How to return a result from a VBA function

How do I return a result from a function?

For example:

Public Function test() As Integer
    return 1
End Function

This gives a compile error.

How do I make this function return an integer?

Answers


For non-object return types, you have to assign the value to the name of your function, like this:

Public Function test() As Integer
    test = 1
End Function

Example usage:

Dim i As Integer
i = test()

If the function returns an Object type, then you must use the Set keyword like this:

Public Function testRange() As Range
    Set testRange = Range("A1")
End Function

Example usage:

Dim r As Range
Set r = testRange()

Note that assigning a return value to the function name does not terminate the execution of your function. If you want to exit the function, then you need to explicitly say Exit Function. For example:

Function test(ByVal justReturnOne As Boolean) As Integer
    If justReturnOne Then
        test = 1
        Exit Function
    End If
    'more code...
    test = 2
End Function

Documentation: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/gg264233%28v=office.14%29.aspx


VBA functions treat the function name itself as a sort of variable. So instead of using a "return" statement, you would just say:

test = 1

Notice, though, that this does not break out of the function. Any code after this statement will also be executed. Thus, you can have many assignment statements that assign different values to test, and whatever the value is when you reach the end of the function will be the value returned.


Just setting the return value to the function name is still not exactly the same as the Java (or other) return statement, because in java, return exits the function, like this:

public int test(int x) {
    if (x == 1) {
        return 1; // exits immediately
    }

    // still here? return 0 as default.
    return 0;
}

In VB, the exact equivalent takes two lines if you are not setting the return value at the end of your function. So, in VB the exact corollary would look like this:

Public Function test(ByVal x As Integer) As Integer
    If x = 1 Then
        test = 1 ' does not exit immediately. You must manually terminate...
        Exit Function ' to exit
    End If

    ' Still here? return 0 as default.
    test = 0
    ' no need for an Exit Function because we're about to exit anyway.
End Function 

Since this is the case, it's also nice to know that you can use the return variable like any other variable in the method. Like this:

Public Function test(ByVal x As Integer) As Integer

    test = x ' <-- set the return value

    If test <> 1 Then ' Test the currently set return value
        test = 0 ' Reset the return value to a *new* value
    End If

End Function 

Or, the extreme example of how the return variable works (but not necessarily a good example of how you should actually code)—the one that will keep you up at night:

Public Function test(ByVal x As Integer) As Integer

    test = x ' <-- set the return value

    If test > 0 Then

        ' RECURSIVE CALL...WITH THE RETURN VALUE AS AN ARGUMENT,
        ' AND THE RESULT RESETTING THE RETURN VALUE.
        test = test(test - 1)

    End If

End Function

The below code stores the return value in to the variable retVal and then MsgBox can be used to display the value:

Dim retVal As Integer
retVal = test()
Msgbox retVal

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