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What Programming Language to Use for Spreadsheet Software Development

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If you are someone who works in an office and your job requires you to crunch numbers and compile data, then you might have used spreadsheet tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

But have you ever wondered how this spreadsheet software works? How are they built, and what expertise is required to build them? In this blog post, we will be looking at how spreadsheet software is developed and what programming language is used.

What programming language would work for developing spreadsheet software?

Developers choose VBA as the most popular programming language for developing spreadsheet software. VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications, and it is a part of Microsoft’s legacy software, Visual Basic.

VBA is used for writing programs for the Windows operating system. Moreover, it runs as an internal programming language in Microsoft Office apps such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Published, and Visio. Users can customize apps beyond what is normal with VBA.

VBA is a tool that is event-driven, which means you can tell the computer to initiate an action or a series of actions. For this, custom macros, short for macroinstructions, need to be built. Macros can be built by typing commands into an editing module.

A macro is a sequence of characters whose input results in another sequence of characters, which is the output, that completes specific computing tasks.

Apart from this, VBA isn’t a stand-alone program; users can change and manipulate the graphical user interface (GUI) features such as toolbars and menus. VBA can be used to create user-defined functions (UDFs), access Windows application program interfaces (APIs), and specific computer processes and calculations can be automated as well.

What can businesses do with VBA?

Mostly, VBA is used in the financial sector, where a large amount of data is manipulated on a daily basis. Moreover, it is used by IT companies for analyzing and sorting large data sets. Here are a few more things organizations can do with VBA:

Update data

You can use VBA in Excel to update your data sets. Apart from that, you can also create complex models of pricing, trading, and risk management. Organizations can forecast sales and earnings and generate financial ratios.

Perform scenario analysis

VBA also allows users to analyze various sales and business scenarios, thus allowing stakeholders to predict any pitfalls and gain time to tweak their strategy to avoid issues.

Organize information

VBA allows companies to produce lists of customers, invoices, forms, and charts. Also, companies can analyze scientific data and manage data display for budgeting and forecasting.

Important terms to remember for VBA

Before starting to use VBA for your business needs, here are some important terms for you to remember.

Module

Excel stores the code in something called a module; all the information regarding the modules within the spreadsheet is found in Project Explorer, which itself is one of the sections of Visual Basic Editor.

Objects

Items such as workbooks, worksheets, cells, cell ranges, or cell fonts when coding in VBA are called objects, which are often referred to as part of the code when coding in VBA.

Procedures

Procedures are the part of a computer program that performs a specific task. It’s a code block that starts with a declaration and ends with an end declaration. There are two types of procedures in VBA: sub procedures and function procedures.

Sub procedures form an action in Excel and begin with the text “Sub.” Function procedures that carry out calculations and return a value.

Statement

Statements are instructions that help define what the code will do. There are two types of statements: declaration statements and executable statements. Declaration statements are used to state something, such as defining a constant or variable value. The executable statements are used to specify what a certain code will do.

Variables

Variables are storage locations for defined items; they hold specific values that can change as VBA scripts are performed.

Logical Operators

Logical operators are the functions that allow a computer to understand and compare items. With operators such as “If,” “else,” “true,” and “false,” the program can analyze the input and perform a logical evaluation.

Users of VBA

Basic Users

For basic users, VBA has pretty much finished all the repetitive tasks in word and data processing. With applications like Word and Excel, users can perform a myriad number of functions with the help of macros.

Macros can automate just about any task; for example, you can write a code that, with a single click, can generate spreadsheets from existing account entries.

Advanced Users

Advanced users use macros in a more complex way, merging existing program functions, replicating large pieces of code, and designing specific languages.

Organizations

The greatest thing about VBA is that it works well with external settings with a technology called the COM interface. COM allows commands to interact across computer boundaries. Several companies have implemented COM within their applications, such as SolidWorks, AutoCAD, ArcGIS, CATIA, and Corel.

Conclusion

VBA, as part of Microsoft Office, is a vital tool for businesses, particularly in finance and IT. It enables data manipulation, automation, and complex modeling to enhance productivity. Understanding key VBA terms is essential; from basic users automating tasks to advanced users crafting complex solutions, VBA is versatile. Its compatibility with the COM interface extends its reach to various applications. In a data-driven world, VBA empowers businesses to streamline processes, make informed decisions, and boost productivity.

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