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Shell Function

office 365 dev account|Last Updated: 6/12/2017
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Runs an executable program and returns a Variant ( Double ) representing the program's task ID if successful, otherwise it returns zero. SyntaxShell( pathname [ , windowstyle ] ) The Shell function syntax has thesenamed arguments:

pathnameRequired; Variant ( String ). Name of the program to execute and any requiredarguments orcommand-line switches; may include directory or folder and drive. On the Macintosh, you can use the MacID function to specify an application's signature instead of its name. The following example uses the signature for Microsoft Word: Shell MacID("MSWD")
windowstyleOptional. Variant ( Integer ) corresponding to the style of the window in which the program is to be run. If windowstyle is omitted, the program is started minimized with focus. On the Macintosh (System 7.0 or later), windowstyle only determines whether or not the application gets the focus when it is run.

The windowstyle named argument has these values:

vbHide0Window is hidden and focus is passed to the hidden window. The vbHide constant is not applicable on Macintosh platforms.
vbNormalFocus1Window has focus and is restored to its original size and position.
vbMinimizedFocus2Window is displayed as an icon with focus.
vbMaximizedFocus3Window is maximized with focus.
vbNormalNoFocus4Window is restored to its most recent size and position. The currently active window remains active.
vbMinimizedNoFocus6Window is displayed as an icon. The currently active window remains active.

Remarks If the Shell function successfully executes the named file, it returns the task ID of the started program. The task ID is a unique number that identifies the running program. If the Shell function can't start the named program, an error occurs. On the Macintosh, vbNormalFocus, vbMinimizedFocus, and vbMaximizedFocus all place the application in the foreground; vbHide, vbNoFocus, vbMinimizeFocus all place the application in the background.

Note By default, the Shell function runs other programs asynchronously. This means that a program started with Shell might not finish executing before the statements following the Shell function are executed.


This example uses the Shell function to run an application specified by the user. On the MacIntosh, the default drive name is "HD" and portions of the pathname are separated by colons instead of backslashes. Similarly, you would specify Macintosh folders instead of \Windows.

' Specifying 1 as the second argument opens the application in 
' normal size and gives it the focus.
Dim RetVal
RetVal = Shell("C:\WINDOWS\CALC.EXE", 1)    ' Run Calculator.
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