Learn Microsoft Access Advanced Programming Techniques, Tips and Tricks.

DIRectory and File Copy Utility

Last week we have seen how to use Dir() DOS Command, it’s ability to read files from the Disk  one by one and display it on the Debug Window.

In continuation of that, we will get familiar with a very useful VBA FileCopy Statement combined with DIR()  Command to read and transfer files from one folder to a different location on the disk.  The files can be of any type, like *.pdf, *.docx, xls or *.* (all files).

The files will be read from a Folder and listed in a list-box from the selected folder, specified in a text box.,  with the use of DIR() Command.  All the files in the list or selected ones can be copied to a different location specified in a text box, defined as target location.

The design view image of a Form created for this purpose is given below for reference:


The design is simple with two text boxes, one Listbox,  three Command Buttons and a Label Control to display messages from this Utility Program.  You can download this Utility Form in a sample database at the end of this article.

These are the names of the Controls on the Form:

  1. Top Text box : Source
  2. Text Box 2     :  Target
  3. List Box          :  List1
  4. Top Command Button : cmdDir
  5. Second Command Button : cmdSelected
  6. Last Command Button : cmdClose
  7. Bottom empty Label Name : msg

Note: If you are designing this form yourself then ensure that you give the controls the same names as given above, because the VBA Code that you are going to copy, paste in the VBA Module references all these names in the Code

Besides the above main controls there is a Label Control below the first Source Textbox showing  examples as how to specify Source File Path correctly.

The label control at the bottom of the form shows messages that pops up during validation checks of the inputs and when errors detected, during the execution of the VBA Code.

Image of a sample run of the FileCopy Utility is given below:


You may create this User Interface with the names of the Controls as given above.  After designing the form with the correct names for the controls, display the VBA Window of the Form, copy and paste the following code into the Form’s VBA Module:

Option Compare Database
Option Explicit
Dim strSource1 As String
Dim strSource2 As String, strMsg As String

Private Sub cmdClose_Click()
On Error GoTo cmdClose_Click_Error

If MsgBox("Close File Copy Utility?", vbOKCancel + vbQuestion, "cmdClose_Click()") = vbOK Then
   DoCmd.Close acForm, Me.Name, acSaveYes
End If

Exit Sub

MsgBox Err.Description, , "cmdClose_Click()"
Resume cmdClose_Click_Exit
End Sub

Private Sub cmdDir_Click()
'Author : a.p.r.pillai
'Date   : June 2018
'Purpose: Take directory listing
'Rights : All Rights Reserved by www.msaccesstips.com
Dim strSource As String, strMsg As String
Dim i As Integer, x As String
Dim j As Integer, strfile As String
Dim strList As ListBox, LList As String

On Error GoTo cmdDir_Click_Err
msg.Caption = ""

'Read Source location address
strSource = Nz(Me!Source, "")
If Len(strSource) = 0 Then
    strMsg = "Source Path is empty."
    MsgBox strMsg,vbOKOnly + vbCritical, "cmdDir_Click()"
msg.Caption = strMsg
    Exit Sub
End If

'check for the last back-slash location
'this can be used to split the folder name
'and file name type values separately.

i = InStrRev(strSource, "\")

'get the folder name part into the variable
strSource1 = Left(strSource, i)

'take file type (*.docx, *.exl, *.txt etc.) value into a separate
'variable temporarily
If Len(strSource) > i Then
    strSource2 = Right(strSource, Len(strSource) - i)
End If

'define Listbox object
Set strList = Me.List1

'Read the first file from the folder
strfile = Dir(strSource, vbHidden)
If Len(strfile) = 0 Then
    strMsg = "No Files of the specified type: '" & strSource2 & "' in this folder."
    MsgBox strMsg, vbCritical + vbOKOnly, "cmdDir()"
    msg.Caption = strMsg
    Exit Sub
End If

j = 0
LList = ""
Do While Len(strfile) > 0
   If Left(strfile, 1) = "~" Then 'ignore backup files, if any
      GoTo readnext:
   End If
    j = j + 1 'File list count
    LList = LList & Chr(34) & strfile & Chr(34) & ","
    strfile = Dir() ' read next file

LList = Left(LList, Len(LList) - 1) ' remove the extra comma at the end of the list
strList.RowSource = LList 'insert the files list into the listbox RowSource property
strList.Requery 'refresh the listbox
msg.Caption = "Total: " & j & " Files found."

