Creating Individual Workbooks

If you use Excel quite a bit, you know you may get some rather large workbooks from colleagues. Often it is desirable to break the workbook down, so that each worksheet is in its own workbook. While this can be done manually, the process quickly becomes tedious if you have a lot of breaking down to do.

This sort of repetitive work is a natural for a macro. The following macro, called BreakItUp, creates individual workbook files based on the worksheets in the current workbook. Thus, if the current workbook contains 25 worksheets, running this macro results in 25 individual Excel workbook files being created. Each workbook has a single worksheet, and the name of the workbook is the same as that of the worksheet.

Sub BreakItUp()
    Dim sht As Worksheet
    Dim NFName As String
    Const WBPath = "C:"

    For Each sht In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
        sht.Copy
        NFName = WBPath & sht.Name & ".xls"
        ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs FileName:=NFName, _
            FileFormat:=xlNormal, CreateBackup:=False
        ActiveWindow.Close
    Next
End Sub

The BreakItUp macro stores the new workbooks in the root directory on the C: drive. If you want your workbooks saved in a different place, you can simply change the line in which the WBPath constant is created.

You should also know that it is relatively easy to crash this macro. For instance, if you use a character in a worksheet name that is not “legal” for a file name, the macro will rudely stop when it tries to create the file. Of course, you could easily make the modifications to the macro to check for and replace such illegal characters.

Another potential pitfall for the macro is that it will stop running if a file already exists that has the same name as a worksheet. For instance, let’s suppose you have a worksheet named MySheet1. If there is already a file on disk called MySheet1.xls, then the macro will stop when it tries to overwrite the file. You can get around this by making sure there are no file name conflicts in the directory where the workbooks are being saved.