Reasons NOT to attend a MS Excel VBA training course

One of the most common queries we get is more information about our MS Excel VBA training course. Although we see the value of VBA in Excel, we believe that almost anything that most people want to do can be done in normal Excel. It is just that the ‘Advanced Excel’ courses you have attended have not shown you how or pointed out how far MS Excel has come.

Although we offer a VBA course and are happy to provide it, we strongly believe in teaching the correct tools to the correct people. We don’t want you to waste money on a course when there are easier, more understandable ways to achieve the same thing.

VBA is programming. It is not easy. You need to be an advanced MS Excel user to be able to use it. We often find that the people asking about VBA want to skip a step because they have heard it solves all your problems. VBA often creates more problems than it solves. Unless you plan to use all the best practice guidelines for programming (in any language) you should avoid VBA.

If you don’t believe Excel has advanced to address your needs in the simplest way, have a look at what Flash Fill can do for you. If you didn’t know about this tool, think carefully about attending a VBA course.

How do you know if you DON’T need a Microsoft Excel VBA Training Course

The main reason you don’t need a VBA course, would be that ‘normal’ MS Excel can already do what you want. (Send us an email with the problem you think needs VBA)

The main reason for VBA is that users want to automate some sort of report and they have heard that VBA does automation. More specifically users spend hours ‘cleaning’ their spreadsheet and they hope VBA would do it for them.

Before you dive into a MS VBA Course do you know how Microsoft has already addressed most Excel requirements. There is a tool in MS Excel called Get & Transform (previously called PowerQuery). It does exactly what you would expect VBA to do i.e. it:

  • Can get data from spreadsheets even if you want to get data from several spreadsheets in the same folder (by just clicking buttons- no code);
  • Can clean the data in all the ways you do (remove rows, fill in blanks, delete columns, reorder columns); and
  • It will remember what you did this month and allow you to re run it next month!

If you haven’t explored this tool you should avoid a VBA course until you understand what it can do. Get & Transform addresses 90% of what most users think they want VBA for.

In any case, if you want to learn VBA, make sure you are an expert with ALL the following formula in Excel:

  • VLOOKUP especially the TRUE VLOOKUP
  • MATCH and INDEX as a way to replace VLOOKUP
  • OFFSET
  • INDIRECT

If you are not comfortable with these in-built functions, get to an Advanced level of Excel where you understand them completely.

Keep in mind VBA is asking you to program your own code. All the formulas mentioned above are already a form of VBA, just in a structured format and most important tested repeatedly by Microsoft and the millions (billions?) of Excel users worldwide.

When is a MS VBA Training Course a good idea

So when is a Excel VBA course a good idea? Firstly you must know all the above and still have a problem that Excel can’t solve ‘naturally’. You should also already be making copious use of the Macro Recorder and want to take the next steps. Another use would be where what you are wanting to do is not confined just to Excel. If you want Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access to talk to each other and exchange information then VBA is viable.

In terms of the MS VBA courses we run, you need to score at least 6 on our free MS Excel Skills Assessment.

If you want other reasons to think carefully about VBA use, look at the Reasons Against VBA post