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Knowing Your Tools: The Developer Tab

Let's start with a basic overview of the tools needed to use VBA. By default, Microsoft hides the VBA tools. You need to complete the following steps to change a setting in Excel options to access the Developer tab.

  1. Open the File menu to get to the new Backstage view.
  2. Along the left navigation bar, select Options under Excel.
  3. In the Excel Options dialog, select Customize Ribbon from the left navigation.
  4. In the Right list box, the Developer tab is third from the bottom. Select the check box next to this item.
  5. Click OK to return to Excel.

Excel displays the Developer tab shown in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 The Developer tab provides an interface for running and recording macros.

The Code group on the Developer tab contains the icons used for recording and playing back VBA macros, as listed here:

  • Visual Basic icon—Opens the Visual Basic Editor.
  • Macros icon—Displays the Macro dialog, where you can choose to run or edit a macro from the list of macros.
  • Record Macro icon—Begins the process of recording a macro.
  • Use Relative Reference icon—Toggles between using relative or absolute recording. With relative recording, Excel will record that you move down three cells. With absolute recording, Excel will record that you selected cell A4.
  • Macro Security icon—Accesses the Trust Center, where you can choose to allow or disallow macros to run on this computer.

The Controls group of the Developer tab contains an Insert menu where you can access a variety of programming controls that can be placed on the worksheet. See "Assigning a Macro to a Form Control, Text Box, or Shape," later in this chapter. Other icons in this group enable you to work with the on-sheet controls. The Run Dialog button enables you to display a custom dialog box or userform that you designed in VBA. For more on userforms, see Chapter 10, "Userforms: An Introduction."

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