VB vs VBA: Difference and Comparison

VB and VBA are soft wares developed by a well-known company in this business, Microsoft. VB is the abbreviated form of Visual Basic, whereas VBA stands for Visual Basic Applications.

Key Takeaways

  1. Visual Basic (VB) is a programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) developed by Microsoft, which allows developers to create Windows applications and software components.
  2. Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is an extension of Visual Basic, designed specifically for automating tasks and adding custom functionality to Microsoft Office applications, such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  3. Although VB and VBA share similar syntax, they serve different purposes. VB is used to create standalone applications, and VBA is used to enhance and automate tasks within Microsoft Office programs.


VB is a standalone programming language used for developing Windows applications. VB also requires a separate development environment for coding and debugging. VBA is a programming language used to extend and automate functionality within other applications, such as Microsoft Office.

VB vs VBA 1

Basics introduce visual Basics. It uses Component Object Model programming.

It was implemented as a support for Microsoft Office applications, and hence user-defined functions were allowed to be added by the creator. Hence the applications were allowed to access many more functionalities in a system.


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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonVBVBA
Binary compilationVB can compile the program code in it as an executable binary.VBA cannot compile into executable binary and needs an external source such as Word.
DLLVB can use the Dynamic Links Library and implement Component Object Model programs.VBA does not have provisions to create programs that can use DLL.
Program TypesVB can create stand-alone applications and has the compiler to do so.VBA cannot create a new application that is stand alone. It can be used only in Office applications.
Program CompilationVisual Basic is fully compiled.VBA is only partially compiled. Compiling a program requires an interpreter.
SpeedVB quickly executes the programs that are compiled in it.VBA requires time to execute the API calls, so the time it takes to gather output is high.


What is VB?

Visual Basic is the application programming interface that Microsoft developed.  It uses event-driven programming language, which means that the execution of a task is triggered only if a specific other job linked to it starts to execute.

Direct accesses required for running an application are pre-programmed in the available functionalities.  The Rapid Application Development module of GUI provides access to the databases.

VB supports the programmers by providing default attributes and actions that define these components. The advantage of creating an application using VB is that in the GUI, most of the application’s functionalities can be visually developed.

Subroutines and methods are used to identify the codes in VB. It can also use ancient looping and other executable statement blocks.


What is VBA?

Visual Basic for Application is also developed by Microsoft, including new features. It introduced User Defined Functions that can access Windows API and other functionalities required for a program through DLLs.

The drawback of VBA is that it can only be functional in the applications that come under Microsoft Office. Standalone programs are not supported by it.

The host application interacts with VBA using OLE automation. The host application has the DLL and the API to route the application to the necessary document.

Officially, there are 11 releases for VBA beginning from 1993. The oldest version was launched in MS Excel, which was a great success.

Main Differences Between VB and VBA

  1. Visual Basic supports standalone executable programs. Visual Basic for Applications can only be used in host applications like Microsoft Office.
  2. VB can code a program into an executable binary form, whereas VBA needs an external support application.
  3. VB has the provision to create applications that can use Dynamic Library links. VBA can only create programs that can use the DLLs present in the host applications.
  4. VB contains a compiler that is fully compiled. VBA is partially assembled, and it needs an interpreter for support.
  5. VB can execute programs very quickly, while VBA takes time to execute programs with many functions and API calls.

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