ThreeWave Sorting And Ordering Worksheets In A Workbook

This page describes VBA procedures you can use to sort or order worksheets within a workbook.
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Introduction

Excel does not provide a mechanism or command to sort or otherwise order worksheets within a workbook. This article provides a number of VBA functions that you can use to sort or reorder worksheets. With these functions, you can

  • Sort some or all worksheet by name, in either ascending or descending order.
  • Order the worksheets by the names provided in an array.
  • Order the worksheets in either ascending or descending order based on a cell reference in each worksheet.
  • Group worksheet by tab color (Excel 2002 and later only).
  • Order worksheets based on sheet names in a range of cells.
The functions are presented below. You can download a a bas module file containing all the code on this page. The code on this page consists of functions that take parameters to control their behavior. You should create procedures that prompt the user for the worksheet names to sort and then call the procedures on this page from those procedures.

SectionBreak

Sorting By Name

This function allows you to sort some or all worksheets based on their names, in either ascending or descending order. You also have the option of specifying whether to sort numeric sheet names as numbers or as text. For example, the following are numeric sheet names sorted as text: 11, 115, 22. Sorted as numeric, the order would be 11, 22,115. If you omit the Numeric parameter, it is treated as False and the sort will use a text value sort rather than numeric value sort. If this parameter is True, all of the sheets that are to be sorted must have a numeric name. Otherwise, the function will quit with a result of False. The function declaration is:

Public Function SortWorksheetsByName(ByVal FirstToSort As Long, ByVal LastToSort As Long, _
    ByRef ErrorText As String, Optional ByVal SortDescending As Boolean = False) As Boolean

FirstToSort is the index (position) of the first worksheet to sort.

LastToSort is the index (position) of the laset worksheet to sort. If either both FirstToSort and LastToSort are less than or equal to 0, all sheets in the workbook are sorted.

ErrorText is a variable that will receive the text description of any error that may occur.

SortDescending is an optional parameter to indicate that the sheets should be sorted in descending order. If True, the sort is in descending order. If omitted or False, the sort is in ascending order.

The function returns True if successful. If an error occurs, the function returns False and the variable ErrorText is set to the text of the error message.

The code for SortWorksheetsByName is shown below.

Public Function SortWorksheetsByName(ByVal FirstToSort As Long, _
                            ByVal LastToSort As Long, _
                            ByRef ErrorText As String, _
                            Optional ByVal SortDescending As Boolean = False, _
                            Optional ByVal Numeric As Boolean = False) As Boolean
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' SortWorksheetsByName
' This sorts the worskheets from FirstToSort to LastToSort by name
' in either ascending (default) or descending order. If successful,
' ErrorText is vbNullString and the function returns True. If
' unsuccessful, ErrorText gets the reason why the function failed
' and the function returns False. If you include the Numeric
' parameter and it is True, (1) all sheet names to be sorted
' must be numeric, and (2) the sort compares names as numbers, not
' text.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
Dim M As Long
Dim N As Long
Dim WB As Workbook
Dim B As Boolean

Set WB = Worksheets.Parent
ErrorText = vbNullString

If WB.ProtectStructure = True Then
    ErrorText = "Workbook is protected."
    SortWorksheetsByName = False
End If
    
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' If First and Last are both 0, sort all sheets.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
If (FirstToSort = 0) And (LastToSort = 0) Then
    FirstToSort = 1
    LastToSort = WB.Worksheets.Count
Else
    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    ' More than one sheet selected. We
    ' can sort only if the selected
    ' sheet are adjacent.
    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    B = TestFirstLastSort(FirstToSort, LastToSort, ErrorText)
    If B = False Then
        SortWorksheetsByName = False
        Exit Function
    End If
End If

If Numeric = True Then
    For N = FirstToSort To LastToSort
        If IsNumeric(WB.Worksheets(N).Name) = False Then
            ' can't sort non-numeric names
            ErrorText = "Not all sheets to sort have numeric names."
            SortWorksheetsByName = False
            Exit Function
        End If
    Next N
End If

