot table object model, which is my favorite object model. So neat, so tidy, so logical – just like pivot tables themselves.

What, you ask, do I mean by Value Field Characteristics? I mean the page, row and column fields and items that the value field is summing, counting or otherwise valuing. So in the picture below the selected value field has three row items: one each for Continent, Country and State.

value field

The Code

Here’s the code to print that same information to the Immediate window. Like the Excel tooltip in the picture it also lists the Value field name, e.g., Sum of Population, and its source field, e.g., Population. (This can be handy when you’ve modified the value field name to something like else, like “Residents.”):

Sub GetValueFieldStuff()
Dim pvtCell As Excel.PivotCell
Dim pvtTable As Excel.PivotTable
Dim pvtField As Excel.PivotField
Dim pvtItem As Excel.PivotItem
Dim pvtParentField As Excel.PivotField
Dim i As Long

On Error Resume Next
Set pvtCell = ActiveCell.PivotCell
If Err.Number <> 0 Then
    MsgBox "The cursor needs to be in a pivot table"
    Exit Sub
End If
On Error GoTo 0

If pvtCell.PivotCellType <> xlPivotCellValue Then
    MsgBox "The cursor needs to be in a Value field cell"
    Exit Sub
End If

Set pvtTable = pvtCell.PivotTable
For Each pvtField In pvtTable.PageFields
    i = 0
    For Each pvtItem In pvtField.PivotItems
        If pvtItem.Visible Then
            i = i + 1
            Debug.Print "PageField " & pvtField.Name & " - Pivot Item " & i & " is " & pvtItem.Name
        End If
    Next pvtItem
Next pvtField

Debug.Print "Value Field Name is " & pvtCell.PivotField.Name
Debug.Print "Value Field Source is " & pvtCell.PivotField.SourceName

For i = 1 To pvtCell.RowItems.Count
    Set pvtParentField = pvtCell.RowItems(i).Parent
    Debug.Print "Row Item " & i & " is " & pvtCell.RowItems(i).Name & ". It's parent Row Field is: " & pvtParentField.Name
Next i

For i = 1 To pvtCell.ColumnItems.Count
    Set pvtParentField = pvtCell.ColumnItems(i).Parent
    Debug.Print "Column Item " & i & " is " & pvtCell.ColumnItems(i).Name; ". It's parent Column Field is: " & pvtParentField.Name
Next i
End Sub

Before answering this question I didn’t know about the PivotCell.RowItems and PivotCell.ColumnItems properties. They’re pretty cool.

The person who posted this on Stack Overflow was looking to create an “actual” drilldown, which I think meant using the output to write a SQL query. You could modify the output of this routine to do so, as in this pseudocode:

SELECT * FROM qryContinentCountryState
WHERE pvtParentItem.Name = pvtCell.RowItems(i).Name

Alrighty then. Thanks for dropping by!

Regex Cell Searcher

Regex Cell Searcher

My data is are of course always perfectly formed, so should I ever need to do something as mundane as copy and paste one of them – a datum that is – into another application I would just select the entire cell and copy and paste it. I’d never need something like a Regex Cell Searcher, aka reg(Excel)lsearcher, to parse my datum, er data, no … datum. Whatever.

But say I did. Say I had wanted to select a cell and instantly have all the phone numbers in that cell plunked into a listbox.

And imagine I could type regexes really fast:

regex cell searcher in action

And let’s also say I wanted to pluck the area codes from the same cell using regex submatches:


And say – just daring to dream here – I wanted the first phone number in the listbox automatically copied to the Windows clipboard. Like below, where I click the cell, the matches are found, and the first one is ready to be pasted into a search engine:

regex copy into clipboard

The Regular Expression

Here’s the regex I came up with to check for a phone number, which I’m defining as three numbers, bracketed or not by parentheses, followed by a space, dash or period, followed by three numbers, etc.:

(?:(\(?\d{3}\)?) ?[-\.]?)?\d{3}[-\.]\d{4}

I can see some issues with it. Regexes are finicky things and accounting for all the possibilities is tricky.

