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Visual Basic for Applications Unleashed

Other Office products were slowly brought into the VBA fold, but it’s only with the release of Office 97 that Microsoft has finally achieved its goal. Now all of the Big Four—Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint—have a VBA development environment at their core. Not only that, but just about everything in the Office 97 package is programmable: Outlook, Office Binder, even the Office Assistant.

But unprecedented programmatic control over Office objects is only the beginning. Microsoft is now licensing VBA as a separate product—called VBA 5.0—that other companies can incorporate into their own applications. A number of developers have leaped willingly onto the VBA 5.0 bandwagon, including such heavyweights as Adobe, Autodesk, Micrografx, and Visio. And as if that weren’t enough, Microsoft has also created a version of VBA—called VBScript—that programmers can use as a scripting tool for Web pages.

There is little doubt, then, that VBA plays a huge role in Microsoft’s future plans. Anyone interested in truly unleashing the power of the Office applications, other programs, and Web pages will need to learn the VBA language. The good news is that VBA combines both power and ease of use. So even if you’ve never programmed before, you won’t find it hard to create useful procedures that let your applications perform as they never have before.

I’ve tried to keep the chapters focused on the topic at hand and unburdened with long-winded theoretical discussions. For the most part, each chapter gets right down to brass tacks without much fuss and bother. To keep the chapters uncluttered, I’ve made a few assumptions about what you know and don’t know:
  • I assume you have knowledge of rudimentary computer concepts such as files and folders.
  • I assume you’re familiar with Windows and that you know how to launch applications and use accessories such as Control Panel.
  • I assume you’re comfortable with the basic Windows 95 interface. This book doesn’t tell you how to work with tools such as menus, dialog boxes, and the Help system.
  • I assume you can operate peripherals attached to your computer, such as the keyboard, mouse, printer, and modem.
  • I assume you’ve installed VBA 5.0 (via Office 97 or some other VBA-enabled application) and are ready to dive in at a moment’s notice.
  • Most of this book’s examples involve Office 97. Therefore, I assume you’ve used the Office programs for a while and are comfortable working with these programs.
  • I assume you have a brain and are willing to use it.
About the Author
Paul McFedries is a computer consultant, programmer, and freelance writer. He has worked with computers in one form or another since 1975, he has a degree in mathematics, and he can swap out a hard drive in seconds flat—yet still, inexplicably, he has a life. McFedries is the author or coauthor of more than two dozen computer books that have sold over 900,000 copies worldwide. His titles include Paul McFedries’ Windows 95 Unleashed, Microsoft Office 97 Unleashed, and Navigating the Internet, all from Sams Publishing.

Other hats worn by McFedries on occasion include video editor, animator, bread maker, Webmaster, brewmaster, cruciverbalist, and neologist. He has no cats, and his favorite hobbies are shooting pool, taking naps, riding his motorcycle, and talking about himself in the third person.
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