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Excel Macro: Delete Blank or Empty Columns

Blank columns can often cause problems with formulas. If you find that you are manually searching out and deleting blank columns in your data sets, this simple macro can help automate delete blank columns. If you want to delete blank or empty rows, click here.

Delete Blank or Empty Columns

'------------------ Modules ------------------
Sub DeleteBlankColumns()
'Step1:  Declare your variables.
    Dim MyRange As Range
    Dim iCounter As Long
'Step 2:  Define the target Range.
    Set MyRange = ActiveSheet.UsedRange
'Step 3:  Start reverse looping through the range.
    For iCounter = MyRange.Columns.count To 1 Step -1
'Step 4: If entire column is empty then delete it.
        If WorksheetFunction.CountA(Columns(iCounter).EntireColumn) = 0 Then
        End If
'Step 5: Increment the counter down
    Next iCounter
End Sub

How This Macro Works

In this macro, we are using the UsedRange property of the ActiveSheet object to define the range we are working with. The UsedRange property gives us a range that encompasses the cells that have been used to enter data. We then establish a counter that starts at the last column of the used range, checking if the entire column is empty. If the entire column is indeed empty, we remove the column. We keep doing that same delete for every loop, each time incrementing the counter to the previous column.

  1. Step 1 first declares two variables. The first variable is an object variable called MyRange. This is an Object variable that defines the target range. The other variable is a Long Integer variable called iCounter. This variable serves as an incremental counter.
  2. Step 2 fills the MyRange variable with the UsedRange property of the ActiveSheet object. The UsedRange property gives us a range that encompasses the cells that have been used to enter data. Note that if we wanted to specify an actual range or a named range, we could simply enter its name: Range("MyNamedRange").
  3. In this step, the macro sets the parameters for our incremental counter to start at the max count for the range (MyRange.Columns.Count) and end at 1 (the first row of the chosen range). Note that we are using the Step-1 qualifier. Because we specify Step -1, Excel knows we are going to increment the counter backwards; moving back one increment on each iteration. In all, Step 3 tells Excel that we want to start at the last column of the chosen range, moving backward until we get to the first column of the range.
  4. When working with a range, you can explicitly call out a specific column in the range by passing a column index number to the Columns collection of the range. For instance, Range("A1:E11").Columns(2) points to the second column in the range (column B). In Step 4, the macro uses the iCounter variable as an index number for the Columns collection of MyRange. This helps pinpoint exactly which column we are working with in the current loop. The macro checks to see whether all the cells in that column are empty. If they are, the macro deletes the entire column.
  5. In Step 5, the macro loops back to increment the counter down.

Most VBA code should be placed in Standard Modules unless specified.

If you see a comment '------------------ Modules------------------ in the code header that means put the code in a Standard Module. For more information, learn this course: Where should I put the Excel VBA code?

The following steps teach you how to put VBA code into a Standard Module:

  1. Activate the Visual Basic Editor by pressing ALT + F11.
  2. Right-click the project/workbook name in the Project Window.
  3. Choose Insert -> Module.
  4. Type or paste the code in the newly created module. You will probably need to change the sheet name, the range address, and the save location.
  5. Click Run button on the Visual Basic Editor toolbar.
  6. For more information, learn this course: Programming with Excel VBA

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