Happily, I’m one of those people with a love of regular expressions. When I bought a book recently for the first time in perhaps 10 years, it was Mastering Regular Expressions.

The Code

Here’s the routine that fills the listbox:

Private Sub UpdateResults()
Dim collMatches As Collection
Dim OneMatch As VBScript_RegExp_55.Match
Dim i As Long
Dim j As Long

If IsRegexPatternValid(Me.txtPattern) And Me.txtPattern <> "" Then
    Set collMatches = GetRegexMatches(Me.txtInput, Me.txtPattern)
    For i = 1 To collMatches.Count
        Set OneMatch = collMatches(i)
        lstMatches.AddItem OneMatch
        If OneMatch.SubMatches.Count > 0 Then
            For j = 1 To OneMatch.SubMatches.Count
                Me.lstSubMatches.AddItem OneMatch.SubMatches(j - 1)
            Next j
        End If
    Next i
End If
End Sub

And here’s the code that uses regular expressions to get the matches and submatches:

Function GetRegexMatches(InputString As String, SearchPattern As String, _
                         Optional boolIgnoreCase As Boolean = True, Optional boolGlobal As Boolean = True, Optional boolMultiline As Boolean = True, _
                         Optional UniqueMatches As Boolean = False) As Collection
Dim Regex As VBScript_RegExp_55.RegExp
Dim rgxMatch As VBScript_RegExp_55.Match
Dim rgxMatches As VBScript_RegExp_55.MatchCollection
Dim collMatches As Collection
Dim collUniqueMatches As Collection

Set Regex = New VBScript_RegExp_55.RegExp
With Regex
    .Pattern = SearchPattern
    .IgnoreCase = boolIgnoreCase
    'Find all matches, not just the first
   .Global = boolGlobal
    '^ and $ work per-line, not just at begin and end of file
   .MultiLine = boolMultiline
    Set collMatches = New Collection
    Set collUniqueMatches = New Collection
    If .test(InputString) Then
        'if matches, create a collection of them
       Set rgxMatches = .Execute(InputString)
        For Each rgxMatch In rgxMatches
            collMatches.Add rgxMatch
            On Error Resume Next
            collUniqueMatches.Add rgxMatch, rgxMatch
            On Error GoTo 0
        Next rgxMatch
    End If
End With

In addition to the features mentioned above, you can click on any item in the Match or SubMatch listboxes and that item will be copied to the clipboard. The form uses an Application class to track selections across all workbooks and is resizable using my form resizing code.

Regex in Excel Proper?

For those of you visiting the Excel User Voice site, where you can suggest and vote on future features in Excel, you may have noticed a fairly popular suggestion would add regex capabilities to Excel.


Here’s a workbook with the form and the code.

Close Workbook While Writing Over It

Close Workbook While Writing Over It

I appreciate that, when trying to copy over an open file, File Explorer gives me a chance to close the file and come back to resume the copy. It used to just stop, as I remember, but now it’s very nice:

folder is open warning

I’m not sure why the message says that a “folder” is open – I’m only trying to copy one file. That’s okay though, it’s clear enough what the message means (especially if you read it quickly). So, I just go into Excel, close the workbook and then go back to File Explorer and hit the “Try Again” button. I thought it would be helpful, or at least fun, to have a complementary function in Excel – a function that closes the workbook but allows me to immediately re-open it after finishing the copy

This is useful when saving to Excel from another program, like Crystal Reports, that exports to a workbook. Generally, I do the export, look at the output workbook, see something I want to change, go back into Crystal to fiddle, and export again*. Of course I can’t do the export if the workbook is still open, so I close it (if I remember) and then re-open it after the export. This requires using Excel’s Recent Files list, and if you read my last post you know I’m not a big fan.

