Reflection on the Learning Curve

I believe that learning how to develop in Excel using VBA is easy. That said, you'll notice a dramatic improvement in your ability to churn out applications efficiently as you progress. When I first started learning VBA in Excel 5.0, I had a significant amount of experience with Excel. In fact, I was the Excel guru at work. Back then, the development environment wasn't nearly as friendly and hospitable to beginners as it is now. You actually had to memorize the Excel object model—you didn't have Intel-liSense to show you applicable properties and methods (we'll discuss IntelliSense in the next chapter). Anyway, developing an average application might have taken 3 months or more once I got past the initial learning stage. These days, the average application takes 2 or 3 weeks. Many smaller applications can be completed in less than a week, simple utilities can be completed in as little as 15 to 30 minutes, and user-defined functions can be coded in a matter of minutes.

In my experience, many people are interested in developing proficiency with VBA but never really commit to it. Therefore, they never get to the point where they are able to start applying it. It can be difficult to commit to at first. You've got a million things to do and not enough time to do it all. Who's got time to learn something new? Believe me, though; learning VBA will yield huge dividends to you. Once you develop a little proficiency, you'll be able to automate various tasks that you perform manually now. The timesavings by automating these tasks can be orders of magnitude. Tasks that take hours of manual effort can be reduced to minutes and completed with the click of a mouse. Many of the repetitive tasks that knowledge workers perform can also be automated by creating simple utilities.

As you progress, not only will you become much more efficient at using Excel's object model, but you'll develop a critical mass of code that you can reuse later in other applications. This book will get you off to a great start by providing you with many generic routines that you're apt to find useful in nearly every application you write.

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