Good Reference 
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 Good Reference

I just subscribed to this newsgroup and it appears that whatever I wanted to
do with VBA some smart guy or gal would take the time and trouble to develop
and provide a solution.  Thanks to all in advance.

I have looked at some of the code that you all have written as solutions and
I must say this looks daunting.  Still, instead of just asking one of you to
figure it out for me, I would like to learn a few basics.  Can anyone
recommend a good (relatively inexpensive)  reference book or web page  where
I can learn some of the basic capabilities, limitations and lingo of VBA.



Sun, 10 Apr 2005 13:01:58 GMT  
 Good Reference

You'll get a few book recommendations; try them out & see if they're
your style.  I've never found a good book on VBA, but I've found more
than one awful one.  And over the years I've come to wonder if maybe
VBA just isn't the sort of thing that *can* be easily taught through
a book.  Still, I've answered this same question several times, so
here's a near-repeat of the last time:

The best reference-and-sort-of-tutorial for VBA that I've come across
so far is, believe it or not, Microsoft's own VBA Programmers' Guide --
but only the one for Office 97 (yes, *97*).  This is inexplicably and
thankfully still online at:

   http://www.microsoft.com/officedev/articles/Opg/toc/FULLTOC.htm.

It won't teach you the new advanced features of the latest version
of VBA, but when you're just starting out you don't need that stuff
anyway.  Unfortunately the online guides for post-1997 versions are
displayed in a way that makes them incredibly difficult to use and
(especially) print out.  (If you're like me and carry stuff around
to read when you catch 5 free minutes here & there, then you know
that printability-with-portability is essential.)

But before you bother with that, look at MVP Bill Coan's "Getting
to Grips with VBA in 15 Minutes."  This was the single most useful
thing for me when I first got my feet wet.  That's at:

   http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/MacrosVBA/VBABasicsIn15Mins.htm

You can also learn massive amounts just by reading these newsgroups
daily.  (I learned more here than from all other sources combined.)
The newsgroups aren't exactly the most organized collection of
information, but they're a rich resource nonetheless.  Obviously
it's impossible to read every post (trust me, I've tried...), and
even in the beginners group many threads are still too specific
to offer long-lasting help with the fundamentals.  But once in a
while, when you see code that "looks interesting," you can benefit
enormously from running it, changing it a bit, playing around with
it, etc.  I find I always have to keep my newsreader and the VB
editor open at the same time, so I can use what I see and (nowadays)
test what I send.

Also, when you have a specific problem that's probably been asked
before (and MOST problems have), you can often find the answer
(or several answers, with varying amounts of detail and nuance)
by doing a Google search of your topic over the whole Word hierarchy
(microsoft.public.word.*).  To do a Google search of the newsgroup
archives (that's different from a web search, mind you), start at
http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search.

One tip:  Do your playing around in a "tester" template, *not* in
Normal.dot.  Keep it lean, and even throw it away at intervals.
Also be sure you have "Auto List Members" and "Auto Quick Info"
turned on in the VB editor [Tools-> Options-> Editor]. These are
incredibly useful; with their help, your code almost writes itself.
Auto List Members pops up a list of all possible completions for
any (ok, almost any) VBA keyword you type, as soon as you hit the
period after it -- assuming a period does logically follow it.
It's a godsend for beginners, especially those who feel overwhelmed
by VBA's apparent verbosity.

(In that connection, experiment with using CTRL+SPACEBAR in the
VB editor to quickly complete long or hard-to-type keywords.  
Same sort of principle as Auto List Members.)  (This wasn't
enough for me, and I now use a third-party keystroke expander
for a lot of my coding, but that can come later.)

I suggest you look through 1 or 2 of the VBA newsgroups *every day*
(this one and vba.general may be best to start with), so that it
starts to feel extremely familiar.  It'll still be daunting for a
while; don't feel you need to grasp it all right away.  (You can't.)
Just visit every day -- not just when you need help, but every day
as a matter of course,  and you'll find that you'll pick up much of
the "Zen of VBA" by osmosis.

Finally, the Word FAQ area of the MVP website (see my sig) is the
closest thing you'll ever find to an organized distillation of all
the useful stuff found in these newsgroups.  Once you've learned
the most basic elements of VBA, pore through the MVP site and look
at whatever sounds useful.  After saturating yourself there, check
it again every few weeks to click on 'What's New' and see added or
revised articles.  You can think of the newsgroups as the goldmine
laded with ore, and the MVP site as the jewelry made from it.

