Activate Sheet Using VBA in Excel (Worksheet.Activate)

When you have multiple worksheets in a workbook, you can manually activate a worksheet so that you see the content in that worksheet and can work in it.

The same thing can also be done with VBA using the Worksheets.Activate method.

In this article, I will explain how Worksheets.Activate method works and some examples of using VBA to activate worksheets.

Worksheet.Activate Method

Worksheet.Activate is a method that allows you to activate the specified worksheet.

To use this method, you need to refer to the worksheet that you want to activate. This reference can be done by using the sheet name or the sheet number.

Activate Sheet By Name

Below is the VBA code that will activate Sheet1

Sub ActivateSheet()

    ' This line of code activates the worksheet named "Sheet1".

End Sub

When you run this code, it will activate Sheet1 of the current workbook.

Note that in this code, I have used Worksheets(“Sheet1”), as Sheet1 is a part of the Worksheets collection. You can also use Sheets(“Sheet1”) as it’s also a part of the Sheets collection.

Activate Sheet By Number

You can also activate sheets by their index number, which is it’s position in the workbook.

To activate the first sheet in the workbook, you can use the below VBA macro code:

Sub ActivateSheet()

    ' This line of code activates the worksheet named "Sheet1".

End Sub

In most cases, It is better to use the sheet name instead of the sheet number, as the sheet number can change if you change the position of the worksheet in the workbook.

Activate Sheet Based on Cell Value

Below is the VBA code that activates the sheet based on the value in cell A1.

Sub ActivateSheetByCellValue()

    ' Activates the worksheet based on the name in cell A1

End Sub

The above code first fetches the name that is there in cell a1 in Sheet1 and uses this name in the Worksheets object, and then activates it.

You can simplify the above code by using a variable to store the name in cell A1 and then use it to activate that worksheet (as shown below).

Sub ActivateSheetByCellValue()

    ' Declare the variable
    Dim sheetName As String
    ' Store value in cell A1 in the variable
    sheetName = ThisWorkbook.Worksheets("Sheet1").Range("A1").Value

    ' This line of code activates the worksheet based on the name in cell A1.

End Sub
Also read: VBA Clear Sheet

Activate Sheet in When Opening the Workbook

If you always want a specific worksheet to be activated whenever you open a workbook, you will have to use the Workbook_Open event.

This event is going to trigger your VBA code whenever a workbook is open, and within the code, you can specify that it should always activate the specified worksheet.

Below is the VBA code that would always activate the Summary worksheet whenever the workbook (which has this code) is opened.

Private Sub Workbook_Open()

    ' Activates "Summary" worksheet when workbook is opened

End Sub

Note that the name of the above subroutine is Sub Workbook_Open(), which makes it a workbook open event and would execute the code in this subroutine whenever the workbook is opened.

An event code is not placed in the standard module. It needs to be placed on the object responsible for that event.

In this example, since we want the code to be run whenever the workbook is opened, we will have to place this code in the workbook object.

Here are the steps to put this code in the workbook object:

  1. Press ALT + F11 to open the VBA Editor.
  2. In the Project Explorer window on the left, double-click on “ThisWorkbook” object under the workbook for which you want this to happen.
  3. In the code window that appears, paste the above code.
  4. Save and close the VBA Editor.

Now, whenever you open the workbook in which we placed the code, it will trigger the Workbook_Open event and activate the Summary sheet.

Also read: Protect and Unprotect Sheet Using VBA

Activate Sheet in Another Workbook

Below is the VBA code that would activate a worksheet named “Summary” in the already open Example.xlsx workbook.

Sub ActivateSheetInAnotherWorkbook()

    ' This line of code sets a reference to the workbook named "Example.xlsx".
    Dim Wb As Workbook
    Set Wb = Workbooks("Example.xlsx")

    ' This line of code activates the worksheet named "Summary" in the referenced workbook.

End Sub

Note that the above code will give you an error if the name of the workbook or the worksheet you want to refer to is incorrect or if the workbook is not already open.

If the workbook is closed, you can open it programmatically by modifying the code by including a line to open that workbook.

VBA Activate Sheet Not Working – Possible Reason

Here are some possible reasons you may be seeing an error when you’re trying to activate a sheet using VBA:

  • Sheet Does Not Exist: If you’re trying to activate a sheet that does not exist or if you have misspelled the name of an existing sheet that you’re trying to activate, you will see a Run time Error 9 – Subscript out of range error.
  • Workbook is Not Open: If you are trying to activate a sheet in another workbook that is not already open, you will see an error.
  • Sheet is Hidden or Very Hidden: If you’re trying to activate a sheet that is hidden or very hidden, you will get an error.
  • Event Handling: There might be some event-driven macros (like Worksheet_Activate or Workbook_SheetActivate) that are overriding or interfering with the sheet activation.

It’s always a good idea to handle potential errors using error handling techniques like On Error Resume Next and On Error GoTo, especially when dealing with objects that might not always be present or available. This can provide more graceful feedback to users and help diagnose issues.

Select vs. Activate in VBA

Since we’re talking about activating worksheets using VBA, I think it’s important I also tell you the difference between the Select method and the Activate method in VBA.

While both of these methods may seem to be doing the same thing, here is the difference:

  • You can select more than one object (such as a sheet, range, or chart) using the Select method.
  • You can only activate one object using the Activate method.

Important Note: Most of the time, there is no need for you to activate a worksheet to do anything in it using VBA. Almost everything that you need to do can also be done without activating the worksheet. For example, if you want to enter values in a range, clear a range, apply filters, insert a chart, or anything else, you can do that without activating the sheet. Most of the times, activating a sheet is unnecessary, and sometimes even a bad idea.

What is VBA in Excel? Learn Excel VBA Programming!

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Hello there! I'm Sumit Bansal, founder of and an Excel MVP. I started this website in 2013 with a simple goal: to share my love for Excel through easy to follow tips, tutorials and videos. I'm here to help you get the best out of MS Excel to save time and boost your productivity.


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