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What is Visual Basic for Applications (VBA Overview) |
Where are Excel Macros Stored |
VBA Project Overview

What is Visual Basic for Applications (VBA Overview)?, Where are Excel Macros Stored?, VBA Project Overview

Microsoft Excel VBA Tutorial

Microsoft Excel Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), is one the most advanced versatile tools on the market place today for developing advanced business, engineering and scientific tools.

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Microsoft Excel VBA Overview

What is Visual Basic for Applications or VBA?

  • Visual Basic for Applications or VBA is a computer programming language which is used to control Microsoft Excel's functionality or any other program for that matter that is VBA compatible.
    • VBA programs are also referred to as Excel Macros, VBA Macros, Macros...
    • Microsoft Excel as well as all major Microsoft Office products like Word, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook come standard with VBA. You do not have to purchase it.
  • Do not confuse VBA with VB.Net. VB.Net is VBA's "big brother" and while it shares many of VBA's good attributes, it is a lot more difficult to use and requires a lot of time and knowledge to master.
    • VBA on the other hand is very easy to operate and learn and can be used as a jumping off point to get into VB.NET once you have used it for a bit.
  • VBA is used for tasks that are impossible to do with formulas or Excel's built in features alone.
  • VBA controls Microsoft Excel by means of writing and running a procedure which is also referred to as a macro.
  • In order to command Microsoft Excel effectively using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Microsoft Excel’s operational capabilities must be well understood along with its program elements.
    • Advanced formula construction beyond the basics is not required since VBA basically eliminates the need to create those 1000 character mega formulas.

For example, the computer code below, called a Sub procedure, reads the Data worksheet and if it finds A in column A on that sheet, it copies and pastes that row to the Output worksheet. You write these procedures in the Visual Basic Editor in what are called modules which can be viewed by pressing Alt+F11 in Microsoft Excel.

Where are Excel Macros Stored and Run?

  • VBA code is typed in the VBA Editor in what are called modules (pictured below)
    • A module resembles a Word document in both organization and typing
    • You type commands in these modules then run them to control Microsoft Excel. Can you read the commands in the picture and figure out what Excel element is being commanded?
  • The VBA modules themselves are organized in what is called a VBA project
  • A VBA project is defined as a collection of modules and other programming elements
    • When a new workbook file is created in Microsoft Excel, a new VBA project is automatically created and associated with that workbook
    • A workbook can contain only 1 VBA project
  • You add VBA modules, code and other elements to a VBA project when you need them
  • You run your macros from the workbook they were created in. You need workbook open in Excel to run its code
VBA Editor, VBA Module, VBA Procedure

Excel VBA Code (Click to Enlarge)



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