Make VBA String Comparisons Case In-sensitive [Quick Tip]

Posted on December 1st, 2011 in VBA Macros - 5 comments

Today, while answering a reader’s email, I wrote this VBA code,

If Target.Value = "yes" Then
'do something
End If

But I realized that my code would run only the Target cell has “yes” in it. It wont run if the target cell has “YES”, or “Yes” or “YeS”.

This is because by default, all VBA comparisons are binary. That means, “yes” ≠ “Yes”.

One quick work-around for this problem is to use UCASE to convert target.value to Uppercase and then compare, like this,

If UCASE(Target.Value) = "YES" Then
'do something
End If

But this seemed painful, especially, if I had to do similar comparison at multiple places in my code, I had to use UCASE() everywhere.

If only there is an option to tell VBA how to compare?!?

Well, there is an option.

Use Option Compare Text

If you write Option Compare Text at the top of your module, all the VBA comparisons with in that module will use Text comparison instead of Binary comparison. Thus, “yes” will be equal to “YES”.

Do you use Option Compare?

There are 3 settings for Option Compare.

  1. Option Compare Binary: This is the default setting. Compares everything at binary level.
  2. Option Compare Text: Used for situations like this.
  3. Option Compare Database: Can be used only with MS Access VBA. Uses Database Table settings to determine how to compare.

This is the first time I have used Option Compare Text. But it seems like an elegant way to tell Excel VBA how to compare. I will be using it more often.

What about you? Do you use Option Compare? What are your favorite tips & tricks? Please share with us using comments.

More on Excel VBA

VBA (or Macros) is how you can tell Excel to automate parts of your work. It is a powerful programming language built right in to Excel (and other MS Office applications) to help you do more. If you are new to VBA, why don’t you go thru our Free crash course?

  1. Introduction to VBA & Excel Macros
  2. Understanding Variables, Conditions & Loops in VBA
  3. Using Cells, Ranges & Other Objects in your Macros
  4. Putting it all together – Your First VBA Application using Excel
  5. My Top 10 Tips for Mastering VBA & Excel Macros

Also, go thru our VBA (Macros) article collection for more tips, tutorials & ideas.

Written by Chandoo
Tags: , , , , , ,
Home: Chandoo.org Main Page
? Doubt: Ask an Excel Question

5 Responses to “Make VBA String Comparisons Case In-sensitive [Quick Tip]”

  1. Rick Rothstein (MVP - Excel) says:

    Another way to test if Target.Value equal a string constant without regard to letter casing is to use the StrCmp function...

    If StrComp("yes", Target.Value, vbTextCompare) = 0 Then
    ' Do something
    End If

  2. Tim says:

    In case that option just needs to be used for a single comparison, you could use

    If InStr(1, "yes", Target.Value, vbTextCompare) Then
    'do something
    End If

    as well.

  3. Luke M says:

    Nice tip, thanks! I never even thought to think there might be an easier way.

  4. Cyril Z. says:

    Regarding Chronology of VB in general, the Option Compare pragma appears at the very beginning of VB, way before classes and objects arrive (with VB6 - around 2000).

    Today StrComp() and InStr() function offers a more local way to compare, fully object, thus more consistent with object programming (even if VB is still interpreted).

    My only question here is : "what if you want to binary compare locally with re-entering functions or concurrency (with events) ?". This will lead to a real nightmare and probably a big nasty mess to debug.

    By the way, congrats for you Millions/month visits 🙂

  5. Bhavik says:

    This is nice article.
    I used these examples to help my understanding. Even Instr is similar to Find but it can be case sensitive and also case insensitive.
    Hope the examples below help.

    Public Sub CaseSensitive2()

    If InStr(1, "Look in this string", "look", vbBinaryCompare) = 0 Then
    MsgBox "woops, no match"
    Else
    MsgBox "at least one match"
    End If

    End Sub

    Public Sub CaseSensitive()

    If InStr("Look in this string", "look") = 0 Then
    MsgBox "woops, no match"
    Else
    MsgBox "at least one match"
    End If

    End Sub
    Public Sub NotCaseSensitive()
    'doing alot of case insensitive searching and whatnot, you can put Option Compare Text
    If InStr(1, "Look in this string", "look", vbTextCompare) = 0 Then
    MsgBox "woops, no match"
    Else
    MsgBox "at least one match"
    End If

    End Sub

Leave a Reply