What is FileSystemObject (FSO) and How to Use it in VBA Excel?

The FileSystemObject is used to work with folders and files connected with the system. We can use it to access files, folders, drive, and text streams. It can not only access files, folders and text files but can also create. These operations are not limited to the hard disk of the system but any device connected to the file. It means you can access pen drives, cd roms, or virtually connected network drives.

These are the operations we can do using FileSystemObject in VBA:

For creating, opening, reading, writing and deleting text files.

For adding, altering and deleting folders.

To Iterate through files and folders.

For Copying and moving files or folders to other places.

For checking if a file or folder exists at location or not

How to Access FileSystemObject in VBA?

The file system object is a part of Microsoft Scripting Runtime Library. To access a FileSystemObject we need to connect or add a reference to the Microsoft Scripting Runtime Library or Scrrun.dll.

Note: The FileSystemObject does not support operation of binary files because the Scrrun.dll supports creation and manipulation of files using TextStream Object.

There are two methods for creating FileSystemObject in VBA:

1: Creating FSO object Using CreateObject method:

Using this method we first declare a variable object type. Then set the reference of FSO object to that variable using CreateObject:

Sub LearnFso()


 'Creating the object variable

  Dim fso As Object

 

 'Create the FileSystemObject using Create Object Method 

 Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

 Debug.Print fso.GetBaseName("E:\MTR\Feb'18 MTR")

End Sub

This method is dynamic and transferable. It means, if you are sharing the code to other systems, this code will work perfectly fine. It will not matter what version of Microsoft Runtime Scripting version you have.

The only drawback is that you will not be able to see the intellisense provided by VBA. You will have to depend on your knowledge to use all the properties and methods of FileSystemObject.

2: Creating FSO Object by Adding Reference to Microsoft Runtime Scripting

You can directly create a FileSystemObject in VBA using the new keyword. For that you will have to add a reference to the latest Microsoft Scripting Runtime in your system.

To add the reference, go to the references option in the tools menu. Here, find the Microsoft Scripting Runtime dll. Check it and click OK.

Now you are ready to create and use the FSO object.

Sub LearnFso()

  Dim fso as new FileSystemObject

  Debug.Print fso.GetBaseName("E:\MTR\Feb'18 MTR")

 End Sub

Or

Sub LearnFso()

  Dim fso as  FileSystemObject

  Set fso = New FileSystemObject  

  Debug.Print fso.GetBaseName("E:\MTR\Feb'18 MTR")

 End Sub

Both will work fine.

A major advantage of this method is that you will be able to see the intelligence of VBA. VBA will show you all the properties and methods of fso object. It will also tell what kind of variables it will accept and what kind of value it will return.

If you share this code to other systems, you will have to tell them to add reference to Scripting Runtime from tools otherwise they will get a compile error that the user-defined type is not defined. So it is like importing other programming languages.

Note that FSO is not a keyword. You can use it as a variable name. It is just a convention to name filesystemobject as fso. That is why some people confuse it being a keyword.

Both methods of creating FSO objects have their advantages and disadvantages that I have mentioned while explaining them. So use as per your need. In this article, I will use the second method of creating FileSystemObject.

Now that we know how to create a FileSystemObject in VBA, let's use this knowledge in doing some meaningful tasks. I mean let's jump to the examples.

Example 1: Get All The SubFolder in A Specified Folder

The first example we gonna see is of getting a the sub folder names from a specific folder.

Sub LearnFso()

' decaring variables that we will need

 Dim fso As FileSystemObject  ' Variable for the FileSystemObject

 Dim fdr As Folder            ' Variable for the base folder

 Dim subfdr As Folder         ' Variable for the sub folders

 Dim fdrpath As String 'to store path of base folder

 'Intializing the objects

 fdrpath = "D:\Downloads" 'Declaring the folder

 Set fso = New FileSystemObject 'Creating the fso object

 Set fdr = fso.GetFolder(fdrpath) 'Creating the folder object of given folder

 'loop to get all the sub folders name in

 For Each subfdr In fdr.SubFolders

  Debug.Print subfdr.Name

 Next subfdr

End Sub

When you run the above code this what you get.

Yeah! Thats my download folder. Don't concentrate on that.

How this worked?