So my most recent addition to my personal addin is a little routine that closes the active workbook and pops up a message box that “holds its place.” That way when I come back from saving over the just-closed file, I can re-open it with the click of a button:

close and hold
Here’s the code:

Sub CloseWbAndHold()
Dim WorkbookToClose As String

If ActiveWorkbook Is Nothing Then
    MsgBox "No active workbook."
    Exit Sub
End If
If ActiveWorkbook.Path = "" Then
    MsgBox "This workbook has no path."
    Exit Sub
End If

WorkbookToClose = ActiveWorkbook.FullName
ActiveWorkbook.Close False

If MsgBox("Re-open " & vbCrLf & WorkbookToClose & "?", vbYesNo + vbQuestion, "Re-open?") _
  = VbMsgBoxResult.vbYes Then
    Workbooks.Open WorkbookToClose
End If
End Sub

Note that the code closes the workbook without prompting to save, since I’m only planning to use it when I’m about to write over the workbook anyways.

And if I decide I want something even simpler, maybe I’ll just go with this:

Sub ReOpenLastFile()
If Application.RecentFiles.Count > 0 Then
    Workbooks.Open Application.RecentFiles(1)
End If
End Sub

* I’m happy to say that we use Crystal Reports mostly as a presentation layer for SQL, so I don’t often have to deal with formulas and the like in it.

Remove Filters From Other Columns

Remove Filters From Other Columns

Here’s another in what’s turning out to be a series of posts on AutoFiltering. This time it’s a bit of code to remove filters from all the columns except those that are part of the current selection. The idea is kind of like “Close Other Tabs” in Fireox or Notepad++. It works for Tables and plain old filtered ranges. I wrote it the other day while working on a mile-wide list with various fancy filters, most of which I wanted to get rid of.

It’s not much code, and hopefully it’s self-explanatory. (If not, you know where to find me.)

Sub ClearFiltersFromOtherColumns()
Dim i As Long
Dim AutoFltr As Excel.AutoFilter

If ActiveSheet Is Nothing Then
    MsgBox "No active worksheet."
    Exit Sub
End If
'Determine the range with the filter depending on whether it's a Table or not
If Not ActiveCell.ListObject Is Nothing Then
    Set AutoFltr = ActiveCell.ListObject.AutoFilter
    Set AutoFltr = ActiveCell.Parent.AutoFilter
End If
If AutoFltr Is Nothing Then
    MsgBox "The selection is not within filtered table or range"
    Exit Sub
End If
If Union(Selection, AutoFltr.Range).Address <> AutoFltr.Range.Address Then
    MsgBox "Please make sure all cells are within the same table or filtered area."
    Exit Sub
End If

For i = 1 To AutoFltr.Filters.Count
    If AutoFltr.Filters(i).On And _
       (Intersect(Selection.EntireColumn, AutoFltr.Range.Columns(i)) Is Nothing) Then
        AutoFltr.Range.AutoFilter Field:=i
    End If
Next i
End Sub

The part I like is how it narrows down to a aingle AutoFilter object regardless of whether you’re working with a ListObject or just a filtered range. I’m not sure I knew there was such an object until I read Mike Alexander’s post on A Better Way to Copy Filtered Rows Using VBA.

Get Word Instance Functions

Get Word Instance Functions

Submitted for your approval. Three functions. Functions to do a simple job. Do it well. Or not. You be the judge.

Yes, I’m trying something new and hoping to drag you along. Don’t worry, it’s just a poll.

A poll about what?
I haven’t automated Word for quite a bit and so, to ease into it, I noodled around with all-purpose functions to find or create a Word instance.

Function Specs
This function, as I imagine it, would have one option with three choices. Or is that one choice with three options?

1. Return only an existing instance of Word. If no instances are open, return nothing.
2. Return an existing instance of Word. If none exists, create a new one.
3. Create a new instance of Word whether or not one’s already open.

That’s not what I want you to vote on. I think we can all agree there’s a time and place for each of these options.

