Detecting Types of Sheets in VBA

If you are writing macros that process different worksheets in a workbook, you may have a need to figure out what type of worksheets there are in the workbook, before doing any processing. This can be especially critical because some VBA commands only work on certain types of worksheets.

Before you can figure out what types of worksheets are in a workbook, it is helpful to know how Excel internally stores some of the objects that make up the workbook. Excel maintains both a Worksheets collection and a Charts collection. The Worksheets collection is made up of worksheet objects, and the Charts collection is made up of chart sheet objects. Chart sheet objects are those charts that take up an entire worksheet; it does not include those that are objects embeded within a worksheet.

Interestingly enough, worksheet and chart sheet objects are also members of the Sheets collection. So, if you want to process a workbook in the order that the sheets occur, it is easiest to do so by stepping through the Sheets collection. When you do so, you can examine the Type property of individual objects within the collection to determine what type of object it is. Excel defines four types of objects that can belong to the Sheets collection:

  • xlWorksheet. This is a regular worksheet.
  • xlChart. This is a chart.
  • xlExcel4MacroSheet. This is a macro sheet, as used in Excel 4.0.
  • xlExcel4IntlMacroSheet. This is an international macro sheet, as used in Excel 4.0.

You might be tempted to think that looking at the list of sheet types is enough. Interestingly, however, Excel doesn’t always return what you would expect for the Type property. Instead, if you examine the Type property for a chart, it returns a value equal to xlExcel4MacroSheet. This can cause problems for any macro.

The way around this, then, is to compare the name of each item in the Sheets collection against those in the Charts collection. If the name is in both collections, than it is safe to assume that the sheet is a chart. If it is not in both, then you can analyze further to see if the worksheet is one of the other types. The following macro, SheetType, follows exactly this process:

Sub SheetType()
    Dim iCount As Integer
    Dim iType As Integer
    Dim sTemp As String
    Dim oChart As Chart
    Dim bFound As Boolean

    sTemp = ""
    For iCount = 1 To Sheets.Count
        iType = Sheets(iCount).Type
        sTemp = sTemp & Sheets(iCount).Name & " is a"

        bFound = False
        For Each oChart In Charts
            If oChart.Name = Sheets(iCount).Name Then
                bFound = True
            End If
        Next oChart

        If bFound Then
            sTemp = sTemp & " chart sheet."
            Select Case iType
                Case xlWorksheet
                    sTemp = sTemp & " worksheet."
                Case xlChart
                    sTemp = sTemp & " chart sheet."
                Case xlExcel4MacroSheet
                    sTemp = sTemp & "n Excel 4 macro sheet."
                Case xlExcel4IntlMacroSheet
                    sTemp = sTemp & "n Excel 4 international macro sheet"
                Case Else
                    sTemp = sTemp & "n unknown type of sheet."
            End Select
        End If
        sTemp = sTemp & vbCrLf
    Next iCount
    MsgBox sTemp
End Sub

When you run the macro, you see a single message box that shows the name of each sheet in your workbook, along with what type of sheet it is.

Finally, remember that this code tells you what types of sheets are in a workbook; it doesn’t tell you what type of workbook they are contained in. (In other words, the macro doesn’t care what version of Excel you are working in. Sheet types haven’t changed since the introduction of VBA years and years ago.)