Often people who are skilled with spreadsheets shy away from learning Visual Basic. Excel carries a lot of built-in functionality so they don't feel the need to learn programming. In fact, there are a number of reasons to get comfortable with writing macros in Visual Basic (VBA).

VBA Looks Good on Your Resume

Microsoft Office is used by nearly every employer in the world and the more extensive your skills with the application suite, the more attractive a candidate you are when applying for jobs. Visual Basic in Excel is the same macro language used in Word, Access or the other Office applications.

Once you know how to write macros in Excel, using macros in Word is just a matter of learning a few new object definitions. Even if you are happy with the company you work for, it never hurts to improve your job skills. The more you can do the more valuable you are to your boss. Besides, you never know what tomorrow will bring and an unexpected layoff could force you to start job hunting.

Get More Value Out of Excel

Stretch your software dollar further by using all the features of Excel. If you aren't using Visual Basic, Excel is just half an application. It's a bit like buying a car but making only right turns. Learning to write your own macros opens up a world of functionality. You are no longer limited by built-in functions. You can now write your own and have them do nearly anything you want.

Macros allow you to create complex functions without the intermediate calculation cells that may be required when using built-in functions. For example you might have a list of values and you want to put each value into an equation then sum the values. With built-in functions you'd have to have a cell next to each value that puts it into the equation then another cell that sums the results. A macro could step through each value, perform the calculation, and sum the total all in one cell.

Get Your Work Done Faster

When you first learn Visual Basic, Excel built-in functions might seem like a faster way to do things. Puzzling out program structure and getting results to come out right takes longer than using quick and dirty shortcuts on the spreadsheet.

With time, your VB programming skills will improve and you will create your custom functions faster. Although it takes extra time to create the function up front, it will save time every time you use it. Soon you will have a standard library of self-created functions that you can easily add to every spreadsheet you make.

Don't be discouraged. It can take months to become proficient with Visual Basic, but once you are comfortable with it you will be glad you took the time to learn.