Top positive review
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Great intro, gets you up to a practical level very quickly
on 6 October 2013
NOTE - Added 03.01.2017 - I wrote this review for the 3rd edition of this book, but have since noticed that Amazon also lists it when you view reviews for the 4th edition, I cannot comment on the 4th edition as I have not read it!
To put my review into a meaningful context, I will say now that I have been programming for 2-3 years. The thing with this book though, is that almost nowhere within it did I encounter any terminology I would have found intimidating as a beginner. I had wanted to program VBA as it is enormously useful and this book was exactly what I was after.
The author begins by stating the strengths of Excel VBA and also it's history which is interesting enough. He then goes on to talk about the way that VBA programs are structured (if, for, while statements etc.) and how to write handy subroutines and functions. All the while the code is kept to small examples between 5-20 lines and I found that I learnt quickly from copying and tweaking them. These succinct code snippets definitely made progress quick and I found myself using what I had learnt practically straight away in my job.
The books aim is this: To get you to a good enough level of VBA that you can structure your programs nicely and create nice looking forms but giving you the knowledge you need to delve fearlessly into the standard help documentation. Once I had understood how to initialize my variables and write loops and conditional statements, browsing the help led to me finding all sorts of fantastic functions and methods that I had been previously ignorant of. As a result I would say my productivity increased considerably.
The author also provides, early on, a very important chapter on the Excel Object Model(which tells you how the Excel objects are linked to one another) and once you have an understanding of this, the rest will come much more easily. Later on, Chart Objects and User Forms are covered and I think this is the level to which most people would be happy to get to. The examples are well explained and there are no unpleasant large chunks of code left without explanation.
This intro assumes no prior knowledge of anything computer related (provided you can turn your PC on and know how to open Excel of course!) and is ideal for the beginner. Furthermore, Excel (indeed MS Office) is ubiquitous and learning a bit of VBA can be rewarding and eventually save you a lot of time. One of the aspects I did like was the author's tendency to clearly explain using examples and not some silly analogy (which I have experienced in Dummies guides before). Additionally, key points are made and then re-iterated throughout the text.
Mr Spreadsheet, as the author is also known also has a great web page with many VBA programs and ideas on it, that I found myself making large use of. He also has what I guess is a follow-up book to this, which may be my next port of call.
All in all, if you want to learn VBA this is a very good place to start for the experienced programmer and the beginner alike. Although I would have liked to have seen a bit more on Chart Objects. I would also like to apologise for the poor and rather dull structure of this review, I am no Shakespeare!