Is VBA Really a Programming Language?

Visual Basic for Applications is a product that is developed by Microsoft. And yes, it’s a programming language. It’s available as a part of each of the Microsoft Office applications. It helps you automate mundane tasks, executing repeatedly and saving time while providing accurate results. These tasks can be personalized or customized for better use.


Features of VBA

You can minimize repetitive processing functions with in Microsoft products like Excel, Access and Word — reducing your manual effort and maintaining accuracy and data quality.

VBA can be used for automation of reporting, preparation of charts, graphs, formatting data, pivot tables and more.

What Does VBA Offer ?

  1. A code module with widows to write code
  2. A record and playback feature for easy automation of simple tasks and
  3. A form feature to be used whenever you need it

Using the VBA Code Editor

From Excel, f you press ALT+F11 , the VBA code window will open. You may add code modules and forms to work there.

VBA editor

Just as in any other programming language, VBA also has a:

  1. Project explorer window that helps navigation.
  2. Object library that stores decks of objects
  3. Immediate Window that shows the results of Debug.Print and the output of the running code
  4. Watch window for debugging. It can be used to see the runtime values of variables and objects.
  5. Local window that shows the list of variables defined for local scope.
  6. Properties window which displays the properties of form / sheet / any objects.
Editor with libraries

Toolbar Buttons

There are several toolbars available in the code development environment.

  1. The Edit toolbar has the play, pause and reset toggle buttons which can be used on the code during runtime.
Play and pause buttons
  • Shortcut to local window, immediate window and watch window.
watch window, immediate window
  • Toggle buttons for design mode, properties window, project exprorer and object browser.
design mode, properties window

There are many other buttons in each of the toolbars here that help in providing much of the features as in any other programming language.

Benefits of VBA

Macros can be developed using VBA

This feature is of much use for finance and accounting professionals. It is also used for reporting tasks.

Update / maintain / manage data

The data in the applications like Excel, Access or Word or even Outlook can be organized / updated based on some criteria which can be set using VBA code.

Tool development

You can make things like:

  • Generate financial ratios
  • Forecast sales
  • Marketing
  • Pricing calculator
  • Prepare some lists
  • Earnings calculators

Macros can be scheduled to run based on time / some criteria

It is possible to ensure that some piece of code is run every time the computer is opened, an Excel workbook is opened, when an email hits your inbox, etc.

Receive user prompts

During the run time user inputs can also be obtained using VBA code.

Format a document

A document can be formatted with colors, size, alignment , etc., in no time using pre-written code.

Coding Features and Terminology

Just as in any other programming language, Visual Basic for Applications also offers coding features like variables, objects, built-in functions, user-defined functions, user-defined sub procedures, logical operators, object properties, forms, loops, conditional statements, error-handling, interaction with the Microsoft application linked to it, and much more. VBA can be used to make standalone applications that can be used on a regular basis to accomplish numerous tasks.


Visual Basic for Application is an age-old programming language which is still used passionately by many for automation. VBA is always dear and user-friendly for those developers or users who have been using it for many years.

I’m one of these users who is unable to get away from this UI despite loving to learn any new technology. To be frank VBA is the best programming language to be used if the task is on the Microsoft products like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access or Outlook.

But if the automation needed for Windows products (other than the MS products), then we have newer technologies which you can consider learning like “R”, C#, Python or even Power Query. If you are looking for an easy language to learn, then I would suggest only VBA to start. VBA never dies in our hearts. 😊

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