In Office 2011 for the Mac there are many problems with the built-in VBA commands. For Example Dir, Kill, GetOpenFilename, GetSaveAsFileName and many others. For example, in Office 2011 file names in VBA are limited to a maximum of 32 characters including the extension. If the file name is longer the code fails.
VBA developers responded by using AppleScript in many situations to work around the problems. They also used AppleScript to do things that are not possible with VBA code; for example to email using VBA code, Excel 2011 and Outlook 2011.
In Office 2016, we need to use a new method and a new approach explained below.
In Office 2011 we use the built-in
MacScript function to run a script that we build
as a string in the
VBA code. See the code example below.
See the code example below.
Copy the test macro and the function below into a normal module of your workbook. Change the file path and name in the macro TestMacro to point to a file on your Mac to test.
Sub TestMacro() Dim FileName As String FileName = "Macintosh HD:Users:RDB:Desktop:MacTestFile.xlsm" MsgBox FileExistsOnMac(FileName) End Sub Function FileExistsOnMac(Filestr As String) As Boolean Dim ScriptToCheckFile As String ScriptToCheckFile = "tell application " & Chr(34) & "System Events" & Chr(34) & _ " to return (exists disk item " & Chr(34) & Filestr & Chr(34) & ") and class of disk item " & _ Chr(34) & Filestr & Chr(34) & " = file " FileExistsOnMac = MacScript(ScriptToCheckFile) End Function
When you run the macro named TestMacro it will test if the file :
exists on your Mac and display a msgbox showing True or False
Note: You can also use :
FileName = "/Users/RDB/Desktop/MacTestFile.xlsm"
Note: You can also use : FileName = "/Users/RDB/Desktop/MacTestFile.xlsm"
If you test the code that is working correctly in Excel 2011, in Excel 2016 it gives a run-time error 5; but if you test the script string that the VBA code created in the Script Editor, the script works correctly.
The legacy "MacScript" VB Command is severely limited by Apple’s sandbox requirements: it will not work correctly in most situations in Office 2016. Updating the MacScript function seems to be too difficult.
Instead, Microsoft added a new VB command "AppleScriptTask" that accesses and runs an AppleScript file located outside the sandboxed app. This new approach is not as convenient: with the MacScript function you could have the script in the file itself, while with the AppleScriptTask method you need to distribute an extra file containing the script, and it must be placed in the specified location on the user’s system to have permission to run. This requires some user interaction the first time.
First we open the Script Editor on your Mac.
Tip: Right click on the Script Editor icon in the dock and choose Options>Keep in Dock so it is easy the next time to open it when you need it.
The script you want the VBA code to run looks like this now in the script editor:
tell application "System Events" to return (exists disk item "Macintosh HD:Users:RDB:Desktop:MacTestFile.xlsm") and class of disk item "Macintosh HD:Users:RDB:Desktop:MacTestFile.xlsm" = file
When your script works correctly in the script editor you have proved that nothing is wrong with the script. Now we go to step 2 to make the script ready for using it with AppleScriptTask.
Replace the script in the Script Editor with the script below.
on ExistsFile(filePath) --check if file exists and type is file tell application "System Events" to return (exists disk item filePath) and class of disk item filePath = file end ExistsFile
And for testing only we copy this line at the top
You can use this line instead if you want to use the colon separator
So it looks like this :
You see that I placed the code inside a handler named ExistsFile which takes a parameter string of filepath. The name of the handler and parameter string is your choice. You see also in the script line that I replaced both path/file name strings with the variable filepath. This works the same as in the VBA code example for Excel 2011 where we have a string named FileName, which we created in the macro.
Before we try to run the script with AppleScriptTask in VBA we first test the handler inside the Script Editor. The first line in the script is there only for testing.
Press the Run button, and the script test if the file exists on your Mac. The line above the ExistsFile handler provides the filename string to the ExistsFile handler, to enable you to test the script before we take the next step of calling it from VBA.