As you begin, pay particular attention to discussions of "Objects,  
Properties, and Methods," because these are the 3 legs upon which
VBA stands.  I remember only ONE succinct introductory treatment
of these concepts and unfortunately I don't remember where it was.
In a nutshell, it said: Objects are like nouns, properties are like
adjectives, methods are like verbs, and VBA code connects them all
to make things happen.  If that doesn't make any sense right now,
don't worry; it will soon.

Don't depend on the VBA help for tutorial-level material.  It's
there as a reference source (and for that purpose it's not bad).
It's not there to help you get started.  Do remember it when you
need help with syntax or when you can remember just little pieces
of something you need all of.

Finally, each time you reach a milestone, try to use your new  
discovery right away, in a few other ways, and post here with  
whatever questions or obstacles you find.  This was a key thing
for me, to learn about a given keyword or feature and immediately
try to figure out where else it might fit in the VBA model.  Also
check out http://www.mvps.org/word/FindHelp/Posting.htm for hints
on the best ways to post when requesting help

--

Reply ONLY to the newsgroup.  Note: MVPs do not work for Microsoft.
MVP FAQ: http://www.mvps.org/word
Userforms demystified: http://www.speakeasy.org/~mtangard/userforms.html
"Life is nothing if you're not obsessed." --John Waters

Quote:

> I just subscribed to this newsgroup and it appears that whatever I wanted to
> do with VBA some smart guy or gal would take the time and trouble to develop
> and provide a solution.  Thanks to all in advance.

> I have looked at some of the code that you all have written as solutions and
> I must say this looks daunting.  Still, instead of just asking one of you to
> figure it out for me, I would like to learn a few basics.  Can anyone
> recommend a good (relatively inexpensive)  reference book or web page  where
> I can learn some of the basic capabilities, limitations and lingo of VBA.



Sun, 10 Apr 2005 15:50:41 GMT  
 Good Reference
Mark,

Thanks for your reply and positive encouragement.  I have looked at Bill
Coan's article and to tell you the truth that it what has piqued my interest
in this subject.  I will look at the other material you suggested as well.

A few years back I was transcribing written daily records in an electronic
report.  Easy enough after I created a form.  Only glich was that if data
exceeded a set limit it had to be highligthed.  I never did figure out how
to get my word document to recognize this condition and perform the function
automatically.  Didn't even know word could do that as a matter of fact.  I
don't use the form anymore, but a few days ago I threw the question out and
with the reply my eyes were opened to just what word could do if properly
utilized.

Well thanks again.  The journey begins.


Quote:

> You'll get a few book recommendations; try them out & see if they're
> your style.  I've never found a good book on VBA, but I've found more
> than one awful one.  And over the years I've come to wonder if maybe
> VBA just isn't the sort of thing that *can* be easily taught through
> a book.  Still, I've answered this same question several times, so
> here's a near-repeat of the last time:

> The best reference-and-sort-of-tutorial for VBA that I've come across
> so far is, believe it or not, Microsoft's own VBA Programmers' Guide --
> but only the one for Office 97 (yes, *97*).  This is inexplicably and
> thankfully still online at:

>    http://www.microsoft.com/officedev/articles/Opg/toc/FULLTOC.htm.

> It won't teach you the new advanced features of the latest version
> of VBA, but when you're just starting out you don't need that stuff
> anyway.  Unfortunately the online guides for post-1997 versions are
> displayed in a way that makes them incredibly difficult to use and
> (especially) print out.  (If you're like me and carry stuff around
> to read when you catch 5 free minutes here & there, then you know
> that printability-with-portability is essential.)

> But before you bother with that, look at MVP Bill Coan's "Getting
> to Grips with VBA in 15 Minutes."  This was the single most useful
> thing for me when I first got my feet wet.  That's at:

>    http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/MacrosVBA/VBABasicsIn15Mins.htm

> You can also learn massive amounts just by reading these newsgroups
> daily.  (I learned more here than from all other sources combined.)
> The newsgroups aren't exactly the most organized collection of
> information, but they're a rich resource nonetheless.  Obviously
> it's impossible to read every post (trust me, I've tried...), and
> even in the beginners group many threads are still too specific
> to offer long-lasting help with the fundamentals.  But once in a
> while, when you see code that "looks interesting," you can benefit
> enormously from running it, changing it a bit, playing around with
> it, etc.  I find I always have to keep my newsreader and the VB
> editor open at the same time, so I can use what I see and (nowadays)
> test what I send.

