Microsoft Access VBA/VB6 Debugging Tips and Techniques: Basic Error Handling
Provided by: Luke Chung, FMS President
Professional applications need to include error handling to
trap unexpected errors. By using a consistent error handler, you can make
sure that when crashes occur, the user is properly informed and your program
exits gracefully. Basic error handling just hides the default behavior and
exits the program. Advanced error handling can include all sorts of features
such as saving information about the cause of the error and the environment
at the time, attempts to address the problem, and information for the user
on what they need to do next.
Verify Error Trapping Setting
Before you can use error handling, you need to understand
the Error Trapping setting. VB/VBA lets you to determine how it should
behave when errors are encountered. From the IDE, look under the Tools
Make sure error trapping is not set to “Break On All
Errors”. That setting will cause your code to stop on every error, even
errors you are properly handling with "On Error Resume Next".
"Break on Unhandled Errors" works in most cases but is
problematic while debugging class modules. During development, if Error
Trapping is set to "Break on Unhandled Errors" and an error occurs in a
class module, the debugger stops on the line calling the class rather than
the offending line in the class. This makes finding and fixing the problem a
We recommend using “Break in Class Modules” which stops on
the actual crashing line. However, be aware that this does not work if you
use raise errors in your classes via the Err.Raise command. This command
actually causes an “error” and makes your program stop if Error Trapping is
set to "Break in Class Modules".
Unfortunately, users can modify this setting before
launching your application so you should make sure this is properly set when
your application starts.
Programmatically, the option settings can be viewed and
modified using the Application.GetOption and Application.SetOption methods.
Function GetErrorTrappingOption() As String
Dim strSetting As String
Select Case Application.GetOption("Error Trapping")
strSetting = "Break on All Errors"
strSetting = "Break in Class Modules"
strSetting = "Break on Unhandled Errors"
GetErrorTrappingOption = strSetting
Here's a procedure that helps you change the setting:
Sub SwitchErrorHandling(fInit As Boolean)
' Copyright (c) FMS, Inc.
' Comments: Set or reset error handling routines
' This should be called when the program starts and ends.
' Avoids problems if the user has Break On All Errors which causes
' On Error Resume Next code to fail.
' Params : fInit TRUE for setting option, FALSE for resetting to original value
Const cstrOptionErrorTrapping As String = "Error Trapping"
Const cintBreakInClassModules As Integer = 1
Static intErrorTrapping As Integer
Static strSet As String
If fInit Then
strSet = cstrOptionErrorTrapping
intErrorTrapping = Application.GetOption(cstrOptionErrorTrapping)
Application.SetOption cstrOptionErrorTrapping, cintBreakInClassModules
' Do not reset error trapping if the static variable has been reset.
' This prevents an accidental reset to breaking on all errors
If strSet = cstrOptionErrorTrapping Then
Application.SetOption cstrOptionErrorTrapping, intErrorTrapping
Always include code in your startup routines to set the appropriate error
handling level. At the beginning of your application, call:
When your program finishes, reset this back to the original setting with: