Improved? Move/Copy Add-in Replacement

Improved? Move/Copy Add-in Replacement - How to avoid the annoying, “A formula or sheet you want to move or copy contains the name XXX, which already exists on the destination worksheet.”
David Miller (dlmille)

It was one of those days…

I was working frantically, as couple weeks back, trying to get everything done before I left for Thanksgiving Holiday.  I was helping a colleague get some performance reports completed, so we could meet our team deadline.  One of the activities involved consolidating some sheets from several workbooks into one master.  

   It looks so innocent.  And yet...
After selecting a batch of sheets, I clicked the right mouse button and hit Move or Copy, chose the destination workbook, and hit Ok.  I was then inundated with prompt after prompt as Microsoft advised me that

  A formula or sheet you want to move or copy contains the name blah, blah, blah...

“A formula or sheet you want to move or copy contains the name XXX, which already exists on the destination worksheet.  Do you want to use the version of the name?“

If I hit Yes, Excel would prompt again on the next range name that also existed in the destination sheet.  If I hit No, I found I had to create a new name for that range.  

Name Conflict
Then, again, I had another range name to deal with.  

Please…Will this EVER end?  

After about 20 of these, I held the Y key down (trying to have the entry repeat) and had intermittent success.  On one spreadsheet tab copy, I gave up after a couple minutes and pulled up the task manager to NUKE Excel.

This wasn’t the first time it had happened to me, but I promised myself it was going to be the last!  It turns out at least one of the ways you can get this error when you try to copy a sheet that has a common range name at both the sheet as well as the workbook scope level.  I did some quick research and found that with VBA, you can disable alerts Application.DisplayAlerts=False while you perform move/copy operations, to avoid these types of prompts.  Once your code is complete, you can turn alerts back on Application.DisplayAlerts=True.  I wrote a quick macro and got the job done, in time to make it home to pack and leave on my vacation trip.

While on vacation, I watched the kids, swam, played games, and pondered this particular problem.  It seemed to me (when I was Google-ing on the issue) that the problem comes up time and again.  Mentally, I designed a solution, leveraging a couple tricks I learned about intercepting Excel menu commands to run my own code.  Some handy references I used/adapted to take over the command: (for the command bar approach - aka Excel 2003 - see:  For the XML approach - aka Excel 2007/2010 see: and

As a result, I created the MoveOrCopy! Add-In that I now use as a permanent add-in in my Excel arsenal.  Please, download it and give it a shot.  While its loaded, anytime you execute Move/Copy via Excel menus, the add-in steps in and prompts you just as Excel does (e.g., where to move/copy the selected sheets, etc.) with one exception – the code takes the DEFAULT on all prompts thanks to the Application.DisplayAlerts=False command).

 Native Move or Copy vs MoveOrCopy! dialog
I suppose someone might need to know when they are copying common range names to a destination, so they could manually rename them to avoid conflicts.  I’m not sure why there’s not a default setting in Excel for this, but perhaps in their infinite wisdom, they were being risk averse.  I prefer the default.  I can’t recall ever having wanted to do otherwise, though there may be times when that is necessary.  

As a result, I included a couple options on the add-in menu:
1) Turn On/Initialize – use MoveOrCopy! substitute,
2) Turn Off – return to Excel’s Native Move/Copy process,
3) Toggle Startup State – ON or OFF, saving your startup preference in the registry

 MoveOrCopy! Add-In Menu
Here’s the code for the MoveOrCopy! Userform (see cbOk_Click() routine for the primary code doing the move/copy function:
Private Sub cbCancel_Click()
    Unload Me
End Sub

Private Sub cbOk_Click()
Dim lItem As Long
Dim srcWkb As Workbook
Dim destWkb As Workbook
Dim srcShts As Worksheet
Dim objShts As Variant
Dim i As Long
Dim bEnd As Boolean

    Application.DisplayAlerts = False
    Set srcWkb = ActiveWorkbook
    Set objShts = ActiveWindow.SelectedSheets
    If cbDest.Value = NEW_BOOK Then
        Set destWkb = Application.Workbooks.Add
        Set destWkb = Application.Workbooks(cbDest.Value)
    End If
    If lbDestSht.Value = MOVE_END Then
        If cbCopy Then
            objShts.Copy after:=destWkb.Sheets(destWkb.Sheets.Count)
            objShts.Move after:=destWkb.Sheets(destWkb.Sheets.Count)
        End If
        For i = 1 To destWkb.Sheets.Count
            If destWkb.Sheets(i).Name = lbDestSht.Value Or cbDest.Value = NEW_BOOK Then 'copy or move selected sheets BEFORE the selected destination sheet
                If cbCopy Then
                    objShts.Copy before:=destWkb.Sheets(i)
                    objShts.Move before:=destWkb.Sheets(i)
                End If
                Exit For
            End If
        Next i
    End If
    Application.DisplayAlerts = True
    Unload UserForm1
End Sub

Private Sub cbSource_Change()
Dim mySht As Worksheet

    For Each mySht In Application.Workbooks(cbSource.Value).Worksheets
        lbDestSht.AddItem mySht.Name
    Next mySht
End Sub

Private Sub cbDest_Change()
    If cbDest.Value <> NEW_BOOK Then
        Call loadShts(Application.Workbooks(Me.cbDest.Value))
    End If
End Sub

