I have wasted many hours loading huge amounts of data into spreadsheet models, only to inadvertently click the ‘Reset’ button at the last moment, because it was the day my colleague decided to bump into my chair. Excel is not capable of undoing actions performed by a macro, making it very important to confirm whether a user meant to click a button, before performing certain operations. In this post, we will look at how to get the user’s permission before running a procedure, using the MsgBox function.
How many times have you encountered the “Numbers Stored as text” error in your data sets? It interferes with your LOOKUP and MATCH functions, and arithmetic calculations. Excel has a Convert to Number functionality to help with this situation, but it could be a lot better. You have to deal with your columns one at a time, sometimes one cell at a time. Also, I noticed that if the dataset is huge, excel takes a lot of time to push through; occasionally, it is so slow that you can see the cells getting updated one by one.
In one of my posts, I wrote about the UsedRange property of the Worksheet object. I use it in almost all of my spreadsheet applications. Excel keeps track of the last cell you used during your current session, and uses it to determine the used range of a sheet. The last cell is the one you get to, when you press Ctrl+End.
A fellow struggler requested me to help him with a slightly beefed up Range Concatenate function. He needed to combine a bunch of numbers in a range; there were multiple entries of the same number, and he wanted a unique list; finally he needed to format the numbers.
I am a big fan of using named ranges in my VBA code. It makes referring to cells in formulas easy, and I can also helps in auditing the code. For instance, I can simply search for “RangeName” (including the quotes) to see if that particular range name is being used in my code.
Many excel users might not be aware of the subtle distinction between Excel Worksheet functions and VBA functions. Majority of Excel’s capability is constructed using Visual Basics for Applications (VBA). VBA is a programming language that contains a fairly rich set of built in Functions; lets call these functions VBA Functions. Using the aforementioned VBA Functions, developers of Excel meticulously create hundreds of functions for their software, that could be keyed into the Formula Bar. These functions are called Excel Functions or Worksheet functions.
In my many years of rummaging through the internet for help, I have seen countless posts where troubled help seekers are told that VBA does not have a built in function to reverse a string. Amature know-alls suggest a makeshift solution using a for-loop; and everyone is happy. Contrary to popular belief, Visual Basics does have a built in function to reverse a string: StrReverse()
In one of my previous posts, I wrote a function to concatenate the values stored in all the cells of a specified range. That function holds good, if you have a text stored in all the cells, and you just want to club them together. It fails if you have cells containing numeric values: dates, percentages, currencies or time. In another post, I wrote a function that returns a formatted string of the value stored in a cell, by automatically fetching the cell’s Number Format.
Many of us are familiar with the Text() function. It comes in handy when you set up excel to draft reports for you. It converts a numeric value stored in a cell to a string based on the format specified by the user. The only thing I hate about that function is that you have to specify the format every time you use it. Another drawback is, the format of the text is not linked to the cell formatting of the cell that is being referred to. For instance, if you later decide to change the cell formatting of a cell, you also have to change the Special-Format-String argument in the Text() function.
Visual Basics for Applications (VBA) allows users to build on the existing functionality of Microsoft Excel. It comes with a strong set of inbuilt functions that are often not readily accessible from Excel’s interface. These functions have to be wrapped inside a user defined function to be usable in Excel. A classic example is the Split function.