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Professional Excel Development: The Definitive Guide to Developing Applications Using Microsoft Excel and VBA

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Professional Excel Development: The Definitive Guide to Developing Applications Using Microsoft Excel and VBA

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  • Copyright 2007
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 936
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-50981-1
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-50981-9

Finally, there's a book that treats Excel as the powerful development platform it really is, and covers every facet of developing commercial-quality Excel applications.

This is not a book for beginners. Writing for professional developers and true Excel experts, the authors share insider's knowledge they've acquired building Excel applications for many of the world's largest companies–including Microsoft. Professional Excel Development demonstrates how to get the utmost from Excel, addressing everything from application architectures through worksheet and userform design, charting, debugging, error handling and optimizing performance. Along the way, the authors offer best practices for every type of Excel development, from building add-ins through interacting with XML Web services. Coverage includes

  • Building add-ins to provide new Excel functions
  • Designing effective worksheets, userforms and other user interface elements
  • Leveraging Excel's powerful data analysis features
  • Creating sophisticated custom charts
  • Handling errors, debugging applications and optimizing performance
  • Using class modules and interfaces to create custom objects
  • Understanding Windows API calls: when to use them, and how to modify them
  • Adding worksheet functions with
  • C-based XLLs
  • Programming with databases
  • Controlling external applications from Excel
  • Integrating with Visual Basic 6, VB.NET and Visual Studio Tools for Office
  • Using XML to import and export data and communicate with Web services
  • Providing help, securing, packaging and distributing

Sample Content

Table of Contents



About the Authors.

1. Introduction.

    About This Book

    The Excel Developer

    Excel as an Application Development Platform



    Supported Versions


    On the CD

    Help and Support


2. Application Architectures.



3. Excel and VBA Development Best Practices.

    Naming Conventions

    Best Practices for Application Structure and Organization

    General Application Development Best Practices


4. Worksheet Design.

    Principles of Good Worksheet UI Design

    Program Rows and Columns: The Fundamental UI Design Technique

    Defined Names


    User Interface Drawing Techniques

    Data Validation

    Conditional Formatting

    Using Controls on Worksheets

    Practical Example


5. Function, General and Application-Specific Add-ins.

    The Four Stages of an Application

    Function Library Add-ins

    General Add-ins

    Application-Specific Add-ins

    Practical Example


6. Dictator Applications.

    Structure of a Dictator Application

    Practical Example


7. Using Class Modules to Create Objects.

    Creating Objects

    Creating a Collection

    Trapping Events

    Raising Events

    Practical Example


8. Advanced Command Bar Handling.

    Command Bar Design

    Table-Driven Command Bars

    Putting It All Together

    Loading Custom Icons from Files

    Hooking Command Bar Control Events

    Practical Example


9. Understanding and Using Windows API Calls.


    Working with the Screen

    Working with Windows

    Working with the Keyboard

    Working with the File System and Network

    Practical Examples


10. Userform Design and Best Practices.


    Control Fundamentals

    Visual Effects

    Userform Positioning and Sizing


    Dynamic Userforms

    Modeless Userforms

    Control Specifics

    Practical Examples


11. Interfaces.

    What Is an Interface?

    Code Reuse

    Defining a Custom Interface

    Implementing a Custom Interface

    Using a Custom Interface

    Polymorphic Classes

    Improving Robustness

    Simplifying Development

    A Plug-in Architecture

    Practical Example


12. VBA Error Handling.

    Error-Handling Concepts

    The Single Exit Point Principle

    Simple Error Handling

    Complex Project Error Handler Organization

    The Central Error Handler

    Error Handling in Classes and Userforms

    Putting It All Together

    Practical Example


13. Programming with Databases.

    An Introduction to Databases

    Designing the Data Access Tier

    Data Access with SQL and ADO

    Further Reading

    Practical Example


14. Data Manipulation Techniques.

    Excel’s Data Structures

    Data Processing Features

    Advanced Functions


15. Advanced Charting Techniques.

    Fundamental Techniques

    VBA Techniques


16. VBA Debugging.

    Basic VBA Debugging Techniques

    The Immediate Window (Ctrl+G)

    The Call Stack (Ctrl+L)

    The Watch Window

    The Locals Window

    The Object Browser (F2)

    Creating and Running a Test Harness

    Using Assertions

    Debugging Shortcut Keys that Every Developer Should Know


17. Optimizing VBA Performance.

    Measuring Performance

    The PerfMon Utility

    Creative Thinking




18. Controlling Other Office Applications.


    The Primary Office Application Object Models

    Practical Example


19. XLLs and the C API.

    Why Create an XLL-Based Worksheet Function

    Creating an XLL Project in Visual Studio

    The Structure of an XLL

    The XLOPER and OPER Data Types

    The Excel4 Function

    Commonly Used C API Functions

    XLOPERs and Memory Management

    Registering and Unregistering Custom Worksheet Functions

    Sample Application Function

    Debugging the Worksheet Functions

    Miscellaneous Topics

    Additional Resources


20. Combining Excel and Visual Basic 6.

    A Hello World ActiveX DLL

    Why Use VB6 ActiveX DLLs in Excel VBA Projects

    In-Process versus Out-of-Process

    Automating Excel From a VB6 EXE

    Practical Examples


21. Writing Add-ins with Visual Basic 6.

    A Hello World Add-in

    The Add-in Designer

    Installation Considerations

    The AddinInstance Events

    Command Bar Handling

    Why Use a COM Add-in?

    Automation Add-ins

    Practical Example


22. Using VB.NET and the Visual Studio Tools for Office.


    How to Leverage the .NET Framework

    Managed Workbooks

    Managed Excel Add-ins

    Hybrid VBA/VSTO Solutions

    The VSTO Security Model

    The Big Issues

    Further Reading

    Practical Example


23. Excel, XML and Web Services.


    Web Services

    Practical Example


24. Providing Help, Securing, Packaging and Distributing.

    Providing Help







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