How to Learn VBA

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is a versatile programming language built into Microsoft applications that helps automate repetitive tasks, making it a valuable asset in various professions and industries. With numerous learning methods available, including books, tutorials, and classes, you can choose the best way to learn this powerful tool based on your personal preferences and learning style.

Key Insights

  • VBA is a programming language integrated into Microsoft Office applications, providing automated solutions for several repetitive tasks, thus improving work efficiency and reducing the margin of error.
  • It is unnecessary to purchase VBA software separately, as it is included when purchasing Microsoft Office 365 products.
  • Learning options for VBA are varied, including in-person and live online courses, on-demand content, and free online tutorials. The choice depends on your learning style, personal preferences, and schedule.
  • Noble Desktop offers different VBA learning options, both in-person and live online, providing hands-on training on core VBA concepts and skills.
  • Aside from Noble Desktop, other educational providers such as Wall Street Prep, AcademyX, and Certstaffix Training offer specialized VBA courses.
  • VBA is not only an asset for individuals working in data analytics but also beneficial for those aiming to advance in their current data-related careers. The skills learnt can drastically improve workplace efficiency and lead to a quicker return on investment.

VBA is a programming language built into Microsoft applications such as PowerPoint and Excel. This flexible language helps automate repetitive tasks within the Microsoft environment. The number of options for learning VBA might be overwhelming at first glance. There are books, video tutorials, classes, and more to choose from; it all depends on your learning style and personal preferences. 

Here, we’ll discuss the various methods of learning VBA so you can decide how you’d like to get started.

What is VBA?

VBA, which is short for Visual Basic for Applications, is the standard programming language Microsoft created to be used in several Office programs, such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. VBA provides Microsoft users additional customizable features beyond those typically included in Office apps. Although VBA isn’t a stand-alone program, it can alter various graphical-user-interface features, including menus, dialogue boxes, and toolbars. Additionally, VBA has applications for automating different computer calculations and processes, accessing Windows APIs, and designing user-defined functions.

Because VBA is an event-driven tool, it can tell the user’s computer to execute one or more actions. To do so, you create custom macros (which is short for macroinstructions) by entering commands into a module devoted to editing. Macros are comprised of various characters whose input causes an output (an additional series of characters) that is capable of accomplishing different computing tasks. When using a Microsoft app, VBA allows users to perform various functions that extend beyond word processing or spreadsheet management. By using macros, Microsoft users can make repetitive tasks easier to accomplish. There’s no need to purchase VBA software separately since it’s included with Microsoft Office.

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What Can You Do with VBA?

VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications, is Microsoft’s internal programming language for apps like PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. This versatile language allows users to further customize Office applications beyond the options typically available using host apps. VBA functions by manipulating features of the graphical user interface, like dialogue boxes, menus, and toolbars. It also has applications for creating user-defined functions and automating computer calculations and processes. 

Because it is an event-driven tool, you can use VBA to instruct the computer to perform one or multiple actions. By entering commands into an editing module, Office users can create custom macros or sets of characters that, when entered, result in a new output that can perform specific computing tasks. A few examples of repetitive tasks VBA can automate are data cleaning and formatting, capitalizing text, creating a table of contents, merging multiple worksheets, and solving complex calculations.

One of the main benefits of working with VBA is that almost all operations that users can perform in Microsoft Office with a dialogue box, keyboard, or mouse can also be accomplished using VBA. And, when something is done with VBA once, you can execute it just as efficiently hundreds of times. In addition to using VBA to perform everyday tasks faster, it also has applications for adding functionality to different Office apps, as well as interacting with those who use your documents in a manner that’s specific to your professional needs. Those working with VBA can write code to accomplish tasks like displaying a pop-up message reminding users to save their work to a specific network drive.

In-Person VBA Training

Studying VBA in the in-person learning environment has many learning benefits. Students have access to a computer lab with the most up-to-date software and programs installed, and in-person study also allows students to connect with others on the same learning path. Because an expert instructor teaches all lessons, it’s possible to ask questions as they arise and receive guidance and support on classwork, which can help with learning and retention. Although in-person study requires commuting to and from campus for regularly scheduled meetings, this time and financial commitment are well worth it for extroverted learners who thrive studying with others in a classroom. 

