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The VBA GetAttr function is used to retrieve the attributes of a specified file or folder. These attributes can include information such as the file’s or folder’s read-only status, hidden status, last modified date, and more. This function is particularly useful for automating tasks involving manipulating files and folders.

VBA GetAttr Function – Purpose, Syntax and Arguments


The main purpose of the GetAttr function is to allow users to retrieve specific attributes of a file or folder in order to execute certain actions based on those attributes. This function can be used to get information about the file or folder, which can then be used to perform tasks such as copying, moving, deleting, or renaming.


The syntax for the GetAttr function is as follows:


Where path/name is the full path and name of the file or folder for which you want to retrieve attributes. This can be a literal string or a string variable.


The GetAttr function takes in only one argument, which is the path/name of the file or folder for which you want to retrieve attributes.

  • path/name: This is a required argument and must be a valid path and name of the file or folder for which attributes are to be retrieved. If the path is not specified, the current directory will be used as the default path.


In this example, we will use the GetAttr function to retrieve the attributes of a file and store them in variables for further use. We will first declare the necessary variables and then use the GetAttr function to retrieve the attributes of the file.

Dim filePath As String
Dim fileAttributes As Integer
Dim dateModified As Date
filePath = "C:\Users\John\Documents\TestFile.txt"
'Get attributes of the file
fileAttributes = GetAttr(filePath)
'Get date modified attribute
dateModified = FileDateTime(filePath)
'Print the attributes and date modified
MsgBox "Attributes of file: " & fileAttributes &  ", Date Modified: " & dateModified

In the above code, we first declare the variables filePath, fileAttributes, and dateModified. Then, we use the GetAttr function to retrieve the file attributes and store them in the fileAttributes variable. We also use the FileDateTime function to get the date modified attribute and store it in the dateModified variable. Finally, we display a message box showing the retrieved attributes and date modified.

Remarks and Important Notes

  • Only one attribute can be obtained at a time using the GetAttr function. To retrieve multiple attributes, the function must be called multiple times.
  • The attributes retrieved by the GetAttr function are represented by integer values. A list of possible attribute values and their meaning can be found in the Remarks section of the MSDN documentation for GetAttr:
  • This function can only be used to retrieve attributes for files or folders. It cannot be used for other objects such as drives or devices.
  • The path/name argument must be in a valid path format, otherwise, an error will occur.

Understanding VBA GetAttr Function with Examples

Example 1: Basic Usage

The first example of using the VBA GetAttr function involves simply retrieving the attributes of a specific file or folder. The basic syntax of this function is GetAttr(path), where path refers to the file or folder location.

'Assuming we want to retrieve the attributes of a file named "Example.xlsx"
Dim attr as Integer
attr = GetAttr("C:\Users\Owner\Documents\Example.xlsx")
  1. In this code, we first declare a variable attr of type Integer.
  2. Next, we use the GetAttr function to retrieve the attributes of the specified file, “Example.xlsx”, located in the given path.
  3. The returned value is then assigned to the attr variable.

The GetAttr function, in this example, simply retrieves and returns the attributes of the given file or folder. It does not perform any changes to the file or folder itself.

Example 2: Combining Attributes

VBA’s GetAttr function allows us to retrieve multiple attributes of a file or folder by combining them. These attributes are represented by specific integer values, which can be combined using bitwise operators.

'Retrieve the Read-only and Hidden attributes of a file
Dim attr as Integer
attr = GetAttr("C:\Users\Owner\Desktop\Example.docx") And vbReadOnly And vbHidden
  1. In this code, we use the bitwise operator And to combine the Read-only and Hidden attributes, represented by the constants vbReadOnly and vbHidden.
  2. The combined value is then assigned to the attr variable.

By combining attributes in this manner, we can easily retrieve specific combinations of attributes without having to use multiple GetAttr function calls.

Example 3: Checking for Specific Attributes

The GetAttr function can also be used to check if a specific attribute is present in a file or folder. This can be done by using the bitwise operator And and the attribute’s corresponding constant value.

'Check if the Archive attribute is present in a file
If GetAttr("C:\Users\Owner\Documents\Example.txt") And vbArchive Then
  MsgBox "Archive attribute is present."
End If
  1. In this code, we first use the GetAttr function to retrieve the attributes of the specified file.
  2. Next, we use the And operator and the constant vbArchive to check if the Archive attribute is present in the file.
  3. If the condition is met, a message box is displayed to notify the user.

This example showcases how the GetAttr function can be used to perform conditional checks based on the attributes of a file or folder.

Example 4: Using With…End With

An alternative and more efficient way of using the GetAttr function is by encapsulating it within a With…End With statement. This statement allows us to bundle multiple function calls and property changes within a single code block.

'Retrieve attributes of multiple files within a folder
Dim file As String
Dim attr As Integer
With CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").GetFolder("C:\Users\Owner\Desktop")
  For Each file in .Files
    attr = .GetAttr(file) And vbArchive And vbHidden
    'Perform actions based on the file's attributes
  Next file
End With
  1. In this code, we first create a FileSystemObject instance using the CreateObject function.
  2. The GetFolder method is then used to specify the folder location whose files we want to retrieve attributes for.
  3. Within the With…End With statement, we use a For Each loop to iterate through each file within the folder.
  4. The GetAttr function is called with the file variable as its input parameter and the attributes are retrieved.
  5. Based on the attributes, we can then perform desired actions on the file or folder.

This example showcases how the With…End With statement can be used to efficiently retrieve attributes of multiple files or folders at once.


The GetAttr function in VBA is a useful tool for retrieving attributes of files and folders. It allows us to not only retrieve attributes, but also combine them, check for specific ones, and efficiently perform operations on multiple files or folders. By understanding the various ways in which this function can be used, developers can effectively incorporate it into their VBA projects for better file and folder management.

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Categories: VBA FunctionsTags: , , , Last Updated: September 30, 2023

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