Private Sub UserForm_Initialize()
Dim myWkb As Workbook
Dim lItem As Long

    'Position Userform relative to sheet selection, as with Native Excel Move/Copy UI
    UserForm1.Top = Application.Top + Application.Height * 0.93 - UserForm1.Height
    UserForm1.Left = Application.Left + UserForm1.Height * 0.2
    cbDest.AddItem NEW_BOOK
    For Each myWkb In Application.Workbooks
        cbDest.AddItem myWkb.Name
    Next myWkb
    For lItem = 0 To cbDest.ListCount - 1
        If cbDest.List(lItem) = ActiveWorkbook.Name Then
            cbDest.ListIndex = lItem
        End If
    Next lItem
    Call loadShts(ActiveWorkbook)

End Sub
Private Sub loadShts(myWkb As Workbook)
Dim lItem As Long
Dim myWks As Object

    For Each myWks In myWkb.Sheets
        lbDestSht.AddItem myWks.Name
    Next myWks
    lbDestSht.AddItem MOVE_END
    lbDestSht.Selected(0) = True

End Sub

Open in new window

And here’s the code that keeps track of the user preference (toggling the Add-in’s features ON or OFF):
Option Explicit

Public Sub MoveOrCopy_toggleStartup()
Dim myName As Name
Dim bStartupState As Boolean

    On Error Resume Next
    bStartupState = GetSetting("MoveOrCopy!", "StartUp", "State", Environ("username"))
    If Err.Number <> 0 Then
        bStartupState = True
    End If
    On Error GoTo 0
    bStartupState = Not bStartupState
    SaveSetting appname:="MoveOrCopy!", section:="StartUp", Key:="State", setting:=bStartupState
    MsgBox "On Excel Restart, MoveOrCopy! will be in " & IIf(bStartupState, "ON", "OFF") & " mode."
End Sub

Open in new window

Finally, here’s the code that interfaces with the command bar or context menu (Excel < 2007 and Excel >=2007, respectively):
Option Explicit
Public Const NEW_BOOK = "(new book)"
Public Const MOVE_END = "(move to end)"
Public bUserDefined As Boolean
Function appVer() As Integer

    If UCase(Right(ThisWorkbook.Name, 4)) = ".XLA" Then 'running as a 2003 add-in
        appVer = Application.WorksheetFunction.Min(Application.Version, 11)
        appVer = Application.Version
    End If
End Function
Sub moveOrCopy_Initialize()
    bUserDefined = True
    If appVer < 12 Then 'check application version.  < 12 means earlier than Excel 2007, so use commandbar approach
        Call ChangeMenuOptions(bUserDefined, 848) 'True - user defined on move/copy
        'do nothing
    End If
    MsgBox "Just proceed with Move/Copy on sheet tabs as you have 'Normally'.  However, use the ""Turn Off"" feature to revert back to Excel Native Move/Copy"
End Sub
Sub moveOrCopy_deInitialize()
    bUserDefined = False
    If appVer < 12 Then
        Call ChangeMenuOptions(bUserDefined, 848) 'True - user defined on move/copy
        'do nothing
    End If
    MsgBox "You have now reverted back to Excel Native Move/Copy"
End Sub
Sub MoveOrCopyUI()
    If Application.Workbooks.Count > 0 Then
        Load UserForm1
        MsgBox "MoveOrCopy! will not operate if no workbooks are open in Excel", vbCritical, "Aborting..."
    End If
End Sub
'Source: Adapted from
'Supporting XML embedded in this 2007/2010 file:
'<customUI xmlns="">
'  <commands>
'    <command idMso="SheetMoveOrCopy" onAction="CustomMoveOrCopy" />
'  </commands>
Public Sub CustomMoveOrCopy(ByVal control As Variant, ByRef cancelDefault As Variant)

    If bUserDefined Then
        cancelDefault = True
        Call MoveOrCopyUI
        cancelDefault = False
    End If

End Sub
'Source: Adapted from
Public Sub ChangeMenuOptions(bUserDef As Boolean, ParamArray ControlID() As Variant)
'848 Move or Copy Sheet...
'889 Rename Sheet
'847 Delete Sheet
Dim iControl As Integer
Dim oControl As Object

    For iControl = LBound(ControlID) To UBound(ControlID)
        For Each oControl In Application.CommandBars.FindControls(ID:=ControlID(iControl))
            If bUserDef Then
                oControl.OnAction = "MoveOrCopyUI"
            End If
        Next oControl
    Next iControl
End Sub

Open in new window


Attachment I:MoveOrCopy! Add-in for Excel 2003 & earlier (untested on versions < 2003)

Attachment II:MoveOrCopy! Add in for Excel 2007-2010
Just download and save to a trusted location.  Run it and see how it performs, for yourself.  If you’d like to make it a permanent addition as I have, just save it to your add-ins directory, and set Excel Options so MoveOrCopy! loads every time you start Excel.

Happy Copying!

If you liked this article and want to see more from this author,  please click here.

If you found this article helpful, please click the Yes button near the:

      Was this article helpful?

label that is just below and to the right of this text.   Thanks!

Comments (4)

Great idea.  While I haven't tried the add-in yet, I have encountered this problem many times.  I'm happy to have the add-in in my back pocket for the next time I run up against the same issue.  Thanks for a smart work around!
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Top Expert 2012


You are welcome.  For the add-in to be of most benefit,  just install and forget about it.

Keep Up The Good Work! :)

Thanks David. Will give it a shot!

Have a question about something in this article? You can receive help directly from the article author. Sign up for a free trial to get started.

Get access with a 7-day free trial.
You Belong in the World's Smartest IT Community