If you work with Excel spreadsheets a lot, there is a good chance that you have run into a VBA guru at some point – i.e., a person who is able to do seemingly magical things with their spreadsheets in very little time. They use something called “VBA” to make spreadsheets do things on their own. So what is VBA in Excel?
VBA is Visual Basic for Applications, a version of Microsoft’s Visual Basic 6 programming language. People who know this fairly simple language can create programs that run within Excel. In fact, VBA can be used from within Excel to run certain other programs, including Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer. With Explorer, VBA can import data from the web and manipulate webpages. While true programmers might not like certain limitations that exist in VBA, for people who want to save time using Excel, it can be a great tool. [Visual_Basic_for_Applications – Wikipedia. Downloaded October 20, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_for_Applications]
So what can a VBA guru do with VBA in Excel? Here are a few things I’ve done lately (I’m not a guru yet, but I’m getting there): (1) Take data from an Excel worksheet, format it, and export it to a new Word document, (2) Create forms for easy entry of data into Excel, (3) Manipulate all data within a worksheet, and (4) Navigate to a specific webpage, based on user input. These are just samples, and the potential for innovation and new applications is infinite.
Anything you can do manually in Excel can be done in VBA. But why would you go to the trouble of using VBA to do something you could do manually? If you have to do the specific task thousands of times, VBA can save you hours and hours of work. The bottom line is that VBA in Excel is an amazing tool. Fortunately, it is fairly accessible and can be learned quickly.
Visual_Basic_for_Applications – Wikipedia. Downloaded October 20, 2010 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_Basic_for_Applications.