Understanding Variables, Conditions & Loops in VBA [Part 2 of 5]

Posted on August 30th, 2011 in VBA Macros - 41 comments

This article is part of our VBA Crash Course. Please read the rest of the articles in this series by clicking below links.

What are Variables, Conditions & Loops are and how to use them in Excel VBA

  1. What is VBA & Writing your First VBA Macro in Excel
  2. Understanding Variables, Conditions & Loops in VBA
  3. Using Cells, Ranges & Other Objects in your Macros
  4. Putting it all together – Your First VBA Application using Excel
  5. My Top 10 Tips for Mastering VBA & Excel Macros

In part 2 of our VBA Crash Course, we are going to learn what Variables, Conditions & Loops are and how to use them in Excel VBA.

What are Variables, Conditions & Loops?

If you are new to computer programming, you might think I am speaking legalese. So, to make it easy to understand, lets assume you run a bunch of stores across the town. To make it colorful, lets call your stores “We are nuts” – a dry fruit and nuts store chain. At the end of every day, you call each of the 24 store managers and ask them how much sales they have made in that day.

Now, you are not the kind of boss who micro-manages & nitpicks. So you don’t really note down sale for every store. Instead, as you call the store manager, you just mentally update the total. So first store says “$2,300″ your total is 2300. Second manger says “$4,000″, the total now will be 6300. So on.

The value 6300 here is nothing but a variable.

A Variable is a small chunk of computer’s memory used to store a value.

Although you don’t micro-manage, you are certainly concerned, whenever a “we are nuts” store reports sales that are too low or too high. You then speak with the store manager for few extra minutes to understand what is going and how you can help. Lets just say, this threshold is $500 for low sales and $5000 for high sales. So anytime a manager reports values beyond this limit (500,5000), you spend some time discussing the business and learning what is going on.

This sort of thing is nothing but a condition.

A Condition is a logical check computer performs to test something. For eg. Sales < 500 or Sales > 5000 is a condition.

And now the whole process of each of the 24 store managers calling you and reporting the daily sales is nothing but a loop. They call you everyday and do the same thing.

A Loop is a set of instructions meant to be followed certain number of times.

Understanding Variables, Conditions & Loops in Excel VBA [Part 2 of 5]

Using Variables in VBA

Variables as we learned, are small chunks of computer memory used to store and retrieve a value. We can use them to store numbers, text, ranges of cells, charts or pretty much anything when it comes to VBA.

As with anything else, Variables too have a life span. Some variables die as soon as the SUB in which they are created ends. Some variables (declared at module level) have better life span as they go to gym and eat healthy food.

How to create variables in VBA?

Whenever you want to use a variable, you must create them first. This is your way of telling computer to set aside some memory units so that your variable can be used.

In Excel VBA, you can do this by the DIM statement.

For eg. below are some variables declared in VBA.

Dim someNumber As Integer
Dim otherNumber As Double
Dim someText As String
Dim aCondition As Boolean
Dim myCells As Range
Dim myChart As Chart
Dim myList(1 To 10) As String
Dim anotherList() As Variant

Aside: Should I define my variables?

By default, you can use variables without defining them in VBA. That means, if we write someNumber=12 without writing any DIM statement corresponding to it, your VBA code would still work. But this is not a good practice. Mainly because, if you are not declaring variables, then you don’t know what is available for you to use.

You can force Excel to throw up an error whenever you did not declare variables by adding the statement option explicit at the top of your code.

As you can see, this is almost like plain English. Let us understand 2 of these lines. The rest you can figure out easily.

Dim someNumber as Integer: This line tells Excel that you want to have a variable with the name someNumber which is of the type Integer. This means, you are going to use someNumber variable to store integer values only. Please note that Excel VBA integers are capable of storing values from -32,768 to 32,767 only. If you want to store bigger (or smaller) numbers, you can use the types Long or Double.

Dim myList(1 to 10) as String: This line tells Excel that you want to use a list of values (called as arrays in computer lingo) of String (text) type. The list size is defined to be 10. You can access individual items of the list by using the item number, like this: myList(2) points to second item in the list.

How to use variables in VBA?

Once you have created a few variables, you can use them in your VBA code. A few examples below.

VBA Code What it does?
someNumber = 2 Stores 2 in to the variable someNumber
someText = “Hello” someText has the text value hello
someNumber = someNumber + 1 Increments the value of someNumber by 1
myList(2) = 812 Sets the value of 2nd item in myList array to 812
activeCell.Value = someNumber Places the value of someNumber in currently selected cell
someNumber = activeCell.Value Places the value of currently selected cell in someNumber variable

Using Conditions in VBA

Almost everything we do involves making decisions & testing conditions. In the “we are nuts” example, we are testing the condition of sales less than 500 or more than 5000 and then doing something based on that.