What I want to know is which of the following functions you like best. They all do the same thing, with slightly different approaches.

Function #1 – Enums: I love ’em, or at least the idea of them. In this case we can use their bitwise ANDing capability to shorten, and perhaps obfuscate.

Public Enum WordInstanceType
    ExistingInstance = 1
    NewInstance = 2
End Enum

Function GetWordInstance(InstanceType As WordInstanceType) As Object
Dim wd As Object

If InstanceType And ExistingInstance Then
    On Error Resume Next
    Set wd = GetObject(, "Word.Application")
    On Error GoTo 0
End If
'If wd is nothing now it's either because there were no existing instances
'and/or we asked for New
If (InstanceType And NewInstance) And wd Is Nothing Then
    Set wd = CreateObject("Word.Application")
End If
Set GetWordInstance = wd
End Function

Function #2 – FallThrough: It’s got an ugly pattern, but it matches the way I think about it. No enum, so you’d have to look at the function to figure out what strings it recognizes. That’s pretty ugly too, so maybe you’d want to change it to an enum.

Function GetWordInstance2(InstanceType As String) As Object
Dim wd As Object

If InstanceType = "ExistingInstance" Or InstanceType = "ExistingThenNew" Then
    On Error Resume Next
    Set wd = GetObject(, "Word.Application")
    On Error GoTo 0
    'If we only want Existing, then we either got it or not
   If InstanceType = "ExistingInstance" Then
        Set GetWordInstance2 = wd
        Exit Function
    End If
End If
'If wd is nothing now it's either because
'we specified ExistingThenNew and there were no existing instances
'or we specified NewInstance
If wd Is Nothing Then
    Set wd = CreateObject("Word.Application")
End If
Set GetWordInstance2 = wd
End Function

Function #3 – Plodding Boy, I’m really selling these, huh? Like #2, no enum. It doesn’t worry about duplicated code, just lays out the steps for each option. A simple function for a simple man.

Function GetWordInstance3(InstanceType As String) As Object
Dim wd As Object

If InstanceType = "ExistingInstance" Then
    On Error Resume Next
    Set wd = GetObject(, "Word.Application")
    On Error GoTo 0
ElseIf InstanceType = "ExistingThenNew" Then
    On Error Resume Next
    Set wd = GetObject(, "Word.Application")
    On Error GoTo 0
    If wd Is Nothing Then
        Set wd = CreateObject("Word.Application")
    End If
ElseIf InstanceType = "NewInstance" Then
    Set wd = CreateObject("Word.Application")
End If

Set GetWordInstance3 = wd
End Function

So, okay, the poll. Which function do you prefer?

View Results

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Pivot Multiple Worksheets

Pivot Multiple Worksheets

As I’ve mentioned before, these days I use Excel more and more for developing and testing SQL code. As part of that I often compare of sets of output from SQL. And as part of that I sometimes I find it useful to pivot multiple worksheets.

For example, I just finished a project of translating a query from one data warehouse to another. The new database has a completely different schema than the old – new tables, new fields, new behaviors. My goal was to develop a query that returned the same results from the new database as those from the old.

To compare the outputs, I created two tables (listobjects) in a single workbook. The first table had a connection to the old data warehouse and uses the old query as its Command Text. The second table is connected to the new data warehouse, and was where I’d test the SQL I was developing.

Especially at first, there were quite a few differences in the output of these two queries in these two tables. Comparing the outputs in a pivot table let me see these differences clearly, both in summary and in detail.

Here’s a very simple example using my trusty pie data. In this example I have two different tables on two sheets with slightly different pie orders. Here’s the output from data warehouse 1…

pie table 1

and here it is from data warehouse 88b…

pie table 2

I conveniently placed differences in the Quantity column near the top, so you may be able to just pick them out by eye. And you may even have caught the one date field discrepancy. However, after combining the two tables into one, adding a “Source” column and then pivoting, the differences become easy to pick out, especially with a little conditional formatting:

pie pivot comparison

In the pivot above, “2”s in the Grand Total column represent all the records where the two queries returned the same results. The “1”s point to the discrepancies.

