VBA – a Very Beneficial Addition?
Just kidding – VBA actually stands for Visual Basic for Applications. And yes, it’s a programming language. In this case one you can use with the Microsoft Office suite.
So – why would you need to learn a programming language? How easy is it? And what would you gain?
How VBA can help you
Suppose you have a task that needs to be done more than once. Perhaps you’re making the same change to a complete set of Excel spreadsheets, for example.
It’s boring. It’s repetitive. And it’s a huge waste of your time. You could simply ‘record’ each of the steps you take to finish your work on the first sheet. Then use that ‘recording’ (it’s called a macro) to do exactly the same task again. With each of the other sheets. In seconds.
Which will leave you time to do something much more interesting. (And probably a lot more useful).
As it happens, that’s something that needs almost no programming knowledge at all. But with surprisingly little training you could build ‘mini-programs’ to do many other repetitive jobs. Things your business needs, but which take needless time and effort to do, time after time, using just a mouse and a keyboard.
Looking to help your team work more efficiently? Then giving them the chance to learn VBA could definitely help!
Easy to learn?
It’s very easy indeed to get started with VBA, and there are plenty of online resources to help you along the way. Even so, it’s always a good idea to get some help when you’re starting out. It will save you time. It will stop you making avoidable mistakes. And it will ensure you don’t develop bad habits at the outset.
Never used a programming language before? Then it’ll take a little longer – but it really isn’t difficult.
If you have done some programming you’ll master the basics very quickly indeed. And you should see the benefits right away.
So what are the benefits?
Ever wanted to do more with Excel? Then VBA gives you the tools to do what once seemed impossible.
As a programmer you don’t just ‘record your steps’ – you’re in control. You use VBA commands to tell Excel exactly what to do. And how to do it.
Which could include things it doesn’t do at the moment. Such as analysing your data. Creating graphs and displays for your reports – automatically. And connecting it to other programs – like Access – to automate your business processes.
With VBA you can do much more with Excel, and do it faster and more efficiently.
And if your team are beginners with Excel, you can create user forms to make their work easier (and to help them work in the way you want, and to avoid mistakes).