You can use various statements in VBA to test for conditions. We will learn the simplest of them. IF and THEN statement.

Using IF THEN Statement in VBA

VBA’s IF Then statement looks almost like plain English. Here is an example to test the Sales condition.

If ourSales < 500 or ourSales > 5000 then

'special instructions to handle too many or too little sales

end if

The above code should be obvious to you by now.

Using ELSE statement in VBA

Just like IF THEN statements are used to test a condition and do something, ELSE is used to do something when the IF condition is failed.

For eg,

If ourSales < 500 or ourSales > 5000 then

'special instructions to handle too many or too little sales


'Note down the sales & move on

end if

Would just note down the sales figures if the sales are between 500 and 5000.

Using Loops in VBA

A Loop is a set of instructions meant to be followed specific number of times, as defined earlier. In “we are nuts” example, we are calling and asking for sales 24 times. That means we are doing the same set of operations (call, ask for sales, if the sales are too low or too high do something, hang-up) 24 times, in a loop.

In VBA, there are several different ways to write loops. We will see the easiest type of loop today. For more, please consider joining our Online VBA classes.

Using FOR Loop in VBA

A for loop repeats a set of VBA instructions any given number of times. For eg.

For storeNumber = 1 to 24

'call the store

'ask for sales figures

'do something if needed

'hang up

Next storeNumber

Would run for 24 times and each time repeats the same 4 steps (call, ask, do, hang-up).

Using FOR EACH Loop in VBA

FOR EACH is a special type of loop in Excel used to run same instructions for each of the various items in a list.

For example,

For Each cell in Range("A1:A10")

cell.value = cell.value + 1

Next cell

would run 10 times and increment each of the cell’s values by 1 in the range A1:A10.

Putting it all together – a Simple VBA Program to Note Down Sales of 24 stores

Now that you have learned 3 key ingredients of VBA – Variables, Conditions & Loops, its time we put them together to do a small VBA program.

A Demo of our Daily Sales Log VBA Application

Before we jump in to the code, lets just take a look at how it would work. I have shown it only for 5 stores. But it works for 24.

Using Variables, Conditions & Loops in Excel VBA - A demo

The Code behind our Daily Sales Log VBA Application

Here is the code that captures the sales of 24 stores whenever you click on the “Capture Sales” button.

Sub captureSales()
'when you run this macro, it will take the sales of all the 24 stores we own
'it will ask for a reason if the sales are too low or too high

Dim storeNum As Integer
Dim reason As String
Dim store As Range

storeNum = 1
For Each store In Range("C7:C30")
store.Value = InputBox("Sales for Store " & storeNum)
If store.Value < 500 Or store.Value > 5000 Then
reason = InputBox("Why are the sales deviated?", "Reason for Deviation", "Reason for Deviation")
store.Offset(, 1).Value = reason
End If
storeNum = storeNum + 1
Next store
End Sub

How this code works?

By now, you are already familiar with various parts of this code. So I will just explain the alien portions.

  • Dim statements: These lines declare the variables we are going to use. Notice the different data types (Integer, Range etc.) we have used for various types of data we want to hold.
  • For Each store In Range(“C7:C30″): This line is going to tell excel that for each store (ie cell) in the range C7:C30, we need to repeat the instructions all the way until Next Store. In our case, Excel is going to repeat for 24 times.
  • store.Value = InputBox(“Sales for Store ” & storeNum): This line shows a small box to you and asks for your input. You can enter a number and press OK (or enter). Whatever value you enter will be placed in current store’s cell.
  • reason = InputBox(“Why are the sales deviated?”, “Reason for Deviation”, “Reason for Deviation”): This line shows a box to user with a title and default value (Reason for deviation).
  • store.Offset(,1).value = reason: This statement places the reason for sales deviation in to the cell right to the store sales. Offset(,1) does the trick here.

Download Example Workbook & Learn about Variables, Conditions & Loops in VBA

Click here to download the example workbook and learn more about variables, conditions & loops in VBA.

What Next – Understanding Cells, Ranges & Other Objects in VBA

In the part 3 of this tutorial, learn how to use cells, ranges & other objects from VBA. Stay Tuned.