This is a flexible and powerful comparison method. Benefits include:

  • You can quickly add or subtract fields from the pivot to pinpoint the differences.
  • You can change the orders of the fields.
  • If you add subtotals you can then double-click on those with disrepancies to drill down to just those results.

For a while I created these combined source tables manually, just pasting the two sets of results together, adding a column “Source” column with “DW_1” and “DW_88b.” This worked fairly well, but after several times it cried out for automation.

The VBA below keys off of selected sheets in a workbook. Just select the ones you want to pivot and then run the code. Here you can see that both sheets are selected, and I’ve added the “Pivot Multiple Sheets” macro to the tab’s right-click menu (with MenuRighter, of course).

ply menu

The code first collects all the data necessary for the connection and then closes the source workbook. (I did this to avoid memory leaks or whatever it is that makes things go wonky if the workbook is open at the same time I’m creating a connection to it.) It uses that data to create the Source and SQL strings. The SQL is just a series of SELECTS, one for each selected worksheet, connected with UNION ALLs.

The newly created worbook contains a table with the connection to the source workbook and a pivot table pointed at that table. The table’s “Source” field becomes a column in the pivot table, containing the names of the two or more worksheets. The rest of the table columns become pivot table row fields. The connection in this workbook is live, so that if you make changes to the source they will appear in this workbook once you refresh the data and pivot:

Sub Pivot_Multiple_Sheets()

Dim wbToPivot As Excel.Workbook
Dim SheetsToPivot As Excel.Sheets
Dim SourceFullName As String
Dim SourceString As String
Dim wbWithPivot As Excel.Workbook
Dim wsWithQueryTable As Excel.Worksheet
Dim SheetsToPivotCount As Long
Dim SheetsToPivotNames() As String
Dim qt As Excel.QueryTable
Dim i As Long
Dim SqlSelects() As String
Dim sql As String
Dim pvt As Excel.PivotTable
Dim pvtField As Excel.PivotField

If ActiveWorkbook Is Nothing Then
    MsgBox "No active workbook."
    Exit Sub
End If
Set wbToPivot = ActiveWorkbook

If Not wbToPivot.Saved Then
    MsgBox "Please save this workbook before running." & vbCrLf & _
                 "Workbook will be closed by this utility" & _
                 "after the process is completed."
    Exit Sub
End If

'This code acts on the Selected Sheets
Set SheetsToPivot = wbToPivot.Windows(1).SelectedSheets
If SheetsToPivot.Count = 1 Then
    MsgBox "Please select two or more worksheets (no charts)."
    Exit Sub
End If

SheetsToPivotCount = SheetsToPivot.Count

For i = 1 To SheetsToPivotCount
    If Not TypeName(SheetsToPivot(i)) = "Worksheet" Then
        MsgBox "Please select two or more worksheets (no charts)."
        Exit Sub
    End If
Next i

SourceFullName = wbToPivot.FullName
ReDim SheetsToPivotNames(1 To SheetsToPivotCount)
For i = 1 To SheetsToPivotCount
    SheetsToPivotNames(i) = SheetsToPivot(i).Name
Next i
'Change Selection to only one sheeet
'Close the source workbook before creating the new one and its connections
'Save it so not prompted
wbToPivot.Close True

Set wbWithPivot = Workbooks.Add
'Delete any extra worksheets
For i = wbWithPivot.Worksheets.Count To 2 Step -1
    Application.DisplayAlerts = False
    Application.DisplayAlerts = True
Next i
Set wsWithQueryTable = wbWithPivot.Worksheets(1)
wsWithQueryTable.Name = "Data Table"
'Don't know why this is needed, but otherwise .CommandText line below fails

