Is Excel A Programming Language?

Excel is among the most widely used programs in the world. It is pretty much used by every company that you can think of to analyze data created in centralized computer systems. However, one of the most common questions that is asked is can excel be considered a programming language?

Excel is generally not considered a programming language in itself though it does contain a programming language within it called Visual Basic for applications (VBA) which is widely used to automate many of the tasks that are routinely completed in Excel.

VBA is generally considered to be a relatively simple language to learn and is predominantly used in things such as the Microsoft Office Suite which includes access word PowerPoint and of course Excel. VBA most commonly tends to be used to automate Excel and access which a design to manage large amounts of data. 

Is VBA An Easy Programming Language To Learn?

VBA is generally considered to be a relatively easy language to learn compared to more complex languages such as C++. Generally most people will be able to complete basic spreadsheet manipulations using VBA within a couple of lessons which means that most people will be able to get some value out of learning to program VBA relatively quickly.

However, to really master VBA will generally take much longer than that as there is such a wide variety of commands available which gives rise to a wide variety of potential coding options. If you are interested in starting out with VBA code and you are a complete beginner try clicking on the video below which is the first in a series of videos that will teach you the basics of how to code. By the end of this series of videos you should be able to program to a basic level. 

What Are The Types Of Tasks Which VBA Can Complete In Excel?

VBA as mentioned above is a relatively flexible language that is most commonly used by users to automate the manipulation of spreadsheets, however VBA is also capable of doing much more than that.

For example VBA can be programmed to create new excel files or open files to draw centralized information from a file. Additionally, VBA can be used to interact with other programs within the Microsoft Office Suite which most commonly include access and outlook. ie it is possible to create code that will create a new email and send it to the relevant person, by clicking buttons with an excel.

Additionally, it can be used to collect user input with an array of different user forms which are completely customizable and can be adjusted to meet pretty much any purpose.

These applications mentioned above are just a few of the possibilities associated with VBA that can allow you to improve your efficiency in the workplace substantially.

Is Programming In VBA Considered To Be Valuable By Employers?

Generally speaking the vast majority of employers will value excel skills as they allow decisions within the business to be made more easily. However, in the majority of cases most people only know how to operate spreadsheets and programming in VBA is relatively rare. So being able to automate tasks is considered to be extremely valuable and will certainly improve your prospects of getting a job. 

What Types Of Jobs Can VBA Be Used For?

Anywhere where excel is used VBA has the potential to be extremely useful depending upon the specific situation within a given business. As a result of this VBA skills are applicable to a huge number of positions which can include supply chain managers, accountants, marketing people, and even professionals such as scientists and Engineers.

Can Excel Be Automated Without Using VBA?

However, if you are somebody that does not like to learn programming languages you may be pleased to note that it is possible to automate excel without the use of VBA using the recording of macros. For those unfamiliar with macros they are small little programs that are created when recorded by recording your actions on a spreadsheet. These actions can then be repeated by triggering the macro which can be done in a number of different ways such as pressing a button or including Hotkey in the programming.

The recording of macros does have its limitations because there are many things that recorded macros cannot do that can be done with VBA which includes some of the actions mentioned above such as opening and closing files or calling for user input when running the programs.  

However, despite these limitations the creation of macros is an excellent way to introduce yourself to the process of automation as the macros create VBA code as they are recorded. 

The process is relatively straightforward and only requires a few minutes to learn see the directions below.

Step 1 – To make  and then visible excel’s ribbon select file and then options which is at the bottom of the screen.

Step 2 – Select the develop tab which is located on the main tab’s menu.

Step 3 – Select the developer tab and then select record macro. 

Step 4 – Name the macro and assign a hotkey to the program. 

Step 5 – Record your actions in excel and then click the stop macro button when finished, It will be located in the same position as the record macros button.

Advice When Recording Macros

When recording macros there are a couple of things you do need to consider which are the fact that macros can be positionally sensitive. To prevent this you should always start your macros by clicking by pressing the Ctrl G as that will allow you to record the precise location where the macro starts.

Secondly, when you are completing macros on things like sales reports which come out in the same format every time from a computer system you need to allow for the length of the data which will vary. This can be done by ensuring that you extend the area over which the macro covers to include all possible outcomes which will avoid the need to update the macro later on.

Lastly recording of macros can also can include the triggering of other macros which means it is possible to record a very complex set of instructions in parts and then stitch them all together by recording a macro where you hits the Hotkeys for each of the individual parts of the program. This is useful if you have got particularly long winded processes that you need to automate. 

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