List files recursively

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by Allen Browne, 30 June 2006    (for Access 95+)

Microsoft Access Tips for Serious Users

Provided by, June 2006, adapted from a Usenet posting by Albert Kallal. Updated January 2007.

List files recursively

This article illustrates how to list files recursively in VBA.
Output can be listed to the immediate window, or (in Access 2002 or later) added to a list box.

See List files to a table if you would prefer to add the files to a table rather than list box.

See DirListBox() for Access 97 or earlier.

Using the code

To add the code to your database:

  1. Create a new module.
    In Access 2000 - 2003, click the Modules tab of the database window, and click New.
    In Access 2007, click the Create tab on the ribbon, drop-down the right-most icon on the Other group, and choose Module.
    Access opens the code window.
  2. Copy the code below, and paste into your new module.
  3. Choose Compile in the Debug menu, to verify Access understands the code.
  4. Save the module with a name such as ajbFileList.

In the Immediate window

To list the files in C:\Data, open the Immediate Window (Ctrl+G), and enter:
    Call ListFiles("C:\Data")

To limit the results to zip files:
    Call ListFiles("C:\Data", "*.zip")

To include files in subdirectories as well:
    Call ListFiles("C:\Data", , True)

In a list box

To show the files in a list box:

  1. Create a new form.
  2. Add a list box, and set these properties:
        Name              lstFileList
        Row Source Type   Value List
  3. Set the On Load property of the form to:
        [Event Procedure]
  4. Click the Build button (...) beside this. Access opens the code window. Set up the event procedure like this:
        Private Sub Form_Load()
            Call ListFiles("C:\Data", , , Me.lstFileList)
        End Sub

The Code

Public Function ListFiles(strPath As String, Optional strFileSpec As String, _
    Optional bIncludeSubfolders As Boolean, Optional lst As ListBox)
On Error GoTo Err_Handler
    'Purpose:   List the files in the path.
    'Arguments: strPath = the path to search.
    '           strFileSpec = "*.*" unless you specify differently.
    '           bIncludeSubfolders: If True, returns results from subdirectories of strPath as well.
    '           lst: if you pass in a list box, items are added to it. If not, files are listed to immediate window.
    '               The list box must have its Row Source Type property set to Value List.
    'Method:    FilDir() adds items to a collection, calling itself recursively for subfolders.
    Dim colDirList As New Collection
    Dim varItem As Variant
    Call FillDir(colDirList, strPath, strFileSpec, bIncludeSubfolders)
    'Add the files to a list box if one was passed in. Otherwise list to the Immediate Window.
    If lst Is Nothing Then
        For Each varItem In colDirList
            Debug.Print varItem
        For Each varItem In colDirList
        lst.AddItem varItem
    End If

    Exit Function

    MsgBox "Error " & Err.Number & ": " & Err.Description
    Resume Exit_Handler
End Function

Private Function FillDir(colDirList As Collection, ByVal strFolder As String, strFileSpec As String, _
    bIncludeSubfolders As Boolean)
    'Build up a list of files, and then add add to this list, any additional folders
    Dim strTemp As String
    Dim colFolders As New Collection
    Dim vFolderName As Variant

    'Add the files to the folder.
    strFolder = TrailingSlash(strFolder)
    strTemp = Dir(strFolder & strFileSpec)
    Do While strTemp <> vbNullString
        colDirList.Add strFolder & strTemp
        strTemp = Dir

    If bIncludeSubfolders Then
        'Build collection of additional subfolders.
        strTemp = Dir(strFolder, vbDirectory)
        Do While strTemp <> vbNullString
            If (strTemp <> ".") And (strTemp <> "..") Then
                If (GetAttr(strFolder & strTemp) And vbDirectory) <> 0& Then
                    colFolders.Add strTemp
                End If
            End If
            strTemp = Dir
        'Call function recursively for each subfolder.
        For Each vFolderName In colFolders
            Call FillDir(colDirList, strFolder & TrailingSlash(vFolderName), strFileSpec, True)
        Next vFolderName
    End If
End Function

Public Function TrailingSlash(varIn As Variant) As String
    If Len(varIn) > 0& Then
        If Right(varIn, 1&) = "\" Then
            TrailingSlash = varIn
            TrailingSlash = varIn & "\"
        End If
    End If
End Function

How it works

ListFiles() is the main routine. It uses a collection to demonstrate how the file names can all be collected, and then output in different ways (list box, table, immediate window.)

FillDir() does the work of looping through the files in a folder that meet the file specification, and adding them to the collection. If we are to include the subfolders as well, the second part loops through all the files again to identify those that are directories. It ignores the "." and ".." entries, uses GetAttr() to identify the directories, and adds them to the colFolders collection. Then for each of the folders in this collection, the function calls itself again to handle the files in that folder. If that folder contains subfolders also, the function will continue to call itself recursively, to whatever depth is required.

The TrailingSlash() function just ensures that the folder names we are processing end with the slash character.

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This is a cached tutorial, reproduced with permission.

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What did you think of 'List files recursively'?


yosv says...

09 May 2008

This was very helpful, thanks!!!!!!!!


panman says...

07 Jun 2008

Good! It works.
But how can I open the files listed in the list box directly double clicking them?


R4mbo says...

04 Jan 2010



Piet Bouma says...

22 Dec 2012

Very helpfull, works great thanks

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