If you have not read, please read the first part of this series – Introduction to Excel VBA – What is it & How to write your first VBA Macro.

How do you like this Example?

How do you like the VBA examples shown in this article? How would you enhance the macro to do more? One idea is to add another button to clear previous day’s sales.

Please share your views & ideas using comments. I like to learn from what you share.

Join Our VBA Classes

We run an online VBA (Macros) Class every 3 months. We just opened enrollments for our second batch of training. If you are interested to learn VBA and become a master in it, please consider joining this course.

Click here to learn more and Join our VBA program.

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Written by Chandoo
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41 Responses to “Understanding Variables, Conditions & Loops in VBA [Part 2 of 5]”

  1. Veronica says:

    Nice :) good explanation simple yet effective. The example was also not complicated..Looking forward for next part !

  2. NickDJ says:

    Nice example Chandoo! I’m looking forward to joining VBA Class; these examples are such a great teaser! I have a big project at the office I’m looking to automate so I cant wait to save the time

  3. Dev Bhatia says:

    Great….!!! I am a regular reader of your blog. I am new to VBA but you just made it as easy as eating a cake. Looking forward to your next awesome articles. You guys at Chandoo.org are wonderful.

  4. Dave says:

    Excellent tutorial with clear explanations of the variables etc.
    I would only add some emphasis on the importance of using the
    ‘comment lines to track what the code is doing.
    This helps a lot if you need to modify it later, or if someone else needs to follow it up after you have lost the job!
    I tend to be rather verbose myself due to short term memory problems :-)

  5. David says:

    Chandoo, I know it’s only a sample, but why didn’t you indent your code? Makes it easier to read, especially when you’re using conditionals and loops.

    I use Smart Indenter (http://www.oaltd.co.uk/indenter/default.htm) to auto-format my code for me. So far no problems in Excel, and I also use it in MS Project modules and forms as well. Saves me the headache of trying to format everything by hand.

    And ditto to Dave’s comments: Early on in my career I didn’t understand the importance of commenting, and after having to go back and revise and add new features to old code I’m kicking myself for not commenting as much as I should have.

  6. Ravi Kiran says:

    Good post Chandoo. You are very best at teaching.

    One small error to your notice – In the downloadable file “Store Number 5″ is repeated 7 times. I hope you can change it an re-upload the file.


  7. mike says:

    Great work, omg ive always struggled to understand dim, loops and all but this is a wicked example! KEEP IT COMING :)

  8. Guy says:

    Excellent examples to illustrate what variables/conditions/loops are and what functions they serve. Good mental model.

  9. Arvid Martin says:

    I’m a programmer by traiing, but Fortran and PL/1 were my languages in my day. Any recommednations on a good VBA reference book or manual.

    If I wanted to write applications in VBA outside of Office 2007 or 2010, where do I buy a VBA compiler, linker or VBA interpretor for Windows 7?

  10. rizzy says:

    I have to create a Powerpoint whoes headline should be populated from the column of the XL sheet. Is this do able? if so could you please guide me. I actually do testing and take test evidence and store it in the PPT as slides,now i want to populate the step of test from the headline of every slide into the XL sheet which stores the Test script or from the test script to the PPT headline. which one is executable? i am totally new to macro and have faction of knowledge of it..

  11. Amy says:


    I read your site daily. It is awesome. I need a VBA macro that will cycle through the options in a combo box (which you taught me to create), and print the dashboard for each sales manager in the combo box. Then stop looping. Any chance you can help? Thanks!


  12. Shanmugam says:

    Good and thanks,

  13. Siva says:

    Great Tutorial its very useful.


  14. Mark Saren says:

    I need help developing a variable loop for the following code please. The two variables are the person’s email (eMailID) in which to send the report and the place of service (POSc) to select in a pivot table of the report. Both variables are in an Excel table range as listed:

