In general terms, a VBA tutorial is intended to provide existing programmers, or people with an extant knowledge of Visual Basic programming, how to apply the language to create data interrogation and presentation applications. As such, they’re fairly specialty in approach: assuming pre-existing knowledge and some understanding of how that knowledge might be applied to data interrogation.
The VBA tutorial may start from a heightened basic level (in Visual Basic terms), then: beginning with basic macro concepts, but assuming that everything being spoken about is at least familiar to the delegate. The course may cover the basics of programming, too: but again, with no prior experience of programming the delegate may struggle to keep up.
A VBA tutorial will always require that delegates have extensive knowledge of advanced Excel functions. Without either a pass in a relevant advanced Excel course, or demonstrable knowledge of advanced Excel use, the delegate will lose the thread of such a tutorial very quickly.
Essentially, the nature of a VBA tutorial self-selects appropriate delegates. The delegate who hasn’t attended an advanced Excel course, or who has no comparable knowledge of the higher end functions of the program, is unlikely to be aware that Visual Basic applications (that’s what VBA stands for) can be created and implemented within the Excel framework.
VBA allow users to develop bespoke solutions to specific problems of data interrogation and display. There are two essential purposes to the use of VBA: the first is to customise a workbook or group of workbooks so they perform highly special tasks for the user; and the second is to take long-winded daily tasks and make them happen at the touch of a button.
The basic standard for the start of the VBA tutorial, the macro, is essentially a program running behind Excel, which is triggered at the touch of a button. The button is incorporated into the worksheet – and the program to which it refers may talk only to that worksheet, or it may look up data in any specified workbook within a group. When pressed, the program executes fully and returns values wherever specified.
The macro is commonly used to take exhaustive daily or regularly performed spreadsheet functions, for example dragging out specific results from large batches of transactional data, and make them run in the background every time the button is pressed. It may also be used to create, as noted, more bespoke functions for specific data retrieval.
A VBA tutorial may allow the delegate to develop a better idea of the security issues involved with using macros (they can be used to release viruses) – and also to gain a deeper understanding of the language used to make them work. A moderately skilled Excel user, for example, can create a macro simply by carrying out the task to be automated and recording it in the built in Visual Basic application – but ion so doing, he or she will not learn how to interrogate and debug the program itself.
Excel is all about knowledge. The more you understand, the more finely you can use the software.
Editor’s Note: Marko Jergic is the founder and Managing Director of Enliten IT, software training and a consulting company that provides organisations of all sizes with tailored training solutions on Microsoft and Adobe technologies. He loves writing articles related to VBA tutorial in his free time.