Getting started with excel-vba

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Remarks

Microsoft Excel includes a comprehensive macro programming language called VBA. This programming language provides you with at least three additional resources:

  1. Automatically drive Excel from code using Macros. For the most part, anything that the user can do by manipulating Excel from the user interface can be done by writing code in Excel VBA.
  2. Create new, custom worksheet functions.
  3. Interact Excel with other applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Notepad, etc.

VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. It is a custom version of the venerable Visual Basic programming language that has powered Microsoft Excel's macros since the mid-1990s.

IMPORTANT
Please ensure any examples or topics created within the excel-vba tag are specific and relevant to the use of VBA with Microsoft Excel. Any suggested topics or examples provided that are generic to the VBA language should be declined in order to prevent duplication of efforts.

  • on-topic examples:

    Creating and interacting with worksheet objects
    The WorksheetFunction class and respective methods
    Using the xlDirection enumeration to navigate a range

  • off-topic examples:

    How to create a 'for each' loop
    MsgBox class and how to display a message
    Using WinAPI in VBA


Versions

VB

VersionRelease Date
VB61998-10-01
VB72001-06-06
WIN321998-10-01
WIN642001-06-06
MAC1998-10-01

Excel

VersionRelease Date
162016-01-01
152013-01-01
142010-01-01
122007-01-01
112003-01-01
102001-01-01
91999-01-01
81997-01-01
71995-01-01
51993-01-01
21987-01-01

Adding a new Object Library Reference

The procedure describes how to add an Object library reference, and afterwards how to declare new variables with reference to the new library class objects.

The example below shows how to add the PowerPoint library to the existing VB Project. As can be seen, currently the PowerPoint Object library is not available.

enter image description here

Step 1: Select Menu Tools --> References… enter image description here

Step 2: Select the Reference you want to add. This example we scroll down to find “Microsoft PowerPoint 14.0 Object Library”, and then press “OK”. enter image description here

Note: PowerPoint 14.0 means that Office 2010 version is installed on the PC.

Step 3: in the VB Editor, once you press Ctrl+Space together, you get the autocomplete option of PowerPoint. enter image description here

After selecting PowerPoint and pressing . , another menu appears with all objects options related to the PowerPoint Object Library. This example shows how to select the PowerPoint's object Application . enter image description here

Step 4: Now the user can declare more variables using the PowerPoint object library.

Declare a variable that is referencing the Presentation object of the PowerPoint object library. enter image description here

Declare another variable that is referencing the Slide object of the PowerPoint object library. enter image description here

Now the variables declaration section looks like in the screen-shot below, and the user can start using these variables in his code. enter image description here

Code version of this tutorial:

Option Explicit

Sub Export_toPPT()

Dim ppApp As PowerPoint.Application
Dim ppPres As PowerPoint.Presentation
Dim ppSlide As PowerPoint.Slide

' here write down everything you want to do with the PowerPoint Class and objects


End Sub
 

Declaring Variables

To explicitly declare variables in VBA, use the Dim statement, followed by the variable name and type. If a variable is used without being declared, or if no type is specified, it will be assigned the type Variant .

Use the Option Explicit statement on first line of a module to force all variables to be declared before usage (see ALWAYS Use "Option Explicit" ).

Always using Option Explicit is highly recommended because it helps prevent typo/spelling errors and ensures variables/objects will stay their intended type.

Option Explicit

Sub Example()
    Dim a As Integer
    a = 2
    Debug.Print a
    'Outputs: 2

    Dim b As Long
    b = a + 2
    Debug.Print b
    'Outputs: 4

    Dim c As String
    c = "Hello, world!"
    Debug.Print c
    'Outputs: Hello, world!
End Sub
 

Multiple variables can be declared on a single line using commas as delimiters, but each type must be declared individually, or they will default to the Variant type.

Dim Str As String, IntOne, IntTwo As Integer, Lng As Long
Debug.Print TypeName(Str)    'Output: String
Debug.Print TypeName(IntOne) 'Output: Variant <--- !!!
Debug.Print TypeName(IntTwo) 'Output: Integer
Debug.Print TypeName(Lng)    'Output: Long
 

Variables can also be declared using Data Type Character suffixes ($ % & ! # @), however using these are increasingly discouraged.

 Dim this$  'String
 Dim this%  'Integer
 Dim this&  'Long
 Dim this!  'Single
 Dim this#  'Double
 Dim this@  'Currency
 

Other ways of declaring variables are:

  • Static like: Static CounterVariable as Integer

When you use the Static statement instead of a Dim statement, the declared variable will retain its value between calls.

