This article will explore how Data Analysts use VBA for daily work tasks.
What is VBA?
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is a programming language used in Microsoft Excel, as well as other Microsoft 365 applications, such as Word and Outlook. In Excel, VBA provides users with a tool for writing functions and commands that can be used to automate repeated spreadsheet tasks that would otherwise have to be manually completed. Once a macro is recorded, it’s stored in Excel in VBA code. From there, it can be edited as needed by using the VBA Editor tool. VBA enables Excel users to program macros so that normally time-consuming tasks or actions can be completed with one keyboard click.
Why do Data Analysts use VBA?
Data Analysts are in charge of cleaning and analyzing large datasets in order to extract useful insights from the numbers. These insights are then presented visually and shared with decision-makers at organizations so that they can be acted on. One of the main tools Data Analysts use to perform these steps is Microsoft Excel.
VBA is well-suited for basic Excel automation tasks. Data Analysts often use it in tandem with other programming languages, such as Python, for completing more complex analyses. For Data Analysts who have already recorded macros in VBA, they can easily make changes by accessing the Visual Basic Editor. In order to do so, the Analyst selects the “Developer” tab, then clicks on “Visual Basics” (or enters the shortcut “Alt + F11”). The Visual Basic Editor provides a complete integrated development environment in which Analysts can make new macros, as well as edit existing ones.
In the 1990s, Microsoft created VBA so that it could go along with its apps. For this reason, the code is considered to be intuitive. Because VBA is Microsoft’s introductory language, it does not require users to memorize long phrases or curly braces. Instead, it’s only necessary for the Data Analyst to write what they want to do. In addition, because VBA has been around for decades, there are many help forums and forms of documentation available to help Data Analysts work with this language.
How is VBA Used for Data Analytics?
The following are a few of the many ways Data Analysts can use Excel’s VBA to help them with daily job tasks:
- Using VBA macros in Excel provides Data Analysts with an easy way to create, format, share, or print reports. Graphical representations such as graphs or charts can be included to help non-technical audience members easily interpret the findings.
- VBA provides Data Analysts with a full environment for writing code. It allows them to create their own functions, build custom code, and automate a variety of tasks.
- Because not all Data Analysts are formally trained in computer programming, Excel VBA offers a user-friendly environment with a syntax similar to English that’s easy to learn.
- For automating Excel tasks or processes, VBA performs quite well. It replaces repetitive activities with visual controls and macros. Not only that, but VBA ensures that the task that’s being repeated is executed in exactly the same way each time, which ensures that mistakes aren’t being made.
- The Analyst ToolPak in Excel is another helpful feature of this application that helps Data Analysts more easily perform complicated analytics on data. This add-in can be used to save time on detailed statistical analysis. The user enters the data, as well as the parameters required for each analysis, and the Analysis ToolPak applies the most suited macro functions for calculating the results. An output table is then created, such as a chart, to visually display the results. Data analysis functions can only be used on one Excel worksheet at a time. For users who wish to analyze data on grouped worksheets, the results will be shown on the first worksheet and the remaining worksheets will display empty formatted tables. In order to analyze data on the remaining worksheets, Data Analysts must recalculate the analysis tool for every worksheet. The Analysis ToolPak contains many helpful functions for Data Analysts, such as:
- ANOVA analysis tools can be used to perform variance analyses.
- The regression analysis tool helps Data Analysts and Statisticians analyze how one dependent variable is influenced by various independent variables.
- The sampling analysis tool generates a population sample. In order to do so, it treats the input range as a population.
- The two-sample t-test analysis tool provides a way for Data Analysts to test for the equality of a given population’s means in a given sample.
- The histogram analysis tool is useful for calculating how often a value occurs in a given dataset.
- The rank and percentile analysis tool generates a table that provides both the percentage rank and ordinal of all values in a dataset.
- The descriptive statistics analysis tool can create a report detailing the univariate statistics for the data included in the input range.
- Correlation worksheet functions are helpful for calculating the correlation coefficient between two variables.
- The moving average analysis tool provides Data Analysts with pertinent information on trends that would not be available by a basic average of historic data. This tool has applications for forecasting trends such as inventory or sales.
- The Exponential Smoothing analysis tool is used for predicting a value based on the prior period’s forecast, which has been adjusted to account for any errors in the previous forecast.
While Excel VBA isn’t the only tool in a Data Analyst’s toolbelt for analyzing data, this programming language is a go-to for most Data Analysts because it is easy to learn and use, and can automate many tedious and time-consuming Excel tasks.
Get Started Learning Excel with Hands-On Classes
A great way to learn more about how to work with VBA is to enroll in one of Noble Desktop’s
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