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' Do the sort, essentially a Bubble Sort.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
For M = FirstToSort To LastToSort
    For N = M To LastToSort
        If SortDescending = True Then
            If Numeric = False Then
                If StrComp(WB.Worksheets(N).Name, WB.Worksheets(M).Name, vbTextCompare) > 0 Then
                    WB.Worksheets(N).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(M)
                End If
            Else
                If CLng(WB.Worksheets(N).Name) > CLng(WB.Worksheets(M).Name) Then
                    WB.Worksheets(N).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(M)
                End If
            End If
        Else
            If Numeric = False Then
                If StrComp(WB.Worksheets(N).Name, WB.Worksheets(M).Name, vbTextCompare) < 0 Then
                    WB.Worksheets(N).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(M)
                End If
            Else
                If CLng(WB.Worksheets(N).Name) < CLng(WB.Worksheets(M).Name) Then
                    WB.Worksheets(N).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(M)
                End If
            End If
        End If
    Next N
Next M

SortWorksheetsByName = True

End Function

SectionBreak

SortWorksheetsByNameArray

The SortWorksheetByNameArray function sorts the worksheets in the order of the names passed as n array. While the individual elements of the array need not refer to adjacent worksheets, the worksheets, taken as a group, named by the values in the arrray, must be adjacent. You cannot sort non-adjacent sheets. The function returns True if successful or False if an error occurred. If an error occurred, the variable ErrorText will contain the text of the error message.

The declaration of SortWorksheetsByNameArray declaration is shown below:

Public Function SortWorksheetsByNameArray(NameArray() As Variant, ByRef ErrorText As String) As Boolean

NameArray is an array containing the worksheet names in the order that they should be ordered.

The code for SortWorksheetsByNameArray is shown below:

Public Function SortWorksheetsByNameArray(NameArray() As Variant, ByRef ErrorText As String) As Boolean
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' WorksheetSortByArray
' This procedure sorts the worksheets named in NameArray to the order in
' which they appear in NameArray. The adjacent elements in NameArray need
' not be adjacent sheets, but the collection of all sheets named in
' NameArray must form a set of adjacent sheets. If successful, returns
' True and ErrorText is vbNullString. If failure, returns False and
' ErrorText contains reason for failure.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
Dim Arr() As Long
Dim N As Long
Dim M As Long
Dim L As Long
Dim WB As Workbook

ErrorText = vbNullString

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' The NameArray need not contain all of the
' worksheets in the workbook, but the sheets
' that it does name together must form a group of
' adjacent sheets. Sheets named in NameArray
' need not be adjacent in the NameArray, only
' that when all sheet taken together, they form an
' adjacent group of sheets
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
ReDim Arr(LBound(NameArray) To UBound(NameArray))
On Error Resume Next
For N = LBound(NameArray) To UBound(NameArray)
    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    ' Ensure all sheets in name array exist
    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Err.Clear
    M = Len(WB.Worksheets(NameArray(N)).Name)
    If Err.Number <> 0 Then
        ErrorText = "Worksheet does not exist."
        SortWorksheetsByNameArray = False
        Exit Function
    End If
    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    ' Put the index value of the sheet into Arr. Ensure there
    ' are no duplicates. If Arr(N) is not zero, we've already
    ' loaded that element of Arr and thus have duplicate sheet
    ' names.
    '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    If Arr(N) > 0 Then
        ErrorText = "Duplicate worksheet name in NameArray."
        SortWorksheetsByNameArray = False
        Exit Function
    End If
        
    Arr(N) = Worksheets(NameArray(N)).Index
Next N

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' Sort the sheet indexes. We don't use
' these for the sorting order, but we
' do use them to ensure that the group
' of sheets passed in NameArray are
' together contiguous.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
For M = LBound(Arr) To UBound(Arr)
    For N = M To UBound(Arr)
        If Arr(N) < Arr(M) Then
            L = Arr(N)
            Arr(N) = Arr(M)
            Arr(M) = L
        End If
    Next N
Next M
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' Now that Arr is sorted ascending, ensure
' that the elements are in order differing
' by exactly 1. Otherwise, sheet are not
' adjacent.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
If ArrayElementsInOrder(Arr:=Arr, Descending:=False, Diff:=1) = False Then
    ErrorText = "Specified sheets are not adjacent."
    SortWorksheetsByNameArray = False
    Exit Function
End If

