Thursday, February 18, 2010

Using Excel VBA to Open and Autofill Web Pages

This post is more about manipulating web pages than creating them.

My employer had a 2007 excel spreadsheet that they used to track several hundred projects. They would open a browser then copy/paste the information into a modified Google map. My boss asked me if there was a way I could automate this process.

I found parts to the solution here and there. I hope this will help someone else. It was a fun challenge and led to other similiar projects. Please remember, I am not a professional programmer so feel free to add better suggestions to comments.

Since the actual project cannot be duplicated here let’s just say we have a spreadsheet with a customer’s Name, Address, City, State and Zip. We want to send that information to Google and see the map.

Click here to download the example created in 2007 and saved as xls:

First thing I will need is a button. Switching over to the developer tab I add an active X button and call it GetMap. Adding it above the header, which can be froze, will let the button be available always.

Next I need to add a reference to Microsoft’s web browser to the excel spreadsheet. In the visual basic editor, go to Tools References and add Microsoft Internet Controls.

Now it is time to start coding.
Option Explicit

Public ie As Object

Public strAddress As String 'Builds the address to send to Google

'The following line will let the code sleep while waiting for the page to load
Private Declare Sub Sleep Lib "kernel32.dll" (ByVal dwMilliseconds As Long)
'When working in excel the browser will stay in the background. This will bring the browser to the top
Private Declare Function BringWindowToTop Lib "user32" (ByVal hwnd As Long) As Long

Private Sub GetMap_Click()

'There is a bug/feature with Excel that when the IE window closes the ie object still has a reference.
'Normally you would check for the IE window to close and then set the reference to nothing.
'Web Control does not have an on_quit event. So you have to trap by error.
On Error GoTo ErrHandle:

Dim strCursorLocation As String 'The location of the cursor when the button was clicked
Dim strRow As String 'Will hold the row number
Dim i As Integer

strCursorLocation = ActiveCell.Address(False, False) 'Get the current cursor location
strRow = ""

'Remove letters from strCursorLocation
For i = 1 To Len(strCursorLocation)

If IsNumeric(Mid(strCursorLocation, i, 1)) Then

strRow = strRow & Mid(strCursorLocation, i, 1)

End If

Next i

'Build the address by adding columns B thru E
strAddress = Range("B" + strRow).Value + " "
strAddress = strAddress + Range("C" + strRow).Value + " "
strAddress = strAddress + Range("D" + strRow).Value + " "
strAddress = strAddress + Range("E" + strRow).Value + " "

'Check to see if an IE window has been opened
If ie Is Nothing Then

Call OpenGoogle

End If

'Bring IE to top. Does not bring to top 100 percent of the time.
If Not ie Is Nothing Then

BringWindowToTop (ie.hwnd)

End If

Call EnterAddress

Exit Sub


'Reopen IE window if it was closed
If Err.Number = -2147417848 Or Err.Number = 462 Then

Call OpenGoogle


'Something else has happened
MsgBox "Error: " + CStr(Err.Number) + " " + Err.Description, vbCritical

End If

End Sub

Private Sub OpenGoogle()

'Create IE Window
Set ie = CreateObject("Internetexplorer.Application")
'Show IE Window
ie.Visible = True
'Navigate to the google map page
ie.Navigate ""

'Wait for the page to load
Do While ie.Busy = True

Sleep 500


End Sub

Private Sub EnterAddress()

'Check to see if map page was navigated away from
If ie.document.URL <> "" Then

'Reload map page
ie.Navigate ""

'Wait for the page to load
Do While ie.Busy = True

Sleep 500


End If

With ie

.document.all("q_d").Value = strAddress 'enter the address
.document.all("q-sub").Click 'click the search button

End With

End Sub


  1. Dear,
    Thank you very much for coding...
    Its awesome...
    The only difficulty is its running with 1-9 rows only.. how can we increase ... please advise.....

    Thank you Genius..

  2. Thank you Bala,

    The problem is I wasn't thinking straight on the "right" statement. There is a couple of ways to fix this. I just used a for/next loop to remove any characters from strCursorLocation so that all we are left with is a row number. I corrected it in the code above and the zip file.

    Hope that helps.