Why Excel Visual Basic _ and NOT Visual Basic? I always answer this question by asking the following question: What would be the point of "Killing A Fly With A Hammer"? Let me elaborate. If a method is available that allows us to achieve the same desired result(s) at LOWER cost, with LESS effort and in LESS time, why should we fail to adopt it? Certain IT persons insist that developing executable applications using the standalone Visual Basic programming language is "better" as it does not limit the user to a particular user application software environment. I concede that this might be a valid point under certain conditions. However, I point out that there are many users who have peculiar needs that do not necessarily require complex solutions. A lot of people today simply want to get their data recording, (re)organisation, and analysis for decision making done quicker and with less effort. They also want to spend as little money as possible to do this. In other words, they want a cost_effective solution that gives them independence from the solution provider in the long term _ without requiring them to undertake laborious skills acquisition immediately. This category of everyday users of technology described above are the ones I believe need Excel VB solutions of the type I describe. One expects that some of these users will over time develop an interest in acquiring advanced skills needed to develop their own solutions in future _ which is why I also encourage them to do so, possibly via self_tutoring, like I did.
So, (when considering the automation I speak about) do not think about spreadsheet documents containing one or two click_able buttons that allow a user print a page or copy some cells from one sheet to another. Instead, I want you to picture an application(or Entreprise Information System) that customises the appearance of your spreadsheet workspace(to take advantage of maximum screen capital available on your PC), and offers you custom "floating" data entry forms.
Deciding What Spreadsheet Application To Use. This would ultimately be up to you. The big "fight" has always been between Lotus 1θι and Microsoft Excel. I started out with Lotus 1θι back in 1993 and learnt Lotus Macros programming(via self_tutoring). I eventually used this skill to develop _ in my free time _ various custom spreadsheet solutions(that were formally adopted for use in the departments I worked in as a brewer/manager in Guinness), before switching to Microsoft Excel in 2001. Subsequently, I developed my Excel Visual Basic spreadsheet programming skills (also via self_tutoring), because the company had chosen to adopt MS Office during the roll over to year 2000.
VBA is therefore different from the Standalone Visual Basic program used(by professional programmers) for developing commercial quality software applications _ though it borrows many of the latter's features. Think of Excel VBA as being the standalone Visual Basic software, built into Excel for the benefit of Excel users who are not necessarily programmers, but who are keen to exert more control over the application. So, Excel VB offers any interested users the necessary tools to make the application deliver more functionality. The final product is still an Excel document, but with extra functionalities added using VBA.