Microsoft KB Archive/254889

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Article ID: 254889

Article Last Modified on 1/27/2007


  • Microsoft Office 2000 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2000 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Outlook 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q254889


The following symptom occurs with Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications code that relies on the Dir function to return an empty string as the termination condition of a file-processing loop: The code runs endlessly if the files are modified while the loop is being run.


The Dir function is not returning a zero-length string ("") when called repeatedly against a changing list of files. The list of files in a folder will change if your macro modifies any of the files in the folder.


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You can work around this behavior by avoiding the use of a zero-length string as the termination condition of the file-processing loop. As an example of this approach, follow these steps:

  1. If it does not already exist, create the folder C:\Temp\Testfiles.
  2. In that folder, create two Word documents, Temp1.doc and Temp2.doc.
  3. Start Microsoft Word and press ALT+F11 to start the Visual Basic Editor.
  4. On the Insert menu, click Module.
  5. In the new module, enter the following lines of code:

    Sub WorkAround()
       Dim i As Integer
       Dim docDoc As Document
       With Application.FileSearch
          .LookIn = "c:\temp\testfiles\"
          .FileName = "*.doc"
          For i = 1 To .FoundFiles.Count
             msgbox "File #" & i & " is " & .FoundFiles(i)
             'use the file here
             Set docDoc = Documents.Open(FileName:=.FoundFiles(i))
             'dirty the doc and force it to be saved
             docDoc.Range.InsertAfter "test"
             docDoc.Close (wdSaveChanges)
          Next i
       End With
    End Sub
  6. Click anywhere in the following code line

    Sub WorkAround()

    and then press F8 repeatedly to step through the procedure. Notice that the procedure terminates after processing the two files.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.


The Dir function returns a string containing the name of the first file that it finds to match the pattern identified by its <pathname> argument.

The syntax of the Dir function is

Dir[(pathname[, attributes])]

The pathname may include the wildcards * or ? to specify a collection of files. To get any additional file names that match pathname, call Dir again with no arguments. Provided that the collection of files is not being modified during the process, Dir returns a zero-length string ("") after the last matching file has been identified.

If files in the collection are modified while a loop listing them is taking place however, the modified files will reappear in the list, and the Dir function may never return a zero-length string. As a result, loops that rely on finding a zero-length string as their termination condition may iterate endlessly.


For more information about the Visual Basic for Applications Dir function, in the Visual Basic Editor, click Microsoft Visual Basic Help on the Help menu, type dir in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topic.

Additional query words: OFF2000

Keywords: kbbug kbfix KB254889