Numbering VBA Lines: A Comedy of Errors

Numbering VBA Lines: A Comedy of Errors

Greetings, code wranglers of the universe!

Have you ever been elbow-deep in a VBA macro, only to be slapped by a compile error that makes as much sense as a pineapple pizza debate? (Don’t @ me, pineapple-on-pizza fans!) Well, fear not, for I bring you a story of hope, Pythonic magic, and… a dash of drama!

Let’s set the scene: It’s a cloudy Tuesday, and you’re staring at your VBA code, fresh off the coding vine. But then—bam!—an error pops up, rudely interrupting your peaceful coding session. What you wouldn’t give for a concise line number telling you where that pesky bug lurked!

“Ah,” you think, “if only VBA had Python’s traceback!”. Enter Visual Studio Code (VSCode), your knight in shining armor, and Python, the loyal squire.

Why Number VBA Lines?

In a world where most modern languages helpfully tell you where your code bombed, VBA takes a retro approach. It chucks an error at you and expects you to hunt down its origin. Think of it as a twisted game of “Where’s Waldo?”, but Waldo is a misplaced underscore.

Incorporating line numbers into your VBA code can make debugging a more palatable experience. The Erl function in VBA can fetch the line number of an error, but it relies on—you guessed it—having line numbers in your code.

You can use something alone these “lines” to show the pesky critter:

     MsgBox "Error occurred on line " & Erl & ": " & Err.Description

But hand-numbering each line? Pfft, who has time for that? Let’s automate the process!

The Pythonic Solution with VSCode

Using Python, we conjure up a script that generously bestows line numbers upon your VBA code. It’s smart enough to dodge comment lines, continuation lines, and those shy blank lines.

Here’s the golden script:

def should_add_line_number(line, prev_line=""):
    """Determine if a line number should be added to the line."""
    stripped = line.strip().lower()

    # Avoid line numbering for blank lines, comments, labels, continuation lines, and case statements.
    if (not stripped or stripped.startswith("'") or stripped.endswith(":") or
        stripped.startswith("case") or stripped.startswith("end select")):
        return False

    # Avoid line numbering if the previous line was a continuation line.
    if prev_line.strip().endswith("_"):
        return False

    # Avoid line numbering for declarations.
    declarations = ["dim ", "private ", "public ", "sub ", "function ", "end sub", "end function"]
    for decl in declarations:
        if stripped.startswith(decl):
            return False

    return True

def add_line_numbers(input_filename, output_filename):
    """Add line numbers to VBA code for debugging."""
    line_number = 10  # Start at line 10, increment by 10 each time
    prev_line = ""

    with open(input_filename, 'r') as infile, open(output_filename, 'w') as outfile:
        for line in infile:
            if should_add_line_number(line, prev_line):
                outfile.write(f"{line_number} {line}")
                line_number += 10
            prev_line = line  # Store the current line for the next iteration

input_filename = 'path_to_your_input_VBA_code.txt'
output_filename = 'path_to_output_VBA_code.txt'
add_line_numbers(input_filename, output_filename)

VSCode Integration:

  1. Install Python in VSCode.
  2. Create a new Python script in VSCode and paste the above function.
  3. Whenever your VBA code plays hard-to-get, copy it, run the Python script in VSCode, and paste your VBA code into the script. Run it, and voila! Numbered VBA lines in for your debugging pleasure.

And there you have it: a Python-powered solution to a VBA nuisance, all within the cozy confines of VSCode.

In closing, always remember: while we might not solve the age-old debate of pineapple on pizza, at least we can conquer VBA errors with line numbers. Cheers to fewer VBA-induced headaches and more triumphant moments of bug-squashing!

Happy coding, and may the force of Python be with your VBA! 🐍🚀📜

Categories: Development

By Chris Pickett

September 21, 2023

Chris Pickett
Author: Chris Pickett

Our vision is that Crafty Penguins is the de facto standard when people want to outsource the architectural design, deployment, and maintenance of their open-source computing infrastructure.


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