Me.Target.Enabled = True

Exit Sub

MsgBox Err.Description, , "cmdDir_Click()"
Resume cmdDir_Click_Exit

End Sub

Private Sub cmdSelected_Click()
'Author : a.p.r.pillai
'Date   : June 2018
'Purpose: Copy Selected/All Files to Target Location
'Rights : All Rights Reserved by www.msaccesstips.com

Dim lstBox As ListBox, ListCount As Integer
Dim strfile As String, j As Integer, t As Double
Dim strTarget As String, strTarget2 As String
Dim chk As String, i As Integer, yn As Integer
Dim k As Integer

On Error GoTo cmdSelected_Click_Err

msg.Caption = ""
'Read Target location address
strTarget = Trim(Nz(Me!Target, ""))

'validate Destination location
If Len(strTarget) = 0 Then
   strMsg = "Enter a Valid Path for Destination!"
   MsgBox strMsg, vbOKOnly + vbCritical, "cmdSelected()"
   msg.Caption = strMsg
   Exit Sub
ElseIf Right(strTarget, 1) <> "\" Then
      strMsg = "Correct the Path as '" & Trim(Me.Target) & "\' and Re-try"
      MsgBox strMsg, vbOKOnly + vbCritical, "cmdSelected()"
      msg.Caption = strMsg
      Exit Sub
End If

'Take a count of files in listbox
Set lstBox = Me.List1
ListCount = lstBox.ListCount - 1

'take a count of selected files, if any, for copying
i = 0
For j = 0 To ListCount
If lstBox.Selected(j) Then
  i = i + 1
End If

'identify user's response for copy
If (i = 0) And (ListCount > 0) Then
       strMsg = "Copy all Files..?"
       Me.cmdSelected.Caption = "Copy All"
       strMsg = "Copy Selected Files..?"
       Me.cmdSelected.Caption = "Copy Marked files"

End If


'get copy option from User
yn = MsgBox(strMsg, vbOKCancel + vbQuestion, "cmdSelected_Click()")

'Run Copy selected option
If (i = 0) And (yn = vbOK) Then
    GoSub allCopy
ElseIf (i > 0) And (yn = vbOK) Then
    GoSub selectCopy
    Exit Sub
End If

'disable Copy button to stop a repeat copy of the same files.
'Remarks: User can make fresh selections from the same list
'To copy them to the same target locatiion.
'Or to a different location by specifying different Path
'in the Destination Text Box
Me.cmdSelected.Enabled = False

'Display copy status
strMsg = "Total " & k & " File(s) Copied." & vbCrLf & "Check the Target Folder for accuracy."
MsgBox strMsg, vbInformation + vbOKOnly, "cmdSelected_Click()"
Me.msg.Caption = strMsg

Exit Sub

k = 0
For j = 0 To ListCount
    strfile = lstBox.ItemData(j)
    strSource2 = strSource1 & strfile
    strTarget2 = strTarget & strfile
    FileCopy strSource2, strTarget2
  'give enough time to copy the file
  'before taking the next file
  k = k + 1
  t = Timer()
  Do While Timer() > (t + 10)
    'do nothing

k = 0
For j = 0 To ListCount
   If lstBox.Selected(j) Then
        strfile = lstBox.ItemData(j)
        strSource2 = strSource1 & strfile
        strTarget2 = strTarget & strfile
            FileCopy strSource2, strTarget2
               'give enough time to copy the file
               'before taking the next file
               k = k + 1
                t = Timer()
                Do While Timer() > (t + 10)
                    'do nothing
   End If

MsgBox Err.Description, , "cmdSelected_Click()"
Me.msg.Caption = Err.Description
Resume cmdSelected_Click_Exit

End Sub

Private Sub List1_AfterUpdate()
On Error GoTo List1_AfterUpdate_Error
Me.cmdSelected.Enabled = True
Exit Sub

MsgBox Err.Description, , "List1_AfterUpdate()"
Resume List1_AfterUpdate_Exit
End Sub

You may save the Form with the name FileCopy.