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' Now, do the actual move of the sheets.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
On Error GoTo 0
WB.Worksheets(NameArray(LBound(NameArray))).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(Arr(1))
For N = LBound(NameArray) + 1 To UBound(NameArray) - 1
    WB.Worksheets(NameArray(N)).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(NameArray(N + 1))
Next N

SortWorksheetsByNameArray = True

End Function

SectionBreak

GroupSheetsByColor

The GroupSheetsByColor function groups sheets by their tab color (available only in Excel 2002 and later). You specify in an array the colors and the order in which those colors should appear. The sheets are grouped according to those color indicators. The color indicators are the ColorIndex values, not actual RGB colors. The declaration for GroupSheetsByColor is shown below:

Public Function GroupSheetsByColor(ByVal FirstToSort As Long, ByVal LastToSort As Long, _ ByRef ErrorText As String, ColorArray() As Long) As Boolean
FirstToSort is the index (position) number of the first sheet to sort.

LastToSort is the index (position) number of the last sheet to sort. If both FirstToSort and LastSheetToSort are less than or equal to 0, all sheets are sorted.

ErrorText is a variable that will contain the error message if an error occurs.

ColorArray is an array of longs indicating the colors and order in which the sheets should be grouped.

The code is shown below:

Public Function GroupSheetsByColor(ByVal FirstToSort As Long, ByVal LastToSort As Long, _
    ByRef ErrorText As String, ColorArray() As Long) As Boolean
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' GroupSheetsByColor
' This groups worksheets by color. The order of the colors
' to group by must be the ColorIndex values stored in
' ColorsArray.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Dim WB As Workbook
Dim B As Boolean
Dim N1 As Long
Dim N2 As Long
Dim N3 As Long
Dim CI1 As Long
Dim CI2 As Long
Dim CArray As Variant

Dim CNdx1 As Long
Dim Cndx2 As Long

Const MIN_COLOR_INDEX = 1
Const MAX_COLOR_INDEX = 56


If IsArrayAllocated(ColorArray) = False Then
    ErrorText = "ColorArray is not a valid, allocated array."
    GroupSheetsByColor = False
    Exit Function
End If


Set WB = Worksheets.Parent
ErrorText = vbNullString


''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' Setup ColorIndex array
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
If IsMissing(ColorArray) = False Then
    If IsArray(ColorArray) = False Then
        ErrorText = "ColorArray is not an array"
        GroupSheetsByColor = False
        Exit Function
    End If
Else
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    ' Ensure all color indexes are valid.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    For N1 = LBound(ColorArray) To UBound(ColorArray)
        If (ColorArray(N1) > MAX_COLOR_INDEX) Or (ColorArray(N1) < MIN_COLOR_INDEX) Then
            ErrorText = "Invalid ColorIndex in ColorArray"
            GroupSheetsByColor = False
            Exit Function
        End If
    Next N1
End If

Set WB = Worksheets.Parent

ErrorText = vbNullString

If (FirstToSort <= 0) And (LastToSort <= 0) Then
    FirstToSort = 1
    LastToSort = WB.Worksheets.Count
End If

B = TestFirstLastSort(FirstToSort, LastToSort, ErrorText)
If B = False Then
    GroupSheetsByColor = False
    Exit Function
End If

For N1 = FirstToSort To LastToSort
    If WB.Worksheets(N1).Tab.ColorIndex = ColorArray(LBound(ColorArray)) Then
        WB.Worksheets(N1).Move before:=WB.Worksheets(1)
        Exit For
    End If
Next N1
N3 = 1
For N2 = LBound(ColorArray) To UBound(ColorArray)
    For N1 = 2 To LastToSort
        If WB.Worksheets(N1).Tab.ColorIndex = ColorArray(N2) Then
            WB.Worksheets(N1).Move after:=WB.Worksheets(N3)
            N3 = N3 + 1
        End If
        
    Next N1
Next N2

GroupSheetsByColor = True

End Function

SectionBreak

Support Functions

The following functions are used by the primary functions on this page.