  • Public like: Public CounterVariable as Integer

Public variables can be used in any procedures in the project. If a public variable is declared in a standard module or a class module, it can also be used in any projects that reference the project where the public variable is declared.

  • Private like: Private CounterVariable as Integer

Private variables can be used only by procedures in the same module.

Source and more info:

MSDN-Declaring Variables

Type Characters (Visual Basic)

Getting Started with the Excel Object Model

This example intend to be a gentle introduction to the Excel Object Model for beginners.


  1. Open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE)
  2. Click View --> Immediate Window to open the Immediate Window (or ctrl + G):

enter image description here

  1. You should see the following Immediate Window at the bottom on VBE:

enter image description here

This window allow you to directly test some VBA code. So let's start, type in this console :

?Worksheets. 
 

VBE has intellisense and then it should open a tooltip as in the following figure :

enter image description here

Select .Count in the list or directly type .Cout to obtain :

?Worksheets.Count
 
  1. Then press Enter. The expression is evaluated and it should returns 1. This indicates the number of Worksheet currently present in the workbook. The question mark (? ) is an alias for Debug.Print.

Worksheets is an Object and Count is a Method. Excel has several Object (Workbook , Worksheet , Range , Chart ..) and each of one contains specific methods and properties. You can find the complete list of Object in the Excel VBA reference. Worksheets Object is presented here .

This Excel VBA reference should become your primary source of information regarding the Excel Object Model.

  1. Now let's try another expression, type (without the ? character):
Worksheets.Add().Name = "StackOveflow"
 
  1. Press Enter. This should create a new worksheet called StackOverflow. :

enter image description here

To understand this expression you need to read the Add function in the aforementioned Excel reference. You will find the following:

Add:  Creates a new worksheet, chart, or macro sheet. 
The new worksheet becomes the active sheet. 
Return Value: An Object value that represents the new worksheet, chart,
 or macro sheet.
 

So the Worksheets.Add() create a new worksheet and return it. Worksheet(without s) is itself a Object that can be found in the documentation and Name is one of its property (see here). It is defined as :

Worksheet.Name Property:  Returns or sets a String value that 
 represents the object name.
 

So, by investigating the different objects definitions we are able to understand this code Worksheets.Add().Name = "StackOveflow" .

Add() creates and add a new worksheet and return a reference to it, then we set its Name property to "StackOverflow"


Now let's be more formal, Excel contains several Objects. These Objects may be composed of one or several collection(s) of Excel objects of the same class. It is the case for WorkSheets which is a collection of Worksheet object. Each Object has some properties and methods that the programmer can interact with.

The Excel Object model refers to the Excel object hierarchy

At the top of all objects is the Application object, it represents the Excel instance itself. Programming in VBA requires a good understanding of this hierarchy because we always need a reference to an object to be able to call a Method or to Set/Get a property.

The (very simplified) Excel Object Model can be represented as,

                            Application
                             Workbooks
                             Workbook
                            Worksheets
                             Worksheet
                              Range
 

A more detail version for the Worksheet Object (as it is in Excel 2007) is shown below,

enter image description here

The full Excel Object Model can be found here.

Finally some objects may have events (ex: Workbook.WindowActivate ) that are also part of the Excel Object Model.

Hello World

  1. Open the Visual Basic Editor ( see Opening the Visual Basic Editor )
  2. Click Insert --> Module to add a new Module :

enter image description here

  1. Copy and Paste the following code in the new module :
  Sub hello()
    MsgBox "Hello World !"
  End Sub
 

To obtain :

enter image description here

  1. Click on the green “play” arrow (or press F5) in the Visual Basic toolbar to run the program: enter image description here

  2. Select the new created sub "hello" and click Run : enter image description here

  3. Done, your should see the following window:

enter image description here

Opening the Visual Basic Editor (VBE)


Step 1: Open a Workbook

enter image description here


Step 2 Option A: Press Alt + F11

This is the standard shortcut to open the VBE.

Step 2 Option B: Developer Tab --> View Code

First, the Developer Tab must be added to the ribbon. Go to File -> Options -> Customize Ribbon, then check the box for developer.

enter image description here

Then, go to the developer tab and click "View Code" or "Visual Basic"

enter image description here

Step 2 Option C: View tab > Macros > Click Edit button to open an Existing Macro

All three of these options will open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE):

enter image description here

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Friday, July 28, 2017
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