In Microsoft Excel you can avoid circular references when you create a running total by storing the result in a non-calculating part of a worksheet. This article contains a sample Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications procedure that does this by storing a running total in a cell comment.
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To Create a Running Total in a Cell
- Open a new workbook in Microsoft Excel.
- Start the Visual Basic Editor (press ALT+F11).
- On the Insert menu, click Module.
- Type the following macros into this module:
' The Auto_Open name forces this macro to run every time
' the workbook containing this macro is opened.
' Every time a cell's value is changed,
' the RunningTotal macro runs.
Application.OnEntry = "RunningTotal"
' This macro runs each time the value of a cell changes.
' It adds the current value of the cell to the value of the
' cell comment. Then it stores the new total in the cell comment.
On Error GoTo errorhandler ' Skip cells that have no comment.
' Checks to see if the cell is a running total by
' checking to see if the first 4 characters of the cell
' comment are "RT= ". NOTE: there is a space after the equal
If Left(.Comment.Text, 4) = "RT= " Then
' Change the cell's value to the new value in the cell
' plus the old total stored in the cell comment.
RT = .Value + Right(.Comment.Text, Len(.Comment.Text) - 4)
.Value = RT
' Store the new total in the cell note.
.Comment.Text Text:="RT= " & RT
Exit Sub ' Skip over the errorhandler routine.
errorhandler: ' End the procedure if no comment in the cell.
' This macro sets up a cell to be a running total cell.
' Set comment to indicate that a running total is present.
' If the ActiveCell is empty, multiplying by 1 will
' return a 0.
.Comment.Text Text:="RT= " & (ActiveCell * 1)
- After typing the macros, click Close and Return to Microsoft Excel on the File menu.
- Save and close your the workbook, and then re-open it.
The Auto_Open macro that you typed is run when you open the workbook.
- Select cell C3.
This is the cell that will contain a comment with the running total.
- Follow these steps to run the SetComment macro:
- On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Macros.
- In the Macro dialog box, click SetComment, and then click Run.
An Example of Using the Running TotalTo use the running total, follow these steps:
- Type the number 10 in cell C3.
- Select cell C3 and notice the comment displays "RT= 10" (without the quotation marks).
- Type the number 7 in cell C3.
- Select cell C3 and notice the comment displays "RT= 17" (without the quotation marks).
To Remove the Running TotalTo remove the running total, follow these steps:
- Select the cell that contains the running total that you want removed.
- Right-click the cell and click Delete Comment on the shortcut menu.
Article ID: 213445 - Last Review: Jan 17, 2007 - Revision: 1