Office supports Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a development language. Some users never need VBA, but most of us at least dabble with it a bit. VBA offers a number of built-in functions and knowing which one to use can be a chore for anyone new to development. Fortunately, there's good help available:
- In the Visual Basic Editor (VBE), choose Microsoft Visual Basic from the Help menu.
- In the resulting Help task pane, click the Microsoft Visual Basic Documentation link to display a list of subjects.
- Click the Functions or Statements link to display a graduated alpha listing.
Being familiar with the available functions—and there are many—is vital to working efficiently with VBA. Now, you might be wondering whether you need a function or a statement. While we often use the terms interchangeably, they really aren't. Statements have been around since the beginning. Never versions have replaced statements with VBA functions. For that reason, always use a function if possible. They have the most up-to-date functionality. There may be a similar statement, but don't use it. Office supports them only for backward compatibility. They could disappear from a future version, without notice.
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Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.