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There are certain functions tailored specifically for certain platforms in VBA. One such function, designed for the Macintosh environment, is the ‘MacID’ function. This function, though niche, plays a pivotal role in certain file and application operations on the Mac. In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the ‘MacID’ function, exploring its purpose, syntax, and more.

VBA MacID Function – Syntax and Arguments

Purpose of the MacID Function

The ‘MacID’ function in VBA is used exclusively on the Macintosh platform. Its primary role is to convert a 4-character constant, often representing a file type or creator signature, into a value that VBA can use in specific functions like ‘Dir’, ‘Kill’, ‘Shell’, and ‘AppActivate’.

Syntax and Arguments

The syntax for the ‘MacID’ function is straightforward:



  • constant: This is a required argument. It’s a 4-character string that represents a Macintosh file type or creator signature.

3. Remarks and Notes

  • Platform-Specific: The ‘MacID’ function is specific to the Macintosh platform. Using it on other platforms, like Windows, will result in a runtime error.
  • File Types and Creator Signatures: On the Macintosh, files have both a type and a creator signature, each represented by a 4-character code. These codes help the system identify the nature of the file and the application that created it. The ‘MacID’ function allows VBA to interact with these codes.
  • Limited Use Cases: The primary use of ‘MacID’ is with the ‘Dir’, ‘Kill’, ‘Shell’, and ‘AppActivate’ functions. For instance, when searching for files of a specific type using ‘Dir’, the ‘MacID’ function can be used to specify the file type.

The VBA ‘MacID’ function, while not commonly used in cross-platform VBA scripts, remains an essential tool for those developing specifically for the Macintosh environment. It bridges the gap between VBA and the unique file identification system of the Mac, ensuring seamless file and application operations. As with all platform-specific functions, it’s crucial to ensure compatibility and handle potential errors when writing code that might be executed on different platforms. For Mac-focused developers, however, the ‘MacID’ function is a valuable tool in the VBA arsenal.

Walking Through the Examples of the VBA MacID Function

The ‘MacID’ function in VBA is a unique tool tailored for the Macintosh environment. Let’s explore its capabilities through five illustrative examples:

Example 1: Searching for Text Files

Dim FilePath As String
FilePath = Dir("/Users/username/Documents/", MacID("TEXT"))


In this example, we’re using the ‘Dir’ function to search for text files in the Documents directory. The ‘MacID(“TEXT”)’ function converts the “TEXT” constant, which represents plain text files on Mac, into a value that the ‘Dir’ function can use to filter the search.

Example 2: Deleting a Specific Application File

Dim AppPath As String
AppPath = "/Applications/"
If Dir(AppPath, MacID("APPL")) <> "" Then
    Kill AppPath
End If


Here, we’re checking if a specific application exists in the Applications directory using the “APPL” constant, which represents application files on Mac. If the application exists, the ‘Kill’ function is used to delete it.

Example 3: Activating a Specific Application

Dim AppName As String
AppName = "Calculator"
AppActivate AppName, MacID("APPL")


In this example, we’re using the ‘AppActivate’ function to bring the Calculator application to the foreground. The ‘MacID(“APPL”)’ function ensures that we’re targeting an application with the “APPL” signature.

Example 4: Searching for Image Files

Dim ImagePath As String
ImagePath = Dir("/Users/username/Pictures/", MacID("JPEG"))


We’re using the ‘Dir’ function to search for JPEG image files in the Pictures directory. The ‘MacID(“JPEG”)’ function converts the “JPEG” constant, which typically represents JPEG image files on Mac, into a value suitable for the ‘Dir’ function.

Example 5: Running a Shell Command on a Specific File Type

Dim ScriptPath As String
ScriptPath = "/Users/username/Scripts/"
If Dir(ScriptPath, MacID("SHLF")) <> "" Then
    Shell ScriptPath
End If


In this example, we’re checking if a specific shell script exists using the “SHLF” constant, which might represent shell script files on Mac (note: this is a hypothetical example, as Mac doesn’t use a “SHLF” constant for shell scripts). If the script exists, the ‘Shell’ function is used to execute it.

These examples showcase the versatility of the ‘MacID’ function in VBA when working within the Macintosh environment. By understanding its application in various scenarios, developers can ensure smoother file and application operations on Mac using VBA.


The VBA MacID function, while niche in its application, stands as a testament to the adaptability and versatility of VBA across different platforms. Tailored specifically for the Macintosh environment, it bridges the nuances of Mac’s file identification system with VBA’s robust file and application operation capabilities.

Through the examples we’ve explored, it’s evident that understanding such platform-specific functions is crucial for developers aiming for comprehensive and seamless cross-platform VBA solutions. Whether you’re a Mac-focused developer or a VBA enthusiast looking to expand your horizons, the MacID function offers a unique toolset, ensuring precision and compatibility in your Mac-based VBA endeavors. As always, with the power of automation comes the responsibility of ensuring accuracy and compatibility.

Happy coding, and may your VBA adventures on Mac be ever smooth and efficient!

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Categories: VBA FunctionsTags: , , , , , , Last Updated: October 1, 2023

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