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Excel/Taking attendance & keeping track of votes of a group using a barcode scanner


QUESTION: Mr. Ogilvy,

I don't know if you can help with this, or if there is a more appropriate expert.  

We use excel 2013 to keep track of attendance of meeting we hold for our members. At these meetings the members also vote on certain subjects.

Currently, we have members sign in on our attendance paper and then go through the paper name by name, find each name in the spreadsheet and write a X in the correct cell if they are present. If they are not present, we leave the cell blank.

We have about 100 members, so it takes considerable time to enter attendance.

What I would like to be able to do:

Each of our members wears an ID with their membership number encoded in a barcode. Excel inputs the number when we scan the barcode. I want to be able to scan a members's ID, have Excel read the number, find the correct members (row) and mark an X in the correct cell.

Using an example, I want Bob Smith to walk into our meeting, scan his ID card and have Excel properly mark him as present by putting an X in the column next to his name. Then during the meeting, if we vote on something and Bob Smith votes in favour, he would scan his id card and it would register an X in the next column over.

It seems to me this should be possible, but I cannot figure out how to make it work.  I tried to make my description of the situation as clear as possible.  If you are confused about what I am asking, or need clarification on something I didn't explain well, please let me know.

Thank you for any help you can offer.

ANSWER: Warren,

Usually bar code readers have software that allows them to simulate typing in the barcode number.  This is how most interact with Excel.  So the cursor would be positioned on a specific blank cell and then the member would do the scan.  The barcode reader would "type" the barcode number into the cell and hit enter to complete the "edit".  At that point, you would need vba code in Excel that would be triggered by this entry.  This code would take care of the rest of what you want to do.  At its simplest, the the code would find the number produced by the barcode reader in a list of numbers and names, translate the number to the correct name, find the name on the signin worksheet and enter the X  then move back to the entry cell to accept the next scanned entry.    

As stated, the code would need to be able to access a list/data in one of the worksheet where bar code and related information (name) are stored.

So this could all be done using vba code (a built in capability of excel).  However, all would need to be planned out and the signout form identified as well as all the procedures and rules.  then code could be written and tested.  If you are not code literate then this would be difficult because you could not take an active role in implementing this or in fixing it if things changed or a problem occurred.

Here is a previous question where I provide code to a question similar to what you describe:

It almost looks like you copied this question and modified it slightly to match your description.  

Nonetheless, if you want to send me a sample workbook and directions on what you want, I can adapt that code to your particular situation.
Tom Ogilvy

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QUESTION: Thank you for your response. Can i email you the excel sheet with instructions on how it should be set up?


Isn't that what I said:

>Nonetheless, if you want to send me a sample workbook and directions on what you want, I can adapt that code to your particular situation.

so to be clear - yes, email the excel sheet with instructions on how it should be set up

Tom Ogilvy

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Tom Ogilvy


Selected as an Excel MVP by Microsoft since 1999. Answering Excel questions in Allexperts since its inception in 2001. Able to answer questions on almost all aspects of Excel's internal capabilities. If seeking a VBA solution, please specify that in your question itself so I give you the answer you want. [Excel has weak protection - if you are distributing an application, I don't answer questions on how to protect your project from your users.]


Extensive experience.

Master of Science (MS) degree Operations Research (ORSA)

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Microsoft MVP in Excel.

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