Is VBA Coding or Scripting?


Larry Thompson

Is VBA Coding or Scripting?

When it comes to programming languages, there is often confusion about the terms “coding” and “scripting.” Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they do have distinct differences. In this article, we will explore whether VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) falls under coding or scripting.

The Difference Between Coding and Scripting

Before delving into VBA specifically, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between coding and scripting. While both involve writing instructions for a computer to execute, there are nuances that set them apart.


Coding refers to the process of writing instructions using a programming language. It typically involves developing complex algorithms and creating software applications from scratch. Coders have more control over the underlying mechanisms of a program and can build intricate systems with precise logic.


Scripting, on the other hand, involves writing scripts that automate tasks within existing software applications. It focuses on executing a series of commands or actions in a predefined order. Scripts are generally simpler than fully-fledged programs and are often used for repetitive or mundane tasks.

VBA: A Blend of Coding and Scripting

VBA falls somewhere in between coding and scripting. It combines elements of both approaches, making it a versatile tool for automating tasks within Microsoft Office applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access.

VBA allows users to create macros by writing code that interacts with the objects, properties, and methods of these applications. This enables automation of repetitive actions like formatting data in Excel or generating reports in Word.

VBA as Coding

VBA can be considered coding because it involves writing instructions using a programming language. It allows developers to create complex algorithms, define variables, and use conditional statements and loops.

For example, a VBA code snippet might involve sorting data in Excel based on specific criteria. This requires writing code that analyzes the data and rearranges it accordingly. Such tasks require coding skills and an understanding of programming principles.

VBA as Scripting

On the other hand, VBA can also be seen as scripting because it deals with automating tasks within existing software applications. With VBA, users can record their actions and generate code that replicates those actions automatically.

For instance, recording a series of steps to format a table in Word and then running the recorded macro is a form of scripting. The recorded macro essentially becomes a script that performs the same actions each time it is executed.

The Verdict

Considering its characteristics, VBA can be viewed as both coding and scripting. While it allows for the creation of complex algorithms like traditional coding languages, it primarily focuses on automating tasks within Microsoft Office applications, making it scripting-like in nature.

Ultimately, whether you consider VBA as coding or scripting depends on the context in which you are using it. If you are building advanced applications or working with intricate logic, you would likely approach VBA as coding. However, if your goal is to automate repetitive tasks within Office applications, then treating VBA as scripting would be more appropriate.


In conclusion, VBA is a unique blend of coding and scripting. It provides users with the ability to write instructions using a programming language while also focusing on task automation within Microsoft Office applications. Whether you approach VBA as coding or scripting depends on your specific use case and goals.

By understanding the distinctions between coding and scripting, you can better appreciate the capabilities and versatility of VBA as a tool for automating tasks and creating custom solutions within the Microsoft Office suite.

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