learning VBA for access

In my previous article about 5 easy ways to learn Excel I explained 5 methods that can help you learn the program and its interface quickly.

Those are great, but the real skill in using Excel is problem solving and creating sustainable solutions to business problems. The real power in Excel is visual basic for applications (VBA). This is the inbuilt macro language that allows you to create your very own programs in Excel. It will take you to the next level and increase your effectiveness of your business. Any spreadsheet application without a macro language will limit your productivity. By using VBA you can automate repetitive processes. All those manual Excel tasks can be done at the speed of light. I would never consider myself as a programmer – just a serious Excel user. Here are some approaches you can take to start learning VBA.

1) Use the macro recorder – the macro recorder is a bit like the old VCR recorders. It is the easier way to get started to automate a repetitive process. It also a great way to learn how code is developed by the recorder itself. It gives you a head start when creating or developing your own programs. Many users use macros to get the majority of the code that is required and tidy it up and add additional code. The macro recorder does have its disadvantages as well. It uses a lot more code than is required, which can slow your process down, especially the standard page setup code. There is much faster code available. Also, the macro recorder records everything you do, especially selections to cells, which are not required. The biggest weakness is it’s inability to loop through a process. If i want to combine the contents of 10 Excel worksheets data into one. The macro recorder would only do this once. Everything would be hard coded, including cell reference and file names. Eventually, your demands from Excel will push you away from the recorder to actually adding your own snippets of code. I did not believe this when i first started learning Excel and VBA, but it is true.

2) Learn from books – There are many great books on the subject. Make sure you get one that is aimed at the beginner. Idiots guide are a good start to cover basics, but you should move on to more technical explanations and their application. It is the application of code that is important. Many books describe the method and it properties, but do not go into any detail of how to use it. The visual editor help option can describe the code already. It is the real life examples you need.

3) Take a course – If your employer can pay, then you should go on a course which will quickly increase your learning curve.

4) Get online – there are many online course, ebooks and guide that will walk you through how to do anything in excel.

If you are looking for a great guide on how to use Excel to create excel dashboards and visual performance reports, then take a look at this product on executive dashboards. You will never use excel the same way again! It includes a PDF guide and excel templates to help you get started. Even the code is provided for you. The charts and dashboard components have been done so you don’t need to recreate them.

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