    For Each POSc In Windows(“Constants.xlsx”).Sheets(“ProvPOS”).Range(“AR3:AR74″)
    For Each eMailID In Windows(“Constants.xlsx”).Sheets(“ProvPOS”).Range(“AU3:AU74″)
        Workbooks.Open Filename:=”I:\Denials Monthly FYTD Resp.xlsx”, _
        Windows(“Denials Monthly FYTD Resp.xlsx”).Activate
        Sheets(“DirMgr Resp”).Select
        ActiveSheet.PivotTables(“PivotTable156″).PivotFields(“POS”).CurrentPage = _
        Sheets(“Denials by Catg”).Select
        ActiveSheet.PivotTables(“PivotTable1″).PivotFields(“POS”).CurrentPage = _
        Sheets(“Top25 Reasons”).Select
        ActiveSheet.PivotTables(“PivotTable2″).PivotFields(“POS”).CurrentPage = _
        ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs Filename:= _
            “H:\Service Payor Mix\Denials FYTD ” & (POSc.Value) & “.xlsx”, FileFormat:= _
            xlOpenXMLWorkbook, CreateBackup:=False, ConflictResolution:=True
        Sheets(“Top25 Reasons”).Select
        Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues, Operation:=xlNone, SkipBlanks _
            :=False, Transpose:=False
        Sheets(“Denials by Catg”).Select
        Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues, Operation:=xlNone, SkipBlanks _
            :=False, Transpose:=False
        Sheets(“DirMgr Resp”).Select
        Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues, Operation:=xlNone, SkipBlanks _
            :=False, Transpose:=False
        ActiveWindow.SelectedSheets.Visible = False
        Sheets(“DirMgr Resp”).Select
        ActiveWorkbook.SaveAs Filename:= _
            “I:\Denials\Denials FYTD ” & (POSc.Value) & “.xls”, FileFormat:= _
            xlExcel8, Password:=””, WriteResPassword:=””, ReadOnlyRecommended:=False _
            , CreateBackup:=False
        ActiveWorkbook.SendForReview _
            Recipients:=(eMailID.Value), _
            Subject:=”Please review your report: Denials FYTD.”, _
            ShowMessage:=False, _
     ‘   Application.DisplayAlerts = True
    End Sub

    The above code runs, but does not do what I want it to do, i.e., use each variable in the range, “POSc”, as the pivot table field selection “POS” to create a unique report for each person’s “eMailID”.

    Thank you,

  15. Hi,

    Thanks for such a great website. It has been very useful to me. I have done an IF formula to calculate Tax in excel but would like to write it as a UDF in VBA, can anyone help pls? Please see the formula below. Pls note that if taxable income is 5,751,882 then tax  = 1,605,565.

    IF(TAXABLE INCOME<=150000,0,IF(TAXABLE INCOME<=450000,0.15*(450000-150000),45000))+IF((TAXABLE INCOME-450000)<300000, (TAXABLE INCOME-450000)*0.2,60000)+IF((TAXABLE INCOME-750000)>0,(TAXABLE INCOME-750000)*0.3,0)


    • Hui... says:

      Try the following:
      Function Tax(TI As Double) As Double
        If TI <= 150000 Then
          Tax = 0
        ElseIf TI <= 450000 Then
          Tax = 0.15 * (TI - 150000)
          Tax = 45000
        End If
        If TI > 450000 And TI <= 750000 Then
          Tax = Tax + (TI - 450000) * 0.2
        ElseIf TI > 750000 Then
          Tax = Tax + 60000
        End If
        If TI > 750000 Then
          Tax = Tax + (TI - 750000) * 0.3
        End If
      End Function

      To use it copy the code and paste it in a Code Module in VBA
      In excel simply use:

      I hope the logic is correct but you can adjust to suit

      • Abdul Aziz Sowe says:

        @Chandoo, I was trying to join VBA Classes but getting a response that my card cannot be used to pay. I am using a Visa Debit Card from Sierra Leone. Will appreciate your help. In the meantime, Hui, can you pls help me with a udf to calculate taxable income?

        The logic is: taxable income = Gross Salary – (Social Security Deduction + 220,000))

        Looking forward to your response.


  16. Thanks a ton, Hui.

    It works perfectly.

    Thanks once again. I was wondering, is it possible to do this in Access?

  17. Rakesh says:

    how is the dollar symbol automatically coming up ???

    • RavanReturn says:

      For doing this you need to select you all sheet by pressing ctrl+a.
      After that you need to press ctrl+1 at your left side and in the last whenever you will put numberic figure in that sheet $ symbol autometically shown at the end of figure.

    • RavanReturn says:


  18. Steve says:

    It would have been much more benefitical to have a step by step tutorial to have us create this actual example from start to finish. 

