Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Understanding Variables in VBA Macros.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 25, 2017)
Excel allows you to write macros in a language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). This is a specialized version of the BASIC programming language, and as such, allows you to use variables. Variables are nothing but names which represent other data. During the course of your macro you can even change the data to which the name applies.
VBA allows you to use quite a few different types of variables. There are eleven types of variables you can use in your macros. These are known as data types, and you should use the data type that most closely matches the characteristics of the information you are storing in the variable. VBA supports the following data types:
An additional data type (Decimal) is also specified in the VBA documentation, but is not currently supported by the language. As in other versions of BASIC, VBA also allows you to define variable arrays and you can also create user-defined data types. The full range of variable specifications is much too complex for a simple ExcelTip, however. If you need specific information about how to work with variables, refer to a good Visual Basic or VBA programming book. You can also look in the VBA on-line help under the Dim statement.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2257) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Understanding Variables in VBA Macros.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
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