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Indispensable Reference Tool
on October 14, 2000
I spend a lot of time writing Excel macros for my current employer and I can tell you that Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA has been an invaluable tool. I was familiar with VBA (novice level) before purchasing the book and I feel I've been learning new code at an exponential rate thanks to John Walkenbach's exceptionally clear examples. You really can do some powerful stuff with VBA and Walkenbach is a gifted (and entertaining) teacher. If you have no previous experience, you will be amazed at how easy it is to create professional looking message boxes, input boxes, and even custom multi-page dialog boxes. Walkenbach demonstrates how to add and remove buttons from toolbars and menus, work with cell and range data, use "ActiveX" controls (such as option buttons, check boxes, and combo boxes), run procedures when certain events occur (such as opening a workbook or clicking on the right mouse button), and even how to use API calls to perform functions that are normally outside the scope of VBA (such as identifying the path to the Windows folder or identifying the printer port). All of the code examples (and there are plenty of them) are clearly explained. Walkenbach doesn't just list page after page of code an expect you to figure out what each line accomplishes. Instead, he defines all of the objects and properties he uses and explains the methods he uses to manipulate them. You won't be overwhelmed by the complexity of the code but you will be thrilled about how powerful your macros are.
I'll give you an example from my own experience to demonstrate the usefulness of Excel 2000 Power Programming with VBA. I had created several worksheets templates at my job to be used by other employees. I locked several cells that contained formulas because I didn't want the employees to be able to change them. It quickly came to my attention, though, that people could inadvertently destroy the formulas by using Excel's "cut" function on unlocked cells that the formulas referenced. I needed to disable Excel's "cut" function whenever the workbook in question was active. Using the book I found out how to remove the "cut" button from both the "Edit" menu and the standard toolbar, disable the shortcut menu that pops up whenever you right click on a worksheet object (which also contains the "cut" button), and disable Excel's cell drag and drop feature since it produces the same results as the "cut" function. I just inserted the relevant code in the "ThisWorkbook" module as Walkenbach explains, and now nobody can accidentally screw up the protected formulas.
I think it's important to note, though, that while this book is OK for novice programmers, it assumes the reader is already very familiar with Excel's tools and functions. Don't buy it if you aren't already an advanced Excel end-user. Some previous experience with VBA would also help, but since Walkenbach spends a good portion of text discussing foundational concepts and providing entry-level code snippets, this book can be just as useful to neophytes as it is to intermediate and advanced developers.