Let's understand in steps:

1: Decaring variables that we will need

 

Dim fso As FileSystemObject  ' Variable for the FileSystemObject

Dim fdr As Folder            ' Variable for the base folder

Dim subfdr As Folder         ' Variable for the sub folders

 

First we declared all the variable that we will need in this example. The first variable is of course the fso as file sytem object. The two variables fdr and subfdr are of folder type. We will use the fso object to create a file type object instead of creating directly. The fdrpath is use variable is used to hold the path of the base folder of which we want to get all the sub folders.

 

 2: Intializing the objects

 

 fdrpath = "D:\Downloads" 'Declaring the folder

 Set fso = New FileSystemObject 'Creating the fso object

 Set fdr = fso.GetFolder(fdrpath) 'Creating the folder object of given folder

 

In this step we initialized all the objects that we had declared except subfdr. Note that we have intialized the fdr file variable using fso objects's method getFolder.

The GetFolder() method of FileSystemObject take path of a folder or directory as string and returns file type object.

 

3: loop to get all the sub folders name in the folder object

 

For Each subfdr In fdr.SubFolders

  Debug.Print subfdr.Name

Next subfdr

 

Here we have used a for each loop to loop through each subfolder in the fdr file object. We used the SubFolders property of the file object to loop.

We use the name property to get the names of each subfolder. And it is done.

Example 2: Get All File paths in A Folder and It's SubFolders

To get all the paths or fully qualified names  of all the files in a folder and it's subfolder, we need to add a few more lines in example 1 code.

Sub LearnFso()

Dim fso As FileSystemObject

Dim fdr As Folder    ' Variable for the base folder

Dim subfdr As Folder ' Variable for the sub folders

Dim fdrpath As String 'to store path of base folder

Dim fl As File        'to store file object

fdrpath = "D:\downloads"

Set fso = New FileSystemObject

Set fdr = fso.GetFolder(fdrpath)

'loop to get all the sub folders name in

For Each subfdr In fdr.SubFolders

 For Each fl In subfdr.Files  'to loop throgh each file

  Debug.Print fl.Path 'getting file name

 Next fl

Next subfdr

'to get the files of main folder

For Each fl In fdr.Files

 Debug.Print fl.Path

Next fl

End Sub

The Folder.Files() method is the method that returns the files in a subfolder. The File.Path() method returns the complete address of the file. 

We each have an inner loop to iterate through all the files in the subfolder of the main folder and its. 

To get the files of the main folder we use another loop.

Example 3: Save The File Names in a CSV file.

In the previous example we learned how to print the file paths of specific folders on the immediate window. In this example, we will learn how to save those paths in a CSV file. To do so we just need to add a few lines to the code. See the bolde code lines below.

Sub LearnFso()

Dim fso As FileSystemObject

Dim fdr As Folder    ' Variable for the base folder

Dim subfdr As Folder ' Variable for the sub folders

Dim fdrpath As String 'to store path of base folder

Dim fl As File        'to store file object

Dim fileList As TextStream 'A textstream object

fdrpath = "D:\downloads"

Set fso = New FileSystemObject

Set fdr = fso.GetFolder(fdrpath)

Set fileList = fso.CreateTextFile(fdrpath & "\File List in This Folder.csv", True, False)

'loop to get all the sub folders name in

For Each subfdr In fdr.SubFolders

 For Each fl In subfdr.Files  'to loop through each file

   fileList.Write fl.Path & ","

 Next fl

Next subfdr

'to get the files of main folder

For Each fl In fdr.Files

 fileList.Write fl.Path & ","

Next fl

 fileList.Close

End Sub

Here, we have  have declared a new object of FileStream type named fileList

We initialized the filelist variable with a filestream object using the below line.

Set fileList = fso.CreateTextFile(fdrpath & "\File List in This Folder.csv", True, False)

We use the method CreateTextFile of FSO to create a FileStream object. It creates a text file. This method accepts the name of a file with a complete path. The first variable is doing so. We use the .csv extension to create a csv file. The second variable is used to allow overwriting. The third argument is False to declare that it is not a binary file. 

In the loops, we replace the debug.print with filelist.Write method to write each file path in the file created. 

So yeah guys, this is how you can use the FileSystemObject. The FSO can be used for many more things, that we will discuss in the upcoming articles. If you have any doubts about this article of FSO related query, ask me in the comment section below.

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