Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
A Brief History of VBA
So, VBA is a programming language and it is also a macro language. Confusion
of terminology arises when referring to VBA code that is a series of commands
written and executed in Excel. Is it a macro, a procedure, or a program? Since
Microsoft commonly refers to its VBA procedures as macros, that’s good enough
for me to call them macros as well. Outside of a few exceptions that’ll be discussed
when the time comes, I’ll be referring to VBA procedures as macros.
A BriEf HisTory of VBA
VBA is a present-day dialect of the BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code)
programming language that was developed in the 1960s. BASIC became widely used in many software
applications throughout the next two decades, because it was easy to learn and understand.
Over the years, BASIC has evolved and improved in response to advancing technology and increased
demands by its users for greater programming flexibility. In 1985, Microsoft released a much richer
version of BASIC, named QuickBASIC, which boasted the most up-to-date features found in
programming languages of the day. In 1992, Microsoft released Visual Basic for Windows, designed to
work within the burgeoning Windows environment.
Meanwhile, various software publishers were making their own enhancements to BASIC for their
products’ programming languages, resulting in a wide and confusing range of functionality and
commands among software applications that were using BASIC. Microsoft recognized the need
for developing a standardized programming language for its software products, and created Visual
Basic for Applications.
VBA was first released by Microsoft with Excel 5 in the Office 1995 suite. Since then, VBA has
become the programming language for Microsoft’s other popular Office applications, as well as for
external software customers of Microsoft to whom VBA has been licensed for use.
don’T confusE VB WiTH VBA!
With all the acronyms bandied about in the world of computing, it’s easy to get
some terms confused. “VB” stands for Visual Basic and it is not the same as VBA.
Though both VB and VBA are programming languages derived from BASIC and
created by Microsoft, they are otherwise very different.
VB is a language that allows you to create standalone executable applications that
do not even require its users to have Office or Excel loaded onto their computers.
On the other hand, VBA cannot create standalone applications, and it exists within
a host application such as Excel and the workbook containing the VBA code. For a
VBA macro to run, its host application workbook must be open. This book is about
VBA, and how it controls Excel.