VBA gone in Office 2009 rumour

Its gone in Mac Office 2008 and due to be gone from Windows Office 2009 (Office 14) according to El Reg. Being replaced by VSTA or VSTO apparently.

Personally I think The Register reporters have got that wrong. I fully expect VBA in Office 14, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still the primary automation technology. Equally I can imagine VSTO/A being more thoroughly integrated, and perhaps being the primary automation tech.

I’m also pretty sure the Office folks aren’t talking publicly yet about Office 14, so I’m not sure where the Reg got their (mis) information. Or perhaps this is them trying to get MS to say one way or the other?

What do you reckon?? (what level of VBA support do you expect in Office 14? (full?, run existing but no write?, none? etc )

And also what do you reckon the consequences of a VBA-ectomy would be:

  1. business v consumer
  2. 12months after release v 3 years after release.
  3. other



19 Responses to “VBA gone in Office 2009 rumour”

  1. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    Hard to believe. One of the things Microsoft would have to do to make that seamless is :

    – make it possible to run code from VSTO-based assemblies embedded in .xlsx files. Not possible right now.

    – seamless migrate VBA macros to VSTO VB.NET code : impossible task since the syntax is the same but the object’s lifecycle isn’t. And VBA may use Dll and other native library calls, whereas VSTO has a stricter and different security model to enforce. The only possible consequence is that only certified VBA macros (i.e. zero native call) would be able to migrate. May exclude important customers.

  2. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    Also, Reg’s article points to a Microsoft web page (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/isv/bb190538.aspx) which says : “As of July 1, 2007, Microsoft will no longer offer VBA distribution licenses to new customers. Existing VBA customers can still purchase additional VBA licenses from Summit Software and Microsoft for existing solutions.”

    This has been probably misunderstood. What this means is, if you are an ISV who wishes to integrate the VBA run-time and IDE in your software, you will not be able to do that since July 1, 2007. But if you already did the integration prior that date, you can always get your license renewed with Summit Software (which is how it worked for a number years).

    First, this says absolutely NOTHING for Excel itself.

    Second, if you put Excel in the bucket of applications which have integrated the VBA run-time and IDE prior July 1, 2007, it follows that Excel should be able to get the VBA license renewed.

  3. Marcus Says:

    “…for those tasked with building advanced formatting…”
    Is that all we do? That’s much simpler than the explanation I give to friends and family who ask.

    There’s a number of component in the equation. For example, what level of VBA integration & support will open source alternatives offer by the time MS switch VBA off?

    From a business perspective MS would want to make the transition as clear, painless and obvious as possible.

    I think Stephane has picked up on the probable misinterpretation when he distinguished between ISV wanting to integrate VBA in to their applications compared against VBA as it exists within MSO applications.

    However, when the transition does occur I can only imagine there being a l-o-t of work to do.

    Simon: You weren’t kidding when you said you were going to cut back postings. I’m starting to get this twitch…

    Regards –

  4. gobansaor Says:

    I would imagine when the time comes to depreciate VBA it will be of “the run not write” type. A bit similar to the VB6 situation, requiring an older version of Office to do development and maintenance. But I don’t see that happening in the next version as the existing replacement technologies are way beyond the capabilities (or interest) of the millions of part-time Office ‘programmers’ out there.


  5. Jonathan Says:

    It does strike me that this is exactly what happens when a product becomes a monopoly – the amount invested in modifying it becomes a huge headache when the product changes and is suddenly incompatible with the billions of dollars worth of integrations that exist out in the wild…

  6. Jon Peltier Says:

    VBA came out in Excel 5, back in like 1995. In Excel 2007, you can still edit and run XLM macros, which were obsoleted by VBA. This indicates to me that MS feels a similar need to keep supporting VBA for a number of versions.

    “…for those tasked with building advanced formatting…”
    This adds to the “credibility” of the Register’s article.

    VBA ain’t going away any time soon.

  7. Jim Rech Says:

    I have it from sources I cannot reveal that Excel 14 will no longer support formulas. Really!