Several in-person VBA training options are available from Noble Desktop and other top educational providers. Noble Desktop’s Excel Programming with VBA provides participants with hands-on training on core Excel skills, such as writing macros, automating repetitive tasks, creating custom Excel environments and applications, and working with custom Excel add-ins. Noble’s Excel Bootcamp is another excellent learning option for those interested in mastering Microsoft Excel’s core features, tools, and functions. This bootcamp provides instruction on beginner Excel concepts, such as basic functions and formatting, and more advanced training in using VLOOKUP, PivotTables, INDEX, MATCH, and creating macros. 

In addition to Noble’s Excel classes, Wall Street Prep currently has Excel VBA Bootcamp, a course designed to teach students how to write VBA code, build macros, and use VBA in the financial sector. In addition, AcademyX’s Excel VBA provides instruction on VBA programming topics like creating automated reports, executing complicated calculations, and debugging code. Certstaffix Training Excel VBA Programming is another option for those with prior experience working with Excel. This course teaches participants how to work with expressions, variables, and intrinsic functions, and handle different procedures.

Live Online VBA Training

Another great VBA learning option is to study in a live online environment. Just like in-person VBA study, which allows students to connect with expert instructors in real-time, live online coursework also provides a platform for participants to engage with instructors and ask questions as they arise. All students receive hands-on training with core VBA concepts and skills in the small group setting. In addition, because you can complete live online study from your home or office space, it doesn’t require commuting to and from campus in rush hour or searching for parking.

If you’re interested in studying VBA, many live online VBA classes are available from top educational providers. Noble Desktop’s Excel Programming with VBA is currently offered live online. Participants learn to use VBA for various Excel tasks, such as automation, creating custom commands, and developing new worksheet functions. Noble also has an Excel Bootcamp available in the live online format as well. Participants receive expert instruction about how to work with PivotTables and macros and perform advanced database functions, like INDEX and MATCH. Live online VBA study options are also available from other educational providers. 

NYIM Training’s Excel Programming with VBA provides participants with real-world VBA training, such as creating custom buttons, writing code to create new macros, and updating old macros to make them more efficient. ONLC Training Centers Excel Programming with VBA is another live online course option for those who want to learn more about automating tasks with VBA scripts and macros. Those enrolled receive instruction on how to work with PivotTable objects, as well as how to debug code. 

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

If you’re looking for an overview of VBA but aren’t ready to commit to regularly scheduled meetings, you can start learning more about Excel and VBA for free online. In Noble Desktop’s Top 10 Beginner Excel Tricks You Need to Know webinar, participants receive an hour of instruction on fundamental Excel skills, such as autofill, absolute cell reference, data validation, and Excel shortcuts. This pre-recorded webinar provides a beginner-friendly overview of this industry-standard spreadsheet app and is a great first step toward learning more about Excel. 

Other top educational providers also offer free instruction on VBA and Excel. Coursera’s Excel/VBA for Creative Problem Solving Specialization is a set of three classes that provide learners with specialized instruction on VBA and other Excel topics. This beginner-friendly specialization teaches participants how to solve creative problems using VBA and create professional VBA projects to demonstrate VBA skills. In addition, LinkedIn Learning currently offers Excel: Macros and VBA for Beginners, a 40-minute lecture on how to use VBA and create macros for cutting down on the time needed to complete repetitive Excel tasks.

Read more about free VBA videos and online tutorials

On-Demand VBA Classes

In addition to in-person and live online VBA training options, self-paced learning is another popular form of study. One of the main benefits of on-demand VBA study is that many learning options are available. Online tutorials, blogs, webinars, courses, and video content are offered by many top educational providers, with a focus specifically on VBA and a more general focus on how to use this programming language for various Excel tasks. Learners can also select from short video content that spans just a few minutes or more intensive video lessons that offer hours of instruction.

Unlike in-person or live online study, self-paced VBA training is often pre-recorded, which means that students can access videos and materials anytime and from any location. It’s possible to pause lessons or re-watch them as often as necessary to retain the information. In addition, some on-demand VBA content is available for free or for a much lower price than live online and in-person study, which makes it an affordable study option. 

Because so much content is available about VBA, it might be tricky to know which option is the best for you. In addition, those looking to learn VBA in the asynchronous environment will not have access to an instructor, making it harder to find answers to questions or learn more complex topics. For this reason, self-paced VBA courses provide a solid beginning point in your learning journey. However, those interested in studying more advanced VBA programming concepts will likely need the support of an instructor down the line.

Which Learning Method is Right for Me?

With so many resources available to help beginners learn VBA, you might not be confident about which one is best for you. Everyone has their own learning style and preferences, and you can experiment with multiple tools and learning methods to see which one feels right for you. One of the great things about directing your learning is that you can pick and choose which combination of tools is most helpful rather than sticking with those a teacher chooses. 

