VBA Prerequisites

What to Learn Before VBA

Discover the power and potential of VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), the programming language used in Microsoft Office applications, and how it can advance your career. Learn about the best methods for learning VBA, its applications, and how it can be used to automate tasks and write commands, even if you don't come from a computer programming background.

Key Insights

  • VBA, or Visual Basic for Applications, is a standard programming language created by Microsoft for use in Office programs such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
  • The language is designed for automating tasks, manipulating graphical-user-interface features, creating user-defined functions, and more.
  • Compared to other programming languages, VBA is considered relatively easy to learn and is a good starting point for those new to programming.
  • Before venturing into VBA, it's beneficial to be familiar with the Microsoft Office environment, possess basic programming skills, and have a rudimentary understanding of mathematical operations.
  • Noble Desktop offers an Excel VBA bootcamp that provides hands-on training in VBA.
  • Learning VBA can be beneficial in professional settings where Microsoft programs such as Excel are frequently used, offering opportunities for task automation and data exchange between Office apps.

VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) is the programming language used in Excel and other Microsoft Office applications. It has a range of applications for automating tasks and writing commands or functions. You might worry that VBA will be too hard to learn. This guide will help you understand the best methods for learning VBA and what you should study first to make the learning process easier. This way, you’ll be successful however you choose to apply your new skills. 

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. 

VBA Bootcamp: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, Learn From Experts, Free Retake, Small Class Sizes,  1-on-1 Bonus Training. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

VBA Bootcamp

  • Live & Hands-on
  • In NYC or Online
  • Learn from Experts
  • Free Retake
  • Small Class Sizes
  • 1-on-1 Bonus Training

Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, and Time Out

Learn More

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.

Is VBA Easy to Learn?

When compared to other programming languages, VBA is considered to be relatively easy to learn. If you don’t come from a computer programming background, VBA is a good starting point since it has been around for decades and is considered an extremely flexible language. Millions of people around the globe use VBA for task automation across Microsoft Office programs. In addition, through the online VBA community’s forums and posts, it’s easy to find answers to VBA-related questions and connect with others who work with this programming language. Although learning VBA requires studying programming, it’s possible to quickly pick up basic terms frequently used for VBA programming tasks in just a few weeks.

Learning VBA will be beneficial if you currently work in a professional setting in which Microsoft programs such as Excel are used. This language can be used to automate various repetitive tasks and processes, as well as to exchange data between different Office apps. For those interested in studying VBA, a great way to learn more about this language is to enroll in the Excel VBA bootcamp offered by Noble Desktop. 

What to Know Before Learning VBA

If you want to develop your VBA knowledge, the following are some basic skills you may consider familiarizing yourself with before embarking on learning this programming language:

Microsoft Office

Because VBA is the programming language built into most Microsoft Office applications, the more familiar you are with the Microsoft environment, particularly Excel, the easier it will be for you to learn VBA. Enrolling in an in-person or live online Excel class is an excellent way to learn more about navigating spreadsheets and worksheets and how VBA is used in this application to create macros and perform different task automation.

Programming Skills

Although you don’t have to be a Computer Scientist or expert programmer to work with VBA, having a basic understanding of coding can make it easier to learn this programming language. This is why some people find that familiarity with programming languages such as Python, which has applications for task automation, can help with VBA comprehension. Basic programming skills include debugging programs, writing programs, using functions, variables, loops, and procedures, applying algorithms for searching and sorting, and working with different data structures.

Basic Mathematical Skills

Working with VBA in Excel requires a basic understanding of how you can apply different mathematical operations to numerical data. While many learners studied algebra and other core math topics in high school, it’s helpful for those who wish to learn VBA to revisit these basic operations, such as using parentheses to define order, as well as working with multiplication, division, and exponentiation, which will likely be used when writing VBA code.

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 such as Excel and Access.
  • VBA is considered a relatively easy programming language to learn compared to other languages.
  • If you’re interested in studying VBA, you may consider familiarizing yourself with the Microcost Office suite of applications beforehand and brushing up on fundamental programming and mathematical skills.
  • Enrolling in one of Noble Desktop’s live online or in-person VBA classes is a great way to learn more about VBA.

How to Learn Excel

Master Excel with hands-on training. Excel is the leading spreadsheet application used by over 750 million people worldwide.

Yelp Facebook LinkedIn YouTube Twitter Instagram