  8. Simon Says:

    I hadnt heard that, but I did hear the UI will be so big there will be no room for the grid.

  9. Simon Says:

    Its a sad fact that most of the ‘Office’ reporting is done by people with no clue about Excel, their Office experience starts and ends with Word and Outlook.

    Worryingly though, these are the type of people who are on the User Experience clicks program, whilst many of us are not.

  10. MacroMan Says:

    Wow…The author of that article, Phil Manchester, has poor reading comprehension skills, incompetent reporting. The article he’s referencing is just saying that ISVs are no longer allowed to use MSFT’s VBA in their applications. It says nothing about discontinuing VBA in MS Office. …hilarious!

  11. Harlan Grove Says:

    The Register has learned an old lesson about publicity – there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Even if they get the facts wrong, they may net more readers. And they’re probably right about most VBA macros involving formatting if, in aggregate, there are more Word, PowerPoint and Outlook macros than Excel ones. Only Excel developers and daily Excel users would think of Excel when someone mentions Office.

    Microsoft isn’t stupid. Dropping VBA from Windows Office would hurt its sales, but while dropping it from Mac Office may reduce its sales, that may be offset by added Windows Office AND Windows sales to run the former in a VM.

    Anyone got a good idea of the recalcuation speed difference between udfs written in VBA and those in VSTO add-ins? I think I can guess the likelihood that Excel Whatever/VSTO would come with a macro recorder.

  12. Marcus Says:

    “the UI will be so big there will be no room for the grid”
    Boom Boom. Simon, we just need to get you a monkey with a snare drum for the corner. Nice one.

    “recalcuation speed difference”
    Codematic had some figure here. Perhaps Simon can describe their background?

    Regards –

  13. Biggus Dickus Says:

    VBA isn’t going away anytime soon. Too big an established base.

    O14 WILL have full VBA IMHO and maybe even 15. Only once there is a full-featured “baked-in” VSTA will they be able to devolve VBA. There has to be a story around independent Excel files NOT tied to SP and VS and Excel services. That will need VBA. Otherwise Excel will become just a calc engine and report generator for SP …. not what I see REAL people asking for … ;-)

    Regardless it has to be grandfathered like XLM.

    “I have it from sources I cannot reveal that Excel 14 will no longer support formulas. Really!”

    “I hadnt heard that, but I did hear the UI will be so big there will be no room for the grid.”

    funny !!!


  14. Biggus Dickus Says:

    By the way I am doing a session on “Best-Practices” for Excel development using VBA in the Client track at the ODC in San Jose (Dick Moffat’s Best-Practices” anyway).

    VBA and VBA ONLY !! I am pleased that they asked for it – it shows that there are people in MS who understand that VBA is today’s technology and people have a need to learn how to use it better before anything can ever be done to replace it. There’s more to Excel design with VBA than using the Recorder to automate BAD spreadsheet designs.

    I’m focusing on taking advantage of Excel’s core functionality from within VBA and esigning reliable, maintainable, user-friendly (and user-safe) “Excel Applications” …..

    I’m really looking forward to it. Hope to see some of you there – please let yourselves be know to me.


  15. Nicholas Hebb Says:

    I don’t believe this one bit. I think dropping VBA for Office 2008 Mac will cause minor firestorms as it rolls out. If that happened for Office 14, there would be a uprising in the streets.

    I’ve always worked in manufacturing, and every company I’ve worked at relied on home grown VBA applications to some degree – especially in the Accounting departments.

  16. Simon Says:

    I can believe dropping VBA from Mac will cause MS between zero and immaterial financial pressure.

    Lose a few Mac Office licences, gain a few Vista+Windows Office licences for use with boot camp etc.

    Dropping VBA from Windows Office doesn’t have the same upside, and has catastrophic down side risk.

  17. gobansaor Says:


  18. Simon Says:

    Tom – you beat me to it by 2 minutes!

  19. gobansaor Says:

    And this from the MS Access mob ..

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