It’s also important to consider your current schedule before deciding on a learning method. If you balance responsibilities like a full-time job or family commitments, it may not be feasible to devote the necessary time to a structured course with regularly occurring meetings. In this case, a self-paced class or video tutorial may be a better learning option since you can access them as your schedule permits. On the other hand, those with a more flexible schedule might prefer a structured course taught in-person or live online.

Why Learn VBA?

Learning VBA opens many professional doors for those working in data analytics and can also help individuals advance in their current data-related careers. It has many applications for those who work with spreadsheet programs such as Excel. Because it can create automated solutions to many of Excel’s more tedious manual processes, VBA knowledge is an asset that spans professions and industries. Compared to other coding languages, VBA is easy to learn because it incorporates many intuitive features. Unlike other programming languages that require add-ons or additional software, VBA comes fully integrated into Office programs.

Another reason many professionals are interested in learning VBA is to improve work quality. When multiple employees are working on the same repetitive tasks, they may each use a different procedure to do so. VBA incorporates an automated system, reducing the margin of error and allowing tasks to be completed much faster than would otherwise be possible. Since work can be finished faster and with fewer errors using automated macros, it’s a cost-cutting skill that can drastically improve workplace efficiency and lead to a quicker investment return. 

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Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

VBA is a coding language that’s relied on by millions of people around the globe for automating various tasks in Microsoft Office. This language is considered to be one of the easiest coding languages to learn for those who don’t have a background in computer science. It’s likely that if you have experience working with Microsoft products such as Excel, you already have a basic knowledge of VBA, perhaps without even realizing it. One of the best parts about learning VBA is that you don’t have to master its syntax but need only to understand the logic behind the macros you create. With the help of Excel’s Macro Recorder, it’s possible to record actions with the keyboard or mouse, save them, then run a macro to perform this action as often as needed. 

Some skills can expedite the learning process if you’re interested in studying VBA. Those with a background with basic analytical skills often acquire VBA faster than those who don’t have prior experience working with analytics. Familiarity with coding or object-oriented programming can also make learning VBA faster and easier. In addition, basic familiarity with Microsoft 365 products, such as Excel, is a benefit when studying VBA since most people who learn this language use it for Excel-related tasks.

Because all Microsoft products share a common programming language that comes with the application, purchasing Office 365 products will include VBA for no additional cost. Microsoft Office 2021 Home and Business is available as a one-time purchase for $250. Microsoft 365 Apps for Business costs $8.25/user/month, and Microsoft 365 Business Standard is offered for $12.50/user/month.

Read about how difficult it is to learn VBA

Learn VBA with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

A great way to learn about VBA is to sign up for in-person or live online VBA coursework. Noble Desktop’s Excel Programming with VBA Bootcamp is a hands-on course that teaches students fundamental VBA concepts, such as applying macros to real-world situations and performing Excel automation for repetitive tasks. This class is offered in the live online format and in-person in Manhattan. Although prior VBA knowledge isn’t necessary to take this course, participants should have intermediate Excel skills, such as familiarity with VLOOKUP, IF statements, and PivotTables. All participants have the option of a free class retake to brush up on course material. 

If you’re looking to learn more about how VBA is used in Excel, Noble also offers several live online and in-person Excel courses. Excel Programming with VBA teaches students how to create macros that automate Excel tasks, even ones in which the data isn’t consistently formatted. For beginners, Excel Level I: Fundamentals is also available, which covers essential Excel functions, formatting, and printing procedures. Excel Level II: Intermediate provides students with instruction on core Excel concepts, like summarizing data using PivotTables, functions such as VLOOKUP and SUMIFs, and performing Sort & Filter on databases. In addition, Excel Level III: Advanced is geared toward those with a solid background in using Excel but who want to learn complex database functions such as INDEX and MATCH, creating macros, and using What-If Analysis.

Key Insights

  • VBA knowledge is a helpful skill that improves work quality by reducing the margin of human error. It also can save users valuable time by automating repetitive tasks.
  • If you’re interested in working with VBA, purchasing this programming language is not necessary. It’s included when you buy Microsoft Office 365 for no additional cost.
  • When deciding which VBA learning format is best for you, you must consider whether your schedule permits you to study in real-time or if asynchronous VBA content is a better option.
  • Noble Desktop offers in-person and live online courses in VBA and Microsoft Excel if you want to study VBA.
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