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With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company.
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Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding Variables.
Macros are written in a language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). VBA allows you to use quite a few different types of variables. Variables are nothing but names that represent other data. In general, you can store either numbers or characters in VBA variables. The language provides eleven specific types of variables you can use in your macros. These are known as data types, and you should use the data type that most closely matches the characteristics of the information you are storing in the variable. VBA supports the following data types:
An additional data type (Decimal) is also specified in the VBA documentation, but is not currently supported by the language. VBA also allows you to define variable arrays, and you can also create user-defined data types. The full range of variable specifications is much too complex for a simple WordTip, however. If you need specific information about how to work with variables, refer to a good Visual Basic or VBA programming book. You can also look in the VBA on-line help under the Dim statement. (The Dim statement is used to declare the data type to be used for a variable.)
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (118) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding Variables.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!