Close this search box.

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



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.


Share this tip with your colleagues

Excel and Power BI tips - Chandoo.org Newsletter

Get FREE Excel + Power BI Tips

Simple, fun and useful emails, once per week.

Learn & be awesome.

Welcome to Chandoo.org

Thank you so much for visiting. My aim is to make you awesome in Excel & Power BI. I do this by sharing videos, tips, examples and downloads on this website. There are more than 1,000 pages with all things Excel, Power BI, Dashboards & VBA here. Go ahead and spend few minutes to be AWESOME.

Read my storyFREE Excel tips book

Excel School made me great at work.

– Brenda

Excel formula list - 100+ examples and howto guide for you

From simple to complex, there is a formula for every occasion. Check out the list now.

Calendars, invoices, trackers and much more. All free, fun and fantastic.

Advanced Pivot Table tricks

Power Query, Data model, DAX, Filters, Slicers, Conditional formats and beautiful charts. It's all here.

Still on fence about Power BI? In this getting started guide, learn what is Power BI, how to get it and how to create your first report from scratch.

Announcing Power BI Dashboard Contest 2024

Announcing Power BI Dashboard Contest (win $500 prizes!)

Hey there, I have a SUPER exciting announcement! April is about to get a whole lot sweeter with our Power BI Dashboard Contest! Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Craft the most EPIC dashboard for the Awesome Chocolates CEO with sales & financial insights! Winners stand a chance to score up to $500 in Amazon Gift Cards, plus some serious bragging rights!

6 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

    • Fares Al-Dhabbi says:

      That's a cool way to compare. i just converted my values to strings and used the above code to compare. worked nicely


  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"
    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"
    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"
    MsgBox "at least one match"
    End If

    End Sub

Leave a Reply