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The scenario

Philips Avent had an Excel macro that was created to transfer information from their SAP for their Engineering Stores into Excel to enable them to process their re-ordering requirements. After an upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013 the macro gave errors. Without this macro all re-ordering - and thus the business - could come to a halt.

The author of the macro was no longer employed by the company and had password protected the Visual Basic programming code.

It looked like a re-write of the whole macro was on the cards . . .

Philips AVENT is a company that manufactures baby bottles, breast pumps, and other baby feeding and health accessories. The Avent brand was created in 1984 to launch a new type of baby bottle that was short with a wide neck. Avent was the first baby feeding company to produce teats from odourless and tasteless silicone as well as other patented innovations such a steam and microwave steriliser and piston-free breast Pump.

“All done, many thanks for your help and patience!

Colin Smith.

Engineering stores co-ordinator, Philips Avent, Mother & Childcare

The Solution

Philips Avent emailed us the macro and indeed the macro was stopping with an error. Unfortunately the person who created the macro was no longer employed at the company. To compound the issue he had password protected the Visual Basic (VBA) programming code.

Our approach was two-fold: 1) crack the password protection of the VBA code; 2) investigate and fix the error.

Cracking the VBA code is usually fairly easy and proved no problem at all. Now, what was “wrong” with this macro? It’s important to know that a macro doesn’t suddenly just “go wrong,” it’s almost always an issue where the data feeding the macro has changed format.

Upon investigation we saw that the first action the macro was taking was to create a new Excel worksheet and then deleting two of the three worksheets that were in the new workbook.  However in Microsoft Office 2013 Microsoft took a decision that be default all new Excel workbooks would start with just one worksheet.  Aha! So our macro was trying to delete two sheets that didn’t exist!

There were two possible solutions: 1) re-program the VBA code; 2) the user could modify the default settings within Excel so that all new workbooks created three worksheets.

As time was of the essence the user decided on the latter option, made the changes and the macros worked as well as ever.

An unusual situation which could have resulted in a huge cost if we hadn’t know how to crack the VBA password protection.