'I got rid of a lot of fields in connection - still seems to work
SourceString = "ODBC;DSN=Excel Files;DBQ=" & SourceFullName
'Create an array of SELECT statements
ReDim SqlSelects(1 To SheetsToPivotCount)
For i = 1 To SheetsToPivotCount
    SqlSelects(i) = "SELECT" & vbCrLf & _
                    "'" & SheetsToPivotNames(i) & "' as Source," & vbCrLf & _
                    "Sheet" & i & ".*" & vbCrLf & _
                    "FROM" & vbCrLf & _
                    "`" & SourceFullName & "`.[" & SheetsToPivotNames(i) & "$] AS Sheet" & i
Next i
'Connect the SELECTS with UNION ALL
For i = LBound(SqlSelects) To UBound(SqlSelects) - 1
    sql = sql & SqlSelects(i) & vbCrLf & "UNION ALL" & vbCrLf
Next i
sql = sql & SqlSelects(i)

Set qt = wsWithQueryTable.ListObjects.Add(SourceType:=0, Source:=SourceString, Destination:=wsWithQueryTable.Range("$A$1")).QueryTable
With qt
    .CommandText = sql
    .ListObject.DisplayName = "tbl" & Format(Now(), "yyyymmddhhmmss") & Right(Format(Timer, "#0.00"), 2)
    .RowNumbers = False
    .FillAdjacentFormulas = False
    .PreserveFormatting = True
    .RefreshOnFileOpen = False
    .BackgroundQuery = True
    .RefreshStyle = xlInsertDeleteCells
    .SavePassword = False
    .SaveData = True
    .RefreshPeriod = 0
    .PreserveColumnInfo = True
    'I like it to preserve the widths the first time it's run, and below turn it to false
   .AdjustColumnWidth = True
    .Refresh BackgroundQuery:=False
    .AdjustColumnWidth = False
End With
With ActiveSheet
    .Name = "Pivot"
    Set pvt = .Parent.PivotCaches.Create(SourceType:=xlDatabase, SourceData:=qt.ListObject.Name).CreatePivotTable(TableDestination:=.Range("A1"))
    pvt.AddDataField Field:=pvt.PivotFields("Source"), Function:=xlCount
    With pvt.PivotFields("Source")
        .Orientation = xlColumnField
        .Position = 1
    End With
    For Each pvtField In pvt.PivotFields
        If pvtField.Name <> "Source" Then
            pvtField.Orientation = xlRowField
            pvtField.Position = pvt.RowFields.Count
        End If
    Next pvtField
End With
End Sub

To use this code put it in your Personal.xlsb or any workbook besides the one with the source data.

This code could use some more error-checking. For example, if the two sheets have a different number of columns. Even more important is the addition of whatever kind of general error handling you use so you exit gracefully from bad connection strings and other such inevitable problems.

Speaking of bad connection strings, you may notice that I’ve ditched the Default Directory, DriverId, BufferSize, MaxPageTimeOuts and whatnot from the connection. I did that to see if it worked. It did, so I never added them back. I see that they reappear in the connection properties for the table:

connection properties

I ran this code in Excel 2010 and 2013. I don’t know how portable this code is to other Excel versions. I also don’t know if you’ll have performance issues if you have the source and pivot workbooks open at the same time.

If you’re interested in this topic be sure to take a look at Kirill Lapin’s method, posted on Contextures. His method keeps the source and the pivot table in one workbook, deleting the connection in between refreshes of the pivot table. I think Kirill’s method is nice for more traditional pivot table use where you want to merge different data sets with the same format, e.g., eastern and western sales regions.

I like my method because it requires no setup for the source workbook, keeps a refreshable connection and arranges the pivot table for comparison.

I’d love to hear anybody’s opinion on the stability of this method, i.e., when opening both the source and the connected data at the same time. Also, I’m curious if this code works in other versions besides 2010 and 2013. These are areas where my knowledge is pretty piecemeal, so any help would be appreciated.

MenuRighter Update!

MenuRighter Update!

