What is VBA?
Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) first appeared in Microsoft Excel 5.0 all the way back in 1993. It quickly gathered success among 3rd party software developers to create automation solutions using Excel. The ability to write VBA programs within Excel is still highly valued in today’s job market.
The VBA programming language was upgraded in 2010 with the introduction of Visual Basic for Applications 7 in Microsoft Office applications to support 64-bit & 32-bit Windows operating system. Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 2016 now includes VBA 7.1. With 7 major versions of development over 25 years, VBA is mature programming language with a vast community of developers all over the world.
VBA and Microsoft Office Applications.
VBA programs can never run as a standalone program or on its own. It can only run within a host Microsoft Office application. That is the reason why we always write VBA programs within Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word and etc. The VBA code is always embedded within a Microsoft Office document file. It is not a coincidence that VBA is built into most Microsoft Office applications, including Office for Mac OS X (except version 2008).
Code written in VBA is compiled to Microsoft P-Code (packed code), a proprietary intermediate language, which the host applications (like Excel, Word, Outlook) store as a separate portion separate from the document portions of the file. The intermediate code (P-Code) is then executed by the host application. So when there is a computer bug in a VBA program, we often need to kill the associated Office application.
VBA and Office Automation.
Let’s not forget the key purpose of VBA’s existence. VBA allows a computer programmer to write a program within an Office document in order for the Office Application to perform automated tasks. Hence we can write a VBA program within an Excel file to instruct the Excel Application to perform automated work for a human. And expanding on this idea, this VBA program within Excel can even control other Microsoft Office applications like Outlook to send emails.
And till this day, VBA as a programming language is still highly relevant for today’s work environment because of Microsoft Office’s pervasive presence. Knowing how to write VBA programs allow someone to increase the productivity of a small department by automating many routine tasks in Microsoft Office most useful applications such as Excel, Access, Word and Outlook.