A Python pill for Excel VBA ‘Internal Error’

Few interruptions are as rude as the telephone, but there is one in my life. It’s a modal message box that says, ‘Internal Error’. If others remain wedded to Excel Macro-enabled Workbooks, with indispensable VBA projects that expand with their waistlines, they’ll likely be familiar with this unwelcome guest. They’ll also probably have been acquainted with its ugly sister, ‘Errors were detected while saving… Microsoft Excel may be able to save the file by removing or repairing some features.’ (It can’t.)

We’ve now entered the third decade in which cyberspace is home to nothing on this topic other than cries from other victims. Microsoft, meanwhile, has managed to fastidiously rebuild this behaviour into every Excel release since the VHS era, whilst maintaining a Catholic silence. Given all that’s known and unsaid about the VBA Internal Error, ChatGPT would be forgiven for reasoning that it’s more likely a secret feature than a well-known bug.

Sufferers in this patient group have mostly figured out that if you’re afflicted by the Internal Error on Excel for Mac, you’ll need to open and re-save the workbook on Windows to get rid of it. Which leaves Mac users under the illusion that this is an Excel Mac issue. It’s not. The Internal Error solution for Excel Windows? Open and save on a Mac. The arrival of Excel for the web provided a platform-independent place to do your open and save merry-go-round; whilst Excel for the web includes no tool to see or use a VBA macro, it has all the secret sauce to fix them.

If there’s one area in which Apple struggles to keep pace with Microsoft, it’s living up to its reputation.

So the platform-agnostic solution involves moving your workbook to OneDrive, waiting for it to sync, booting up OneDrive in a browser, following a link to open the now-synced workbook in Excel for web, choosing File Download, and then moving the file from Downloads back to your workbook’s starting location — a routine known in our office as ‘the thing’. Someone else out there might be grateful of this automation of ‘the thing’ if they’ve not already penned their own:


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