Excel VBA

Excel has come a long way from being a way of presenting tabular data, to a way of not only storing data, but also collecting data, either by user forms, or spreadsheets created to look like user forms, with links, data validation, saving this data in tables, and also graphically presenting this data in a variety of charts. PivotTables and PivotChart are also powerful tools to select and present data easily, all of which can be controlled and manipulated using VBA.

Excel has always had calculations at its core, processing and summarising information using various formulas, this has been used by a variety of companies to store data key to its business, this can range from Sales data, to Accounting data, and also monitoring performance of business processes. The layout is usually tabular, which can then be graphically represented in charts, these have been improved upon in newer versions.

VBA had always played some role in Excel use, albeit a small one, but when Office 95 was combined with what was effectively a watered-down version of VB5, it opened up Excel and the Office suite to VB developers, which meant it could be used in a variety of new ways. Consequently, spreadsheets became more powerful, more useful to the end users, and configured in such a way that made them easier to use for less experienced users.

More recently, VBA, the .NET framework, and the Application Object model have meant that, with the right skills, some very powerful solutions can be developed in Excel, for a wide variety of requirements. As Excel comes with the basic Office package, this has allowed a variety of companies, large and small, to utilise what Excel can do for their business at a relatively low cost.

Some more detailed articles can be found here on how Excel can be used, more details on the Object hierarchy, and examples of VBA.