  19. Salahuddin Sultan says:

    Perfect, your site is just about perfect……
    i have a huge data and wish to sort out some desired data out of it……
    what do you suggest me to use as sorting tool? 
    i know how to use pivot table but it is not resolving my problem as i have many fields 

  20. Ravi Dayal Kumar says:

    Please Check this, my condition value becoming zero when I run this macros………………

    Dim Revision As Integer
    Dim Purpose As String
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    ‘ ———————- Removing Border ——————
    Selection.Borders(xlDiagonalDown).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlDiagonalUp).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlEdgeLeft).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlEdgeTop).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlEdgeBottom).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlEdgeRight).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlInsideVertical).LineStyle = xlNone
    Selection.Borders(xlInsideHorizontal).LineStyle = xlNone
    ‘ ———————– Looping ————————-
    Do Until IsEmpty(ActiveCell)
    If Revision = 0 Then
    Purpose = “C”
    Else: Purpose = “R”
    End If
    ActiveCell.Offset(0, 1).Range(“A1″).Value = Revision
    ActiveCell.Offset(0, 3).Range(“A1″).Value = Purpose
    ActiveCell.Offset(0, 5).Range(“A1″).Select
    ActiveCell.Offset(0, -1).Range(“A1″).Select
    ActiveCell.Offset(0, -4).Range(“A1″).Select
    ActiveCell.Offset(0, 5).Range(“A1″).Select
    ActiveCell.Offset(1, -5).Range(“A1″).Select
    Application.CutCopyMode = False
    End Sub

  21. Sagar says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    I’m new to VBA and this example was marvelous. Very simple and made lot of sense in ur explaination. Would surely go through all the other examples. It was excellent.

    Thanks a ton.

  22. How can I loop this little code in A1 I a number to add to A2 answer in Sub learnloop()
    Dim aone As Integer
    Dim atwo As Integer
    Dim athe As Integer
    aone = Range(“a1″).Value
    atwo = Range(“a2″).Value

    athe = aone + atwo
    Range(“A3″).Value = athe
    If athe < 100 Then
    MsgBox ("learn about looping")

    End If

    End SubA3 in A4 and 5 other two number answer in a6 how loop apply here.

  23. Loise Galedo says:

    Good Day,
    I need your help/assistance, because I need to do this report filtering only the Start Time and End Time of each Practitioner.
    Report Date Practitioner ID Practitioner Name Start Time End Time

  24. Steve says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    I use Excel spreadsheet a lot and find writing some basic logic statements that will generate a result for me. For example, in the above example of yours (i.e. 25 stores reporting revenues) I can do that in Excel spreadsheet using ” =IF(….)”.

    My question is, how do I convert my knowledge of ” =IF(…)” into VBA? Where do I start when I have a different scenario and thus a different ” =IF(…) ” logic?

    I am not technical, and am only learning VBA from your tutorials (just finished lesson 1 :) ; and btw, your site is very helpful. Great Job!

  25. John says:


    Your example spreadsheet does not work in Win.8.

    message when I try to save the spreadsheet: Compatability Check; loss of functionality

  26. Saad says:

    how to learn easily coding/programming in VBA in excel which sources is useful

  27. Saad says:

    Also logic use in VBA and how are we better in vba

    • Hui... says:

      Programming or making a Model in Excel is effectively the same thing
      It is purely the format of the environment and the syntax of the language that you are working in that is different

      You break a problem down into logical steps
      where each step or group of steps represents generally a physical or data flow component from real life

      Variables are simply cells (in the Excel Model) or Variables (in VBA) that can hold a value or string

      In Excel
      A1= 10 Sales of Apples
      A2= 20 sales of Bananas
      A3= A1+A2
      =30 Total sales

      In VBA
      Dim Sales_of_Apples as Double
      Dim Sales_of_Bananas as Double
      Dim Total_Sales as Double
      Sales_of_Apples = 10
      Sales_of_Bananas = 20
      Total_Sales = Sales_of_Apples + Sales_of_Bananas

      =30 Total sales

      VBA has a number of tools that allow more effective decision making and repetitive functions or loops to be performed a lot simpler than can be done using Excel

      To learn,
      1. Start with small problems and slowly get bigger by introducing new functionality and steps to your VBA
      2. Look at other peoples solutions to problems and ask how/why they did what they did
      3. Read a book on VBA, They typically walk you through from the basic steps to advanced steps in a logical sequence

  28. Kamlesh says:

    Hi Chandoo,

    Very good basic understing of VBA and Macro. However I am not clear how this programe will simulate the Macro.. I am not clear, whether program will run the excel or excel data will create the programme..? please clarify.

  29. Eric says:


    I was able to go run the macro on my own and it worked. I notice the macro does not store the values to excel, is this expected? Is there a way I can do this?


  30. Naveed says:

    Excellent tutorials Chandoo. I am new to VBA. I was wondering if you want to add another question, like “What is the store number?” before putting in the associated sales value, how do you do it?

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