Q

Programming in Excel

I'm doing a new project in Excel. I can see that Excel allows you to write macros in Visual Basic. Do you have any advice on getting started with Excel programming?
Excel is a wonderful and rich programming environment. Like all Microsoft Office applications, it uses Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) for it's macro programming language. A while ago, I wanted a spreadsheet that tracked my stocks and mutual funds on a daily basis. Once I started poking at what Excel could do, I ended up with a totally automated spreadsheet that downloaded my stock quotes automatically from the web and graphed how much I made, or lost that day. Probably the best place to start your Excel development is with a standard Visual Basic programming class or book. That way, you get the fundamentals out of the way. With that under your belt, there are some very good Excel books on the market. The one I used, which is unfortunately out of print, is "Microsoft Excel 97 Developer's Handbook" by Eric Wells and Steve Harshbarger. A friend of mine, who develops Excel solutions for a living, highly recommends "Microsoft Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA."
This was last published in June 2001

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Start with some basic meaningful project. Some good examples:
  • Worksheet comparison
  1.  Straight forward
  2. Color code the results
  3. Have separate tab to configure the comparison rules: Equal, Less, Greater, etc.
  • Test data generation
  1. Define columns of different type - date, name, address, credit card.
  2. Create different generation rules, first hard-coded, then configurable.
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Keep them simple. Break them down into multiple step if possible. Itmay make things easier for someone else to maintain if you are not available to make any changes or explain a process. 
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I'll give you one better, check out PowerShell, and see if a script in powershell, using Excel as an output might be useful for you.
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It still amazes me how many people do not take more advantage of the features of Excel beside the basic spreadsheet. 

Check out this site for more info Mr Excel
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