MenuRighter is my addin for modifying right-click menus, also known as context menus. It’s been around for three years and downloaded a few thousand times. It’s one of the cooler things I’ve ever made. I’ve just finished making some changes to it.

With MenuRighter you can turn this…

table context menu

into this…

better table context menu

With four clicks I removed the Cut, Copy, Paste and Clear Contents buttons from the List Range Popup (Table) menu. With a few more I added my entire Personal Macro workbook (the cleverly named “myBar”) and its Tables sub-menu. Using MenuRighter’s new search functionality I quickly found and added two filter options along with the “Select Visible Cells” button.

Here’s what MenuRighter looks like. It’s divided into the Source menus and controls on the left and Target ones on the right. The Target menu is the one you’re adding controls to:

MenuRighter form

Removing and Adding Controls
And here’s a couple of quick videos showing how I did the deleting from, and adding to, in the Table context menu. This first one shows how to delete the controls – just select one and click Remove. For even faster removal you can double-click the control in the list:

removing controls

Here I’m selecting the spot to insert the “Clear Selected Filter” and “Filter by Selected Cell’s Value” controls in the Target listbox. Then I filter in the Source combobox, click the Add button, and “hey Presto” they’re added. For even faster addition you can double-click the control to be added.

adding controls

In both examples above, I clicked the “Apply Changes” button to actually modify the context menu. Up until then the “Reset to Current” button will revert the Target listbox to the context menu’s current setup. And at any time you can use the “Reset to Default” button to reset the menu back to Excel’s default.

Moving Controls

You can see in the clip above that controls are added above the selected control in the target menu. (If no control is selected the new control is added at the top. You can also use the Up, Down, Top and Bottom buttons to rearrange and controls in the target menu.


“But wait” I hear you say, “how did you know to choose to the “List Range Popup” menu to modify the context menu for a Table. The answer is MenuRighter’s handy “Show Labels on Menus” checkbox. It temporarily adds a control with the name and index to the bottom of each right-click menu.

show labels on menus

There’s two other setting checkboxes. “Double-type dots” has to with MenuRighter convention for showing the Menu..Sub-menu..Control hierarchy. For instance, the Open control on the File is shown as Add Command..File..Open. If your search filter involves one of those “double-dots” I didn’t want you to have to type both, so, with that option checked, typing one dot gets you two.

The other Setting “Match Source Names” has to do with typing in the Source dropdown list at the top. That list contains all the toolbars that you can filter through in your search for controls. With the option checked, the combobox autofills the dropdown with the closest-matching item in the list. With it unchecked, it just filters based on whatever you type. It’s hard to describe, so just try it out.

The “Execute” Button
One other helpful new feature is the “Execute” button. When you’ve selected a control in the source list, and if that control is enabled, click Execute to run that control. For example, if you’ve selected Add Command..File..New and you click Execute, you’ll get a new workbook. (Pro Tip – choose the New command without three dots).

Search Tips

If you’ve used MenuRighter before, you’ll see that the main changes involve finding controls. The old version uses more of an Explorer type model of drilling down to controls. This new one lets you filter, with two big advantages: it’s faster and it’s more helpful if you have no idea where to start looking.

For example, the “filter by Selected Cell’s” value is a new control since 2003, so only shows in three context menus. Start typing “Filter by” into the Source combobox and you’ll see your choices instantly. On the other hand the Camera tool has been around (and hidden) forever. Type in “camera” and you’ve found it! “Freeze Panes” is another one that’s easy to find this way.

If you just want to scan through menus you can do it by scrolling through the seventy-or-so menus in the Source combobox. Or, you can choose menus in the Target combobox and click the “Show Current” button. Here’s an example of showing the Add Command controls. (Add Commands represents all the controls that were available in Excel 2003’s menu modification dialog):

Add Command menus

Looking for A Few Testers

I’ll be posting this new version soon, but in the meantime it would be great to have a few folks try it out. If you’re interested please let me know in the comments section or through the contact form.