Last modified: May 20, 2010

Applies to: Excel 2010 | Office 2010 | VBA | Visual Studio

Returns the instance handle of the instance of Microsoft Excel that is currently calling a DLL.

Excel4(xlGetInst, LPXLOPER pxRes, 0); /* returns low part only */
Excel12(xlGetInst, LPXLOPER12 pxRes, 0); /* returns full handle */

This function has no arguments.

The instance handle (xltypeInt) will be in the val.w field.

This function can be used to distinguish between multiple running instances of Excel that are calling the DLL.

When you are calling this function using Excel4 or Excel4v, the returned XLOPER integer variable is a signed 16-bit short int. This is only capable of containing the low 16 bits of the 32-bit Windows handle. Starting in Excel 2007, the integer variable of the XLOPER12 is a signed 32-bit int and therefore contains the entire handle, removing the need to iterate all open windows.

Important note Important

If the xlGetInst function is used with the 64-bit version of Microsoft Excel, then the function will fail. This is because the xltypeInt value type is not wide enough to hold the 64-bit long handle returned by Excel in this case. For this purpose, Excel 2010 introduced a new function named xlGetInstPtr, which runs correctly with both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Excel.

The following example compares the instance of the last copy of Excel that called it to the current copy of Excel that called it. If they are the same, it returns 1; if not, it returns 0; if the function fails, it returns -1.


short WINAPI xlGetInstExample(void)
    XLOPER12 xRes;
    static HANDLE hOld = 0;
    short iRet;

    if (Excel12(xlGetInst, &xRes, 0) != xlretSuccess)
        iRet = -1;
    HANDLE hNew;

    hNew = (HANDLE)xRes.val.w;
    if (hNew != hOld)
            iRet = 0;
            iRet = 1;
    hOld = hNew;

    return iRet;
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