How to Learn VBA Online

Discover the power of VBA, Microsoft's internal programming language for Office applications like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Learn how VBA can automate repetitive tasks, customize Office applications, and even how to start a career in this versatile field.

Key Insights

  • VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications, is a programming language created by Microsoft to be used in several Office programs, providing users with additional customizable features and automation capabilities.
  • With VBA, almost all operations that users can perform in Microsoft Office can be automated. This includes tasks such as data cleaning, text capitalization, table of contents creation, and solving complex calculations.
  • There are several options for learning VBA, including free online tutorials, in-person classes, live online classes, and self-paced online classes. Each method offers different benefits and challenges, allowing you to choose the learning format that best suits your needs.
  • When studying VBA online, it's important to choose a quiet place, learn the basics before tackling complex tasks, choose a reputable course, engage with the class material, and find someone who can help with challenging concepts.
  • Noble Desktop offers in-person and live online VBA courses, such as the Excel Programming with VBA Bootcamp, which teaches students how to apply macros to real-world situations and automate repetitive Excel tasks. Prior VBA knowledge isn't necessary, but intermediate Excel skills are recommended.
  • While the content doesn't provide specific salary figures, gaining proficiency in VBA can potentially open up new career opportunities and increase earning potential in roles that involve Microsoft Office applications, particularly Excel.

If you’re just starting to learn a new skill, you can find dozens of tips and resources online; learning VBA is no different.Microsoft created VBA, a programming language for applications such as Access, PowerPoint, and Excel. This flexible language allows users to perform tasks such as creating macros to automate repetitive data processing functions, as well as generating custom reports and forms. If you’ve always wanted to learn VBA, there are plenty of options at your fingertips. From free tutorials to live classes, your choices are outlined here so you can decide which learning format is best for you.

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.

Read more about what VBA is and why you should learn it

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.

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. 

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.

Free Intro 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

Comparing Online Methods with In-Person Learning 

A variety of learning options are available for those interested in studying how they can use VBA to automate repetitive tasks in Excel and other Microsoft Office applications. The three primary modes of learning VBA are in-person instruction, live online coursework, and asynchronous tutorials.

In-person VBA study offers students many learning perks, such as access to a computer lab with the most up-to-date software and support from an expert instructor. In addition, those who choose to learn in this interactive format can connect with other like-minded learners. Those who opt to study VBA in person receive immediate feedback and guidance on their work, which can help reinforce lessons and lead to greater retention.

Live online VBA study is another popular learning option. Like in-person study, live online coursework provides students with a real-time connection with expert instructors. This interactive, engaging learning format covers the same core VBA topics as in-person study but provides the added perk of being more accessible because it doesn’t require a commute to or from campus. Students who elect for live online study can complete coursework and attend regularly scheduled meetings from the comfort of their home or office space.

It can be challenging for those juggling VBA study with other life and professional commitments to attend regularly scheduled classes. For those individuals, asynchronous VBA tutorials are a great way to get started learning this programming language. Unlike live online or in-person study, learning VBA in a self-paced environment can be completed at any time of the day, at your own pace. Because lessons are pre-recorded, they can be watched and re-watched as often as necessary and paused for maximum retention. On-demand study is typically a more affordable option as well, which makes it a good option for learners interested in an overview of this topic. 

However, because of the sheer number of asynchronous VBA study options, it can be hard to decide which offers the most up-to-date content. In addition, because students don’t have access to an instructor, it can be difficult in self-paced study to find answers to questions. This is why on-demand training is a suitable learning format for those interested in learning VBA basics but may not be as effective for teaching more advanced programming concepts.

Tips to Succeed when Learning VBA Online

When studying VBA in the online environment, several important factors can affect the speed at which you learn and how well you retain information. The following are some tips to help you get the most out of your online VBA study:

  • Choose a quiet place to complete coursework. Whether it’s a local coffee shop or an office in your home, you will need to ensure this space has a strong internet connection, a comfortable chair, and is free from distractions.
  • Like any skill, learning VBA requires time and perseverance. Instead of trying to master all of its automation capabilities simultaneously, a more practical approach would be to begin with the basics, such as learning the Microsoft Office interface, before turning your attention more complex tasks.
  • When deciding which type of online learning is best for you, it’s essential to consider factors such as the cost of coursework, the length of the course, the time required each week for meetings and other requirements, as well as how reputable the educational provider is. Selecting a learning environment that combines real-world VBA examples and hands-on training with other coursework is also essential. This will help with learning this language and make it more likely that you can apply the skills you acquire with real datasets.
  • If you choose to study online, take advantage of your instructor’s VBA knowledge and training. Ask questions if you don’t understand a particular idea or concept. The more you reach out and engage with the class material, the more likely you will remember it in weeks or even months.
  • For students who elect to study through pre-recorded VBA video content and tutorials, you will not have access to an instructor in real time. That means finding someone who can help you with any challenging VBA concepts is crucial. Online forums are an excellent resource for finding others who study 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 is the programming language used in Microsoft Office applications to help automate tasks and customize the application.
  • When deciding which online learning type is best for you, it’s important to consider factors such as the educational provider, the type of course material that will be covered, the length of study, the cost of the training, and whether you will have access to an instructor.
  • Learning VBA has never been more accessible, thanks to the variety of excellent online resources currently offered. Students can select from live online study, asynchronous classwork, or even pre-recorded webinars, blogs, and community forums to learn VBA.
  • If you’re interested in studying VBA, enrolling in one of Noble Desktop’s in-person or live online VBA courses is a great learning option.
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