Excel Learning Tricks & VBA & Formulas with Examples
….. to be continued
Microsoft Excel 2010 is an extremely powerful tool that you can use to manipulate, analyze, and present data. Sometimes though, despite the rich set of features in the standard Excel user interface (UI), you might want to find an easier way to perform a mundane, repetitive task, or to perform some task that the UI does not seem to address. Fortunately, Office applications like Excel have Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a programming language that gives you the ability to extend those applications.
VBA works by running macros, step-by-step procedures written in Visual Basic. Learning to program might seem intimidating, but with some patience and some examples such as the ones in this article, many users find that learning even a small amount of VBA code makes their work easier and gives them the ability to do things in Office that they did not think were possible. Once you have learned some VBA, it becomes much easier to learn a whole lot more—so the possibilities here are limitless.
By far the most common reason to use VBA in Excel is to automate repetitive tasks. For example, suppose that you have a few dozen workbooks, each of which has a few dozen worksheets, and each of those needs to have some changes made to it. The changes could be as simple as applying new formatting to some fixed range of cells or as complex as looking at some statistical characteristics of the data on each sheet, choosing the best type of chart to display data with those characteristics, and then creating and formatting the chart accordingly.
Either way, you would probably rather not have to perform those tasks manually, at least not more than a few times. Instead, you could automate the tasks by using VBA to write explicit instructions for Excel to follow.
VBA is not just for repetitive tasks though. You can also use VBA to build new capabilities into Excel (for example, you could develop new algorithms to analyze your data, then use the charting capabilities in Excel to display the results), and to perform tasks that integrate Excel with other Office applications such as Microsoft Access 2010. In fact, of all the Office applications, Excel is the one most used as something that resembles a general development platform. In addition to all the obvious tasks that involve lists and accounting, developers use Excel in a range of tasks from data visualization to software prototyping.
Despite all of the good reasons to use VBA in Excel 2010, it is important to remember that the best solution to a problem might not involve VBA at all. Excel has a large range of features even without VBA, so even a power user is unlikely to be familiar with them all. Before you settle on a VBA solution, search the Help and online resources thoroughly to make sure that there is not a simpler way.