Before we go to the next step remove the script line above the handler or make it a comment, so the script does not use it. You do this by adding two hyphens before the line so it looks like this:
Click on the Run button and you see that nothing happens, because the handler has no filename string to test. But it test and indents the changes in the script. It is important before you close a file after you make changes to press the Run button.
Close the script file now and you will notice that it has automatically saved your changes.
Now the script file is ready and tested we must copy it into the correct location. Follow the steps below to copy and paste it into this exact location.
Note : If you have add one or both folders and have problems with the code on this page reboot your Mac first and test it again.
Note: If you want to use the example in Word you must add/use the com.microsoft.Word folder, each Office app have its own folder. Unfortunately there is no folder for all Office programs.
This are three ways to easily open the com.microsoft.Excel folder manual :
Note : Adding the folder to your Favorites is my favorite because you see the folder in your open and save dialogs in Excel.
When you use AppleScriptTask the third argument is a parameter string that you use to give information to the handler. In the example on this page this must be the file path and name of the file that we want to test for.
This is the code line that you use in your VBA code: You see that there are three arguments:
RunMyScript = AppleScriptTask("MyFileTest.scpt", "ExistsFile", "/Users/RDB/Desktop/MacTestFile.xlsm")
So your VBA macro now looks like this :
Sub TestFile() Dim RunMyScript As Boolean Dim FilePathName As String FilePathName = "/Users/rondebruin/Desktop/MacTestFile.xlsm" RunMyScript = AppleScriptTask("MyFileTest.scpt", "ExistsFile", FilePathName) If RunMyScript = True Then MsgBox "File exists" Else MsgBox "File not exists" End If End Sub
You can also add code to your workbook that check if the scpt file is in the correct location, copy the function below in the same module as your macro :
Function CheckAppleScriptTaskExcelScriptFile(ScriptFileName As String) As Boolean 'Function to Check if the AppleScriptTask script file exists 'Ron de Bruin : 6-March-2016 Dim AppleScriptTaskFolder As String Dim TestStr As String AppleScriptTaskFolder = MacScript("return POSIX path of (path to desktop folder) as string") AppleScriptTaskFolder = Replace(AppleScriptTaskFolder, "/Desktop", "") & _ "Library/Application Scripts/com.microsoft.Excel/" On Error Resume Next TestStr = Dir(AppleScriptTaskFolder & ScriptFileName, vbDirectory) On Error GoTo 0 If TestStr = vbNullString Then CheckAppleScriptTaskExcelScriptFile = False Else CheckAppleScriptTaskExcelScriptFile = True End If End Function
You can add this to your macro to stop it when the scpt file is not in the correct location
'Check for AppleScriptTask script file If CheckAppleScriptTaskExcelScriptFile(ScriptFileName:="MyFileTest.scpt") = False Then MsgBox "Sorry the MyFileTest.scpt is not in the correct location" Exit Sub End If
You can have more than one handler in the scriptfile; in the screenshot below I have also added a handler to test whether a nominated folder exists on your Mac.
Calling the folder test in VBA looks like this:
RunMyScript = AppleScriptTask("MyFileTest.scpt", "ExistsFolder", "/Users/RDB/Desktop/YourFolder/")
AppleScriptTask can accept only one parameter string, but I found a workaround. See my Mail example codes for 2016 if you want to know how to do this : http://www.rondebruin.nl/mac/mail.htm
It is possible to create or update scpt files only with VBA code, but before you can do this you must do some things manual first because Apple not allow you to create the path with VBA code. See point 3 above how to create the path below.
Then copy the MakeSCPTFile.scpt file from the download above inside the com.microsoft.Excel folder.
You must do this only one time and after that you can do everything with VBA code.
Copy the excel workbook on your desktop and test the code and see if it create a new scpt file inside the com.microsoft.Excel folder for you, you see that you create the script also in the VBA macro. If you change the string in the macro and run the code again it will overwrite the existing scpt file, this way you can update the scpt file.