Is VBA a Programming or Scripting?


Heather Bennett

Is VBA a Programming or Scripting?

VBA, which stands for Visual Basic for Applications, is a powerful tool that allows users to automate tasks and customize applications in the Microsoft Office Suite. However, there is often confusion about whether VBA is considered a programming language or a scripting language. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of VBA and determine whether it falls into the category of programming or scripting.

What is Programming?

Programming involves writing instructions for a computer to perform specific tasks. It requires knowledge of programming concepts, such as variables, loops, conditionals, and algorithms. Programming languages provide a set of rules and syntax to communicate with computers effectively.

What is Scripting?

Scripting, on the other hand, involves writing scripts that automate tasks within an existing software application. Scripts are typically interpreted rather than compiled and are used to control the behavior of an application or program. Scripting languages focus on ease of use and rapid development.

VBA as a Programming Language

VBA can be considered a programming language due to its ability to perform complex tasks by using variables, loops, conditionals, and other programming constructs. It provides a structured approach to coding by supporting modularization through functions and subroutines.

  • Variables: VBA allows you to declare variables with different data types such as integers, strings, booleans, etc. This enables you to store and manipulate data within your programs.
  • Loops: VBA supports various loop structures like For, While, and Do While.

    These loops help you repeat certain actions until specific conditions are met.

  • Conditionals: VBA allows you to use conditional statements like If, ElseIf, and Else. This helps you make decisions based on certain conditions.
  • Functions and Subroutines: VBA supports the creation of functions and subroutines, which allow you to reuse code and improve readability.

These features demonstrate that VBA possesses the characteristics of a programming language. It enables developers to write complex and structured code to perform a wide range of tasks within Microsoft Office applications.

VBA as a Scripting Language

VBA can also be considered a scripting language due to its ability to control the behavior of the Microsoft Office applications it is integrated with. It allows users to automate repetitive tasks, customize user interfaces, and interact with various application objects through its extensive object model.

Automation: VBA enables users to automate tasks by recording macros or writing code. Macros can be replayed later or assigned to buttons, menus, or keyboard shortcuts for quick execution.

User Interface Customization: With VBA, you can create custom forms, dialog boxes, and ribbons within Microsoft Office applications. This allows you to enhance the user experience by tailoring the interface to specific requirements.

Application Object Model: VBA provides access to an extensive object model for each Microsoft Office application. This allows you to manipulate documents, worksheets, charts, emails, and other elements programmatically.

The ability of VBA to automate tasks and customize applications aligns with the characteristics of scripting languages. It emphasizes ease of use and rapid development for manipulating existing software functionality.


Based on its capabilities and features, VBA can be considered both a programming language and a scripting language. It offers the flexibility and power of a programming language while also providing the ease of use and rapid development associated with scripting languages.

Whether you classify VBA as a programming or scripting language may depend on your perspective and the context in which it is used. Regardless, learning VBA can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency in utilizing Microsoft Office applications.

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