What Is Scripting Dictionary VBA?


Angela Bailey

The Scripting Dictionary in VBA is a powerful tool that allows you to store and retrieve data using key-value pairs. It is similar to a collection or an array, but with additional functionality and flexibility. In this article, we will explore what the Scripting Dictionary is, how it works, and how you can use it in your VBA projects.

What is the Scripting Dictionary?
The Scripting Dictionary is an object provided by the Microsoft Scripting Runtime library that enables you to create a dictionary-like structure in VBA. It provides a way to store data using unique keys and retrieve the corresponding values associated with those keys. This makes it easier to organize and access your data efficiently.

Creating a Scripting Dictionary
To use the Scripting Dictionary in your VBA code, you first need to add a reference to the Microsoft Scripting Runtime library. To do this, go to the VBA editor, click on “Tools” in the menu bar, select “References,” and then check “Microsoft Scripting Runtime” from the list.

Once you have added the reference, you can declare and create a new instance of the Scripting Dictionary using the following syntax:

Dim dict As New Scripting.Dictionary

This creates an empty dictionary object named ‘dict’ that we can use to store our data.

Adding and Retrieving Data
Now that we have created our dictionary, let’s see how we can add data to it. To add items to the dictionary, we use the ‘Add’ method. Each item in the dictionary consists of a unique key and its corresponding value.

dict.Add "Key1", "Value1"
dict.Add "Key2", "Value2"
dict.Add "Key3", "Value3"

In this example, we are adding three items to the dictionary, each with a unique key and a corresponding value.

To retrieve the values from the dictionary, we can use the key associated with each item. For example:

MsgBox dict("Key2")

This will display a message box with the value “Value2” because we are retrieving the value associated with “Key2”.

Removing Data
If you need to remove an item from the dictionary, you can use the ‘Remove’ method and specify the key of the item you want to remove.Remove “Key1”

This code will remove the item with “Key1” from the dictionary.

Checking if a Key Exists
You can also check if a specific key exists in the dictionary using the ‘Exists’ method. This method returns a Boolean value indicating whether or not the specified key is present in the dictionary.

If dict.Exists("Key2") Then
    MsgBox "The key exists!"
    MsgBox "The key does not exist!"
End If

This code snippet demonstrates how to check if “Key2” exists in our dictionary and display an appropriate message box accordingly.

Looping Through a Scripting Dictionary

One of the advantages of using a Scripting Dictionary is that it allows you to easily iterate over its items using various looping techniques. Let’s see how we can loop through our dictionary and access each key-value pair:

  • For Each..Next Loop:
  • Dim key As Variant
    For Each key In dict.Keys
        MsgBox "Key: " & key & ", Value: " & dict(key)
    Next key
  • For.Next Loop:
  • Dim i As Long
    For i = 0 To dict.Count - 1
        MsgBox "Key: " & dict.Keys(i) & ", Value: " & dict.Items(i)
    Next i
  • For Each.Next Loop (Using Items):
  • Dim value As Variant
    For Each value In dict.Items
        MsgBox "Value: " & value
    Next value

These examples demonstrate different ways to loop through the keys and values of a Scripting Dictionary using different approaches.


The Scripting Dictionary in VBA is a valuable tool for managing and organizing data using key-value pairs. Its flexibility and functionality make it a powerful asset in your coding arsenal. By understanding how to create, add, retrieve, remove, and loop through a Scripting Dictionary, you can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your VBA projects.

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