VB.net and MS Excel for Beginners


New member
Mar 2, 2010
Programming Experience
Hi all,

sorry to bother you with a total beginner's question. :(

I'm currently working on my (business) master's thesis... the topic is capital budgeting tools to manage major investments for a European energy supplier.

So far the company has used MS Excel for calculating relevant data to make decisions on whether to invest money in new projects or abandon them. There usually is a host of input data, lots of basic calculations and just two or three outputs (such as Net Present Value, Return on Investment etc)

It is my task to develop a new excel template or decide on buying a completely new software license, if excel proves inable to provide the functionality the company needs.

So far I have only very limited programming knowledge, stretching to Java basics, some HTML code and SQL Databases.

However, a colleague hinted at the fact that the VB.net programming language can be easily learned and used to improve excel considerably. Ideally I would need excel to be able to:

- make sure people putting data into our template don't mess with it
- be able to communicate with a database
- have an appealing, structured and neat appearance for ease of usage by people with limited IT abilities
- provide all output, including sensitivity analysis charts, in a structured, printable overview

I'm sorry if this question is inapproriate for this kind of forum but google didn't help me out. All I got was source code examples, but before I start learning VB.net, I would like to now whether it can do what I need it to and whether it isn't too complicated for me to pick up in time.

Should I look into VB.net to solve my problems?

Cheers :D


Active member
Feb 19, 2010
Programming Experience
You can make a VB.NET program look how you want it very easily. You can connect to databases with VB.Net, but I'm not sure about excel databases. I to am new to programming in VB.Net, so a more senior programmer could probably answer that for you.


Well-known member
Aug 23, 2005
Programming Experience
Excel does allow connecting to a database but in my personal opinion it is a very inefficient. You just don’t have the security and validation like you have with a vb.net program. Although I think people are capable of teaching themselves programming it is a very long and time consuming process. Also as a new programmer without any experience and/or training you are not going to make a very efficient application in your first go around. Would you read a book about carpentry and then expect you could build your own house without problems….

There are many factual reasons to use an application instead of Excel but I would suggest hiring a professional programmer to do the work. It may be expensive but in the long run would be cheaper & faster then trying to learn it from scratch; the final product will be more efficient; and you won’t have to spend the next few years constantly debugging a program that will be filled with beginner mistakes.
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