Note: FileCopy is a VBA Statement not a built-in Function.

You may copy different set of files from the list of files displayed in the List Box to different Target Folders by selecting the files (after de-selecting earlier selections) and after changing Destination Location address in the Text Control.

You may download the sample database with the VBA Code from the Link given below:

Download (2003) FileCopy.zip

Download FileCopy2007.zip

DIR Getting File Names From Folder

We all know Dir() Function from the time of Windows DOS Operating System.  This is the first Command introduced to those who sit on a Personal Computer to learn how to use Computers.  This Command have several options, to get the output from the disk in so many ways, under Windows Operating System.  You can take a full list of Folders, Sub-folders and Files from the hard disk in a single command.  The entire list can be sent to a Printer or save them into text file with the use of redirection symbol (>).

We are not going to use all those options here.  We will see how Dir() Function used in VBA to read file names from a Folder one by one and display them in Debug Window.  Every time we run this function with a Folder Path as parameter it returns the first file name from the folder.  Now, the question is how to get the next few file names or all the files one-by-one from the Folder.

We will try Dir() Function from the Debug Window directly, so that it is easy to understand as how to use this function to get few file names from a folder one after the other.

  1. Open Microsoft Access VBA Window and display Debug Window (Ctrl+G).
  2. Type the following command in the Debug Window and press Enter Key:
    ? Dir("")

    Dir() Function with an empty string as parameter will fetch the first file name from the Current Folder and display it in the debug window. 

    Since, we have not given any specific folder name in the function parameter it looks for files in the active folder on the disk.

  3. Now, issue the following Command without any parameter to get the next file name in the current folder
    ? Dir()
    ? Dir
  4. Each time you run the DIR() command it will get the next file from the folder.
  5. Use a specific Folder Path as parameter, in place of the empty string to get files from that particular folder.
  6. Example:
    ? Dir("D:\Documents\")
    ? Dir("D:\Documents\*.*")

If D:\Documents\ folder doesn't have any files in it then the above command will return and empty string. If you go further and execute the ? Dir command it will end up with an error message.

There is an optional second parameter to the Dir() Command that we have not used in the above examples. Since, this is an DOS Command executed in it's own window we can specify this second parameter to show it's normal window(vbNormal) or hide the execution window (vbHidden) among other options available.

I have written a small function for you to list all the files in a folder in the Debug Window.

Public Function TestDir(ByVal strFolder As String) As String
'Function Usage e.g.: TestDir "D:\Documents\"
Dim j As Integer, strFile As String
'files counter
j = 1
'Run the function with the specified folder in a hidden window
strFile = Dir(strFolder, vbHidden)
'Next steps of Dir() function is nested in a loop
'to read all the files and print in the Debug Window

Do While Len(strFile) > 0
 Debug.Print j & ":" & strFile
 j = j + 1
 strFile = Dir()
End Function

Call the function from the Debug Window by giving the full path of the Folder as parameter.

? TestDir("D:\Documents\")
? TestDir("D:\Documents\*.*")

All the files from the specified folder will be printed with a serial number in the debug window. After reading and printing the last file from the folder the Dir() function executes one more time and end up with an empty string. The Do While condition will prove false and the program stops.

If you need only specific Type of Files to be read and displayed then you may specify the parameter with the file type extension.


? TestDir("D:\Documents\*.xls")

The above example will read only Excel files and print in the Debug window.

I have used the term Function and Command interchangeably. Dir() is referred to as a Function in VBA reference documents and as Command in Disk Operating System documents, both refers to the same operations done in different environments.



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