Visual Basic for Applications/Recursive File Listing of Folders


  • Recursive listings are tricky, and it is found to be difficult without module or public declarations of some sort. This version although a bit clumsy will perform as expected for files that can be accessed.
  • A public variable is used as a counter to keep track, between iterations, of the numbers of files found, since Microsoft advises us that static variables are not usually used with recursion. The VBA code is not specific for any particular Office application, so would work in say MS Excel or MS Word etc.
  • The user might need to introduce more filtering; for example, to exclude certain file types, or to avoid those of zero size. A comment in the code listing shows where such a code function could be added to the existing condition.
  • Because the array is public, it can be accessed from any other module for its further processing or output. Copy the code entirely into a code module, and modify the folder and recursion condition to your own values.
  • My Documents versus Documents. There are four virtual folders in Libraries, My Documents, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos. When the Windows Explorer's Folder Options forbid the display of hidden files, folders, and drives, the correct locations are returned by various folder selection dialogs, namely Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos. When hidden folders are permitted, then dialogs and listings will attempt to make use of these virtual paths. Access violations will result. To avoid undue problems, check that your folder options are set not to show hidden files or folders. This procedure avoids these folders altogether, but access violations can be avoided, provided that hidden files are allowed to stay hidden.

VBA CodeEdit

Option Explicit
Option Base 1

Public vA() As String
Public N As Long

Sub MakeList()
    'loads an array with details of the files in the selected folder.
    Dim sFolder As String, bRecurse As Boolean
    'The Windows virtual folders My Music, My Videos, and My Pictures
    'generate (handled) error numbers 70,90,91 respectively, so are avoided.
    'Alternatively, set Folder Options to not show hidden files and folders
    'to avoid the problem.
    'set folder and whether or not recursive search applies
    sFolder = "C:\Users\My Folder\Documents\Computer Data\"
    bRecurse = True

    'erase any existing contents of the array
    Erase vA()  'public string array
    'this variable will accumulate the result of all recursions
    N = 0 'initialize an off-site counting variable
    'status bar message for long runs
    Application.StatusBar = "Loading array...please wait."
    'run the folder proc
    LoadArray sFolder, bRecurse
    If N = 0 Then
       Application.StatusBar = "No Files were found!"
       MsgBox "NO FILES FOUND"
       Application.StatusBar = ""
       Exit Sub
       'status bar message for long runs
       Application.StatusBar = "Done!"
       MsgBox "Done!" & vbCrLf & N & " Files listed."
       Application.StatusBar = ""
       Exit Sub
    End If

End Sub

Sub LoadArray(sFolder As String, bRecurse As Boolean)
    'loads dynamic public array vA() with recursive or flat file listing
    'The Windows folders My Music, My Videos, and My Pictures
    'generate error numbers 70,90,91 respectively, and are best avoided.
    Dim FSO As Object, SourceFolder As Object, sSuff As String, vS As Variant
    Dim SubFolder As Object, FileItem As Object, sPath As String
    Dim r As Long, Count As Long, m As Long, sTemp As String
    'm counts items in each folder run
    'N (public) accumulates m for recursive runs
    m = m + N
    On Error GoTo Errorhandler
    Set FSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Set SourceFolder = FSO.GetFolder(sFolder)
    For Each FileItem In SourceFolder.Files
        sTemp = CStr(FileItem.Name)
        sPath = CStr(FileItem.path)
        'get suffix from fileitem
        vS = Split(CStr(FileItem.Name), "."): sSuff = vS(UBound(vS))
        If Not FileItem Is Nothing Then 'add other file filter conditions to this existing one here
            m = m + 1 'increment this sourcefolder's file count
            'reset the array bounds
            ReDim Preserve vA(1 To 6, 0 To m)
            r = UBound(vA, 2)
                'store details for one file on the array row
                vA(1, r) = CStr(FileItem.Name)
                vA(2, r) = CStr(FileItem.path)
                vA(3, r) = CLng(FileItem.Size)
                vA(4, r) = CDate(FileItem.DateCreated)
                vA(5, r) = CDate(FileItem.DateLastModified)
                vA(6, r) = CStr(sSuff)
        End If
    Next FileItem
    'increment public counter with this sourcefolder count
    N = m  'N is public
    'this bit is responsible for the recursion
    If bRecurse Then
        For Each SubFolder In SourceFolder.SubFolders
            LoadArray SubFolder.path, True
        Next SubFolder
    End If
    Set FileItem = Nothing
    Set SourceFolder = Nothing
    Set FSO = Nothing
    Exit Sub

    If Err.Number <> 0 Then
        Select Case Err.Number
        Case 70 'access denied
            'MsgBox "error 70"
            Resume Next
        Case 91 'object not set
            'MsgBox "error 91"
            Resume Next
        Case Else
            'MsgBox "When m = " & m & " in LoadArray" & vbCrLf & _
            "Error Number :  " & Err.Number & vbCrLf & _
            "Error Description :  " & Err.Description
            Exit Sub 'goes to next subfolder - recursive
        End Select
    End If

End Sub