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VBA Code To Determine If Outside Sheet References Exist In Cell Formulas

By Chris Newman •  Updated: 05/16/16 •  5 min read
VBA Code To Determine If Outside Sheet References Exist In Cell Formulas

What This VBA Macro Code Does

When you are trying to understand an unfamiliar workbook or Excel model, it can immensely help to know which tabs are feeding into the one you are currently viewing. This little macro will give you a message box indicating any outside worksheet references found in the cell formulas of the ActiveSheet. Enjoy!

Sub OutsideFormulaReferences()
'PURPOSE: Determine if any formulas reference other worksheets within the workbook
'SOURCE: www.TheSpreadsheetGuru.com/the-code-vault

Dim rng As Range
Dim RefFound As Range
Dim sht As Worksheet
Dim RefFoundArray As String
Dim x As Long

'Numbering variable for listing results
  x = 1

'Create range range with only cells containing formulas
  Set rng = ActiveSheet.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas)

'Loop through each worksheet in workbook to test for references
  For Each sht In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
    If sht.Name <> ActiveSheet.Name Then
      
      'Try to find sheet name reference in formulas
        If InStr(1, sht.Name, " ") = 0 Then
          Set RefFound = rng.Find(sht.Name & "!")
        Else
          Set RefFound = rng.Find("'" & sht.Name & "'!")
        End If
      
      'Is sheet name located in any formulas? If so, store Sheet Name
        If Not RefFound Is Nothing Then
          RefFoundResults = RefFoundResults & Format(x, "00") & ". " & sht.Name & vbCr
          x = x + 1
          Set RefFound = Nothing
        End If
        
    End If
  Next sht

'Report Results
  If RefFoundResults <> "" Then
    MsgBox "The following sheets are being referenced in formulas: " _
     & vbCr & vbCr & RefFoundResults, , "Outside Sheet Formula References"
  Else
    MsgBox "No formula references to other worksheets in this Excel file " & _
     "were found on this sheet", , "Outside Sheet Formula References"
  End If
    
End Sub

Using VBA Code Found On The Internet

Now that you’ve found some VBA code that could potentially solve your Excel automation problem, what do you do with it? If you don’t necessarily want to learn how to code VBA and are just looking for the fastest way to implement this code into your spreadsheet, I wrote an article (with video) that explains how to get the VBA code you’ve found running on your spreadsheet.

Getting Started Automating Excel

Are you new to VBA and not sure where to begin? Check out my quickstart guide to learning VBA. This article won’t overwhelm you with fancy coding jargon, as it provides you with a simplistic and straightforward approach to the basic things I wish I knew when trying to teach myself how to automate tasks in Excel with VBA Macros.

Also, if you haven’t checked out Excel’s latest automation feature called Power Query, I have put together a beginner’s guide for automating with Excel’s Power Query feature as well! This little-known built-in Excel feature allows you to merge and clean data automatically with little to no coding!

How Do I Modify This To Fit My Specific Needs?

Chances are this post did not give you the exact answer you were looking for. We all have different situations and it's impossible to account for every particular need one might have. That's why I want to share with you: My Guide to Getting the Solution to your Problems FAST! In this article, I explain the best strategies I have come up with over the years to get quick answers to complex problems in Excel, PowerPoint, VBA, you name it

I highly recommend that you check this guide out before asking me or anyone else in the comments section to solve your specific problem. I can guarantee that 9 times out of 10, one of my strategies will get you the answer(s) you are needing faster than it will take me to get back to you with a possible solution. I try my best to help everyone out, but sometimes I don't have time to fit everyone's questions in (there never seem to be quite enough hours in the day!).

I wish you the best of luck and I hope this tutorial gets you heading in the right direction!

Keep Learning

Chris Newman

Chris Newman

Chris is a finance professional and Excel MVP recognized by Microsoft since 2016. With his expertise, he founded TheSpreadsheetGuru blog to help fellow Excel users, where he shares his vast creative solutions & expertise. In addition, he has developed over 7 widely-used Excel Add-ins that have been embraced by individuals and companies worldwide.