Private Function ArrayElementsInOrder(Arr As Variant, _
    Optional Descending As Boolean = False, _
    Optional Diff As Integer = 0) As Boolean
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' ArrayElementsInOrder
' This function tests an array of integers (Long or Int) to determine
' if they are in order, in ascending or descending sort order, and
' optionally if they all differ by exactly Diff. Diff is the absolute
' value between two adjacent elements. Do not use a negative number
' for a descending sort; Diff should always be greater than 0 to test
' the differences or 0 to ignore differences. The default behavior
' is to test whether the elements are in ascending order with any
' difference between them. Set the Descending and/or Diff parameters
' to change this.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
Dim N As Long
For N = LBound(Arr) To UBound(Arr) - 1
    If Descending = False Then
        If Diff > 0 Then
            If Arr(N) <> Arr(N + 1) - Diff Then
                ArrayElementsInOrder = False
                Exit Function
            End If
        Else
            If Arr(N) > Arr(N + 1) Then
                ArrayElementsInOrder = False
                Exit Function
            End If
        End If
    Else
        If Diff > 0 Then
            If Arr(N) <> Arr(N + 1) + Diff Then
                ArrayElementsInOrder = False
                Exit Function
            End If
        Else
            If Arr(N) < Arr(N + 1) Then
                ArrayElementsInOrder = False
                Exit Function
            End If
        End If
    End If
Next N
ArrayElementsInOrder = True
End Function



Private Function TestFirstLastSort(FirstToSort As Long, LastToSort As Long, _
    ByRef ErrorText As String) As Boolean
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' TestFirstLastSort
' This ensures FirstToSort and LastToSort are valid values. If successful,
' returns True and sets ErrorText to vbNullString. If unsuccessful, returns
' False and set ErrorText to the reason for failure.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
ErrorText = vbNullString
If FirstToSort <= 0 Then
    TestFirstLastSort = False
    ErrorText = "FirstToSort is less than or equal to 0."
    Exit Function
End If

If FirstToSort > Worksheets.Count Then
    TestFirstLastSort = False
    ErrorText = "FirstToSort is greater than number of sheets."
    Exit Function
End If

If LastToSort <= 0 Then
    TestFirstLastSort = False
    ErrorText = "LastToSort is less than or equal to 0."
    Exit Function
End If

If LastToSort > Worksheets.Count Then
    TestFirstLastSort = False
    ErrorText = "LastToSort greater than number of sheets."
    Exit Function
End If

If FirstToSort > LastToSort Then
    TestFirstLastSort = False
    ErrorText = "FirstToSort is greater than LastToSort."
    Exit Function
End If
    
TestFirstLastSort = True

End Function


Private Function IsArrayAllocated(Arr As Variant) As Boolean
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' IsArrayAllocated
' Returns True or False indicating if Arr is an allocated
' array.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    On Error Resume Next
    Dim V As Variant
    IsArrayAllocated = True
    V = Arr(LBound(Arr, 1))
    If IsError(V) = True Then
        IsArrayAllocated = False
    End If
    If (UBound(Arr, 1) < LBound(Arr, 1)) Then
        IsArrayAllocated = False
    End If
    
End Function

Private Function SheetExists(WSName As String, Optional WB As Workbook = Nothing) As Boolean
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
' SheetExists
' Returns True if worksheet named by WSName exists in
' Workbook WB. If WB is omitted,
' the ActiveWorkbook is used.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
On Error Resume Next
SheetExists = IsError(IIf(WB Is Nothing, ActiveWorkbook, WB).Worksheets(WSName)) = False

End Function

You can download a a bas module file containing all the code on this page.

This page last updated: 22-September-2007