What Is Variant Data Type in VBA?


Larry Thompson

When working with VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), it is essential to understand the different data types that can be used. One such data type is the variant data type. In this article, we will explore what a variant data type is and how it can be used in VBA programming.

Understanding Data Types

Data types define the nature of the values that can be stored in a variable. In VBA, there are several built-in data types, such as integer, string, boolean, and variant.

The Variant Data Type

The variant data type is a special data type in VBA that can hold any type of value. It is often referred to as the “everything” or “universal” data type because it can store numbers, strings, dates, objects, and even arrays.

The variant data type is quite flexible but comes with certain trade-offs. While it allows you to store any value in a single variable, it does so at the cost of performance and memory usage. Variants require more memory than specific data types and may slow down your code execution.

Declaring Variant Variables

In VBA, you can declare a variant variable by using the Dim statement followed by the variable name:

Dim myVariable As Variant

You can also assign an initial value to a variant variable:

Dim myVariable As Variant
myVariable = 10

Using Variant Variables

Variants are useful when you need to work with different types of values within a single variable. For example:

  • You can assign numeric values to variants: myVariable = 10
  • You can assign string values to variants: myVariable = "Hello"
  • You can assign boolean values to variants: myVariable = True
  • You can even assign objects to variants: Set myVariable = Worksheets("Sheet1")

Note: When using variants to store objects, make sure to use the Set keyword before assigning the object reference.

Type Conversion and Variant Functions

Variants are also handy when you need to convert one data type into another. VBA provides several functions specifically designed for variant conversion:

  • CStr: Converts a value into a string data type.
  • CInt: Converts a value into an integer data type.
  • CDate: Converts a value into a date data type.
  • CLng: Converts a value into a long data type.

To use these functions, simply provide the value you want to convert as an argument. For example:

Dim myString As String
myString = CStr(10) 'Converts the number 10 into a string "10"


The variant data type in VBA is a versatile option that allows you to store values of any type within a single variable. It provides flexibility but at the cost of performance and memory usage.

Understanding how and when to use variant variables can greatly enhance your VBA programming skills. Remember to use specific data types whenever possible to optimize your code and improve its efficiency.

Now that you have a good understanding of the variant data type, you can confidently use it in your VBA projects and take advantage of its flexibility.

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