> Also, when you have a specific problem that's probably been asked
> before (and MOST problems have), you can often find the answer
> (or several answers, with varying amounts of detail and nuance)
> by doing a Google search of your topic over the whole Word hierarchy
> (microsoft.public.word.*).  To do a Google search of the newsgroup
> archives (that's different from a web search, mind you), start at
> http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search.

> One tip:  Do your playing around in a "tester" template, *not* in
> Normal.dot.  Keep it lean, and even throw it away at intervals.
> Also be sure you have "Auto List Members" and "Auto Quick Info"
> turned on in the VB editor [Tools-> Options-> Editor]. These are
> incredibly useful; with their help, your code almost writes itself.
> Auto List Members pops up a list of all possible completions for
> any (ok, almost any) VBA keyword you type, as soon as you hit the
> period after it -- assuming a period does logically follow it.
> It's a godsend for beginners, especially those who feel overwhelmed
> by VBA's apparent verbosity.

> (In that connection, experiment with using CTRL+SPACEBAR in the
> VB editor to quickly complete long or hard-to-type keywords.
> Same sort of principle as Auto List Members.)  (This wasn't
> enough for me, and I now use a third-party keystroke expander
> for a lot of my coding, but that can come later.)

> I suggest you look through 1 or 2 of the VBA newsgroups *every day*
> (this one and vba.general may be best to start with), so that it
> starts to feel extremely familiar.  It'll still be daunting for a
> while; don't feel you need to grasp it all right away.  (You can't.)
> Just visit every day -- not just when you need help, but every day
> as a matter of course,  and you'll find that you'll pick up much of
> the "Zen of VBA" by osmosis.

> Finally, the Word FAQ area of the MVP website (see my sig) is the
> closest thing you'll ever find to an organized distillation of all
> the useful stuff found in these newsgroups.  Once you've learned
> the most basic elements of VBA, pore through the MVP site and look
> at whatever sounds useful.  After saturating yourself there, check
> it again every few weeks to click on 'What's New' and see added or
> revised articles.  You can think of the newsgroups as the goldmine
> laded with ore, and the MVP site as the jewelry made from it.

> As you begin, pay particular attention to discussions of "Objects,
> Properties, and Methods," because these are the 3 legs upon which
> VBA stands.  I remember only ONE succinct introductory treatment
> of these concepts and unfortunately I don't remember where it was.
> In a nutshell, it said: Objects are like nouns, properties are like
> adjectives, methods are like verbs, and VBA code connects them all
> to make things happen.  If that doesn't make any sense right now,
> don't worry; it will soon.

> Don't depend on the VBA help for tutorial-level material.  It's
> there as a reference source (and for that purpose it's not bad).
> It's not there to help you get started.  Do remember it when you
> need help with syntax or when you can remember just little pieces
> of something you need all of.

> Finally, each time you reach a milestone, try to use your new
> discovery right away, in a few other ways, and post here with
> whatever questions or obstacles you find.  This was a key thing
> for me, to learn about a given keyword or feature and immediately
> try to figure out where else it might fit in the VBA model.  Also
> check out http://www.mvps.org/word/FindHelp/Posting.htm for hints
> on the best ways to post when requesting help

> --

> Reply ONLY to the newsgroup.  Note: MVPs do not work for Microsoft.
> MVP FAQ: http://www.mvps.org/word
> Userforms demystified: http://www.speakeasy.org/~mtangard/userforms.html
> "Life is nothing if you're not obsessed." --John Waters


> > I just subscribed to this newsgroup and it appears that whatever I
wanted to
> > do with VBA some smart guy or gal would take the time and trouble to
develop
> > and provide a solution.  Thanks to all in advance.

> > I have looked at some of the code that you all have written as solutions
and
> > I must say this looks daunting.  Still, instead of just asking one of
you to
> > figure it out for me, I would like to learn a few basics.  Can anyone
> > recommend a good (relatively inexpensive)  reference book or web page
where
> > I can learn some of the basic capabilities, limitations and lingo of

VBA.


Sun, 10 Apr 2005 16:10:42 GMT  
 
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