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FAQ7- Why are these things only available using automation?



Good question! Actually, our take on it is “Why is this vast automation capability included with the standard Excel at all?”.

But to answer your question, spreadsheets have almost from the start had features allowing what is commonly referred to as “macros”. Macros are containers/packets of automation programming code written by the user.

The inclusion of macros, allowed the Excel developers to concentrate on all the commonly used features required by most users yet allowing a way for advanced users to accomplish more complex and specialized tasks by writing their own programming code.

The early macro capability, although extremely valuable, was still kind of clunky. You actually coded the program steps on the spreadsheet itself. Once object based programming began to underwrite these applications, the possibilities became mind boggling. The extremely rational and easy to use nature of object based programming allowed developers to share these objects with the user at a measured risk.

No matter how you look at it, any application where the developer allows you to enter his world and start adding your own code is an order of magnitude more complex. Knowing this, it’s utterly amazing how much power the Excel developers gave to the user and how well they managed to control the whole process. Excel is an extremely complex program on it’s own. Letting users tinker with a huge array of it’s internal objects is very unusual. The developers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for what they’ve done.

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