Microsoft allows the development of user-defined functions and the automation of certain processes and calculations. Visual Basic for Applications is a standard feature of Microsoft Office products.

Visual Basic For Applications allows user a level of customization beyond what is typically available in Microsoft Office products, such as Excel, Word and Power Point. A user types commands into an editing module to create a macro. Macros can allow the user to automatically generate customized reports, charts and perform other data processing functions. Within the finance industry, VBA for Excel is commonly used to develop and maintain complex financial spreadsheet models.

Visual Basic .NET is clearly more difficult to learn and use. The vastly improved capability does come at a fairly high cost of technical complexity. Microsoft helps to make up for this increased technical difficulty by providing even more software tools in .NET to help programmers. Most programmers agree that VB.NET is such a huge leap forward that it’s worth it.