Passed Strings Longer Than 255 Characters Are Truncated

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In Microsoft Excel, if you use a Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications procedure to pass a string that is greater than 255 characters in length to an object, such as a text box, Microsoft Excel may truncate the string to 255 characters or may fail to enter the string in the text box.

This behavior also commonly occurs when you attempt to pass more than 255 characters to the Connection or SourceData argument of the PivotTableWizard. When you attempt to do this, you receive the following error message:
Run-time error '1004': PivotTableWizard method of worksheet class failed
NOTE: This behavior affects other Microsoft Excel objects.


In Microsoft Excel 7.0 or earlier, this behavior occurs because the character limit per cell is 255 characters. As a result, strings greater than 255 characters in length that are passed from a Visual Basic procedure to any Microsoft Excel function or object are truncated to 255 characters.

In Microsoft Excel 97 for Windows and Microsoft Excel 98 Macintosh Edition, you can use more than 255 characters in a cell; however, when you pass strings that are greater than 255 characters in length from a Visual Basic procedure, Microsoft Excel 97 uses the same design that earlier versions of Microsoft Excel use.

This limit applies to all strings that you pass from a Visual Basic procedure to a Microsoft Excel sheet; it is not exclusive to information you pass to cells. For example, if you pass a text string that is longer than 255 characters to a text box on a worksheet or a dialog sheet, Microsoft Excel truncates the text even though a text box can hold up to 10,240 characters.


Microsoft provides programming examples for illustration only, without warranty either expressed or implied. This includes, but is not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This article assumes that you are familiar with the programming language that is being demonstrated and with the tools that are used to create and to debug procedures. Microsoft support engineers can help explain the functionality of a particular procedure, but they will not modify these examples to provide added functionality or construct procedures to meet your specific requirements. To insert more than 255 characters in a text box, use the Characters property to insert multiple string variables. The following sample macros use the Characters property to do this. Note that the third example is for use with Microsoft Excel 97 for Windows.

To pass more than 255 characters to the Connection or SourceData arguments, convert the long string to an array. To see a sample macro that uses a user-defined function, see Example 4.

Example 1

In the following example, the character length of each variable is 100. Each Insert method inserts another string at the position at the end of the previous string.
   Sub NoLoop()
      Dim var1 as String, var2 as String, var3 as String
      Dim first As Integer, secnd As Integer, third As Integer
      ' Note that each of the strings in quotation marks should be entered
      ' on one line.
      var1 = _
      var2 = _
      var3 = _
      var4 = _

      ' The character length of each variable string is 100 characters.
      ' Define the variable equal to length of the first string.
      first = Len(var1) + 1
      ' Define variables equal to length of the original string plus
      ' the length of each additional string.
      secnd = first + Len(var2)
      third = secnd + Len(var3)

      ' Insert first string into text box
      DialogSheets(1).TextBoxes(1).Characters.Insert String:=var1
      ' Insert second string at the location of the end of the first
      ' string.
      DialogSheets(1).TextBoxes(1).Characters(first).Insert String:=var2
      ' Insert third string at the location of the end of the second string
      ' and so on.
      DialogSheets(1).TextBoxes(1).Characters(secnd).Insert String:=var3
      DialogSheets(1).TextBoxes(1).Characters(third).Insert String:=var4
   End Sub

Example 2

   Sub Looper()
      Dim i as Integer
      Dim mytxt As String
      ' Assign mytxt variable to the desired string.
      ' String should be entered as one line.
      mytxt = "This is the desired string longer than 255 characters."
      With DialogSheets(1).TextBoxes(1)
         ' Initialize text in text box.
         .Text = ""
         For i = 0 To Int(Len(mytxt) / 255)
         .Characters(.Characters.Count + 1).Insert Mid(mytxt, (i * 255) + _
            1, 255)
      End With
   End Sub

Example 3

In the following example, each statement adds 200 "X" characters to the text box. This is very similar to the first example but uses syntax that is specific to Microsoft Excel 97 for Windows.
   Sub Excel97()

      ActiveSheet.Shapes("Text Box 2").Select
      Selection.Characters.Text = _

      Selection.Characters(201).Insert String:= _

   End Sub

Example 4: Converting Text to an Array for PivotTableWizard

This example creates a PivotTable from a Microsoft Access database. The value for the Connection argument is converted to an array using the StringToArray function because the string is greater than 255 characters.

   Sub ExecuteLongConnection()
       'Declare variables.
       Dim Chan As Variant
       Dim LongConnection As Variant
       Dim NumRows, NumCols As Variant
       ' Set LongConnection to a long connection string
       ' (> 127 characters).
       LongConnection = "ODBC;DBQ=\\mustang2\databases\nwind.mdb;" _
          & "DefaultDir=\\mustang2\databases;Driver={Microsoft " _
          & "Access Driver (*.mdb)};DriverId=25;FIL=MS Access;" _
          & "ImplicitCommitSync=Yes;MaxBufferSize=512;MaxScanRows=8;" _
          & "PageTimeout=5;SafeTransactions=0;Threads=3;UID=admin;" _
          & "UserCommitSync=Yes"
       ' Execute the PivotTableWizard method and use the StringToArray
       ' function to convert the long string to elements in an array.
       ActiveSheet.PivotTableWizard SourceType:=xlExternal, SourceData:= _
              Array("SELECT Employees.EmployeeID, Employees.Region," _
              & "Employees.Country FROM `\\mustang2\databases\NWIND`" _
              & ".Employees Employees"), _
              TableDestination:="", TableName:="PivotTable1", _
              BackgroundQuery:=False, _
   End Sub
   'NOTE: You can add your own code to add fields to the pivot table.     


   Function StringToArray(Query As Variant) As Variant

      Const StrLen = 127 ' Set the maximum string length for
                         ' each element in the array to return
                         ' to 127 characters.
      Dim NumElems As Integer
      Dim Temp() As String

      ' Divide the length of the string Query by StrLen and
      ' add 1 to determine how many elements the String array
      ' Temp should contain, and redimension the Temp array to
      ' contain this number of elements.

      NumElems = (Len(Query) / StrLen) + 1
      ReDim Temp(1 To NumElems) As String

      ' Build the Temp array by sequentially extracting 127
      ' segments of the Query string into each element of the
      ' Temp array.

      For i = 1 To NumElems
         Temp(i) = Mid(Query, ((i - 1) * StrLen) + 1, StrLen)
      Next i

      ' Set the function StringToArray to the Temp array so it
      ' can be returned to the calling procedure.

      StringToArray = Temp

   End Function


Using Visual Basic for Applications is an improvement over using the Microsoft Excel 4.0 macro language because you can use Visual Basic procedures for parsing, reading, and writing from a file up to 64 kilobytes (KB) in size. When you use strings in a Visual Basic procedure, you are not limited to 255 characters; if you are using Microsoft Windows version 3.1, you can use strings up to 64 KB.


"User's Guide," version 5.0, page 113

For additional information about getting help with Visual Basic for Applications, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
163435 VBA: Programming Resources for Visual Basic for Applications


Article ID: 105416 - Last Review: October 11, 2006 - Revision: 2.2
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 98 for Macintosh
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This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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