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Lesson 2: Working with Variables

2.1 The Concept of Variables

Variables are like mail boxes in the post office. The content of the variables changes every now and then, just like the mail boxes. Like the mail boxes, each variable must be given a name.

The following are rules for naming variables:

Table 2.1 : Examples of valid and invalid variable names

Valid Name

Invalid Name






He&HisFather        *& is not acceptable


Student ID         * Spacing not allowed

2.2 Data Types

There are two data types in Excel VBA , the numeric data types and non-numeric data types, as classified below:

2.2.1 Numeric Data Types

Numeric data types are types of  data that consist of numbers, which can be computed mathematically . In Excel VBA, the numeric data are divided into 7 types, as ummarized in Table 2.2

Table 2.2: Numeric Data Types
Type Storage Range of Values
Byte 1 byte 0 to 255
Integer 2 bytes -32,768 to 32,767
Long 4 bytes -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,648
Single 4 bytes -3.402823E+38 to -1.401298E-45 for negative values 1.401298E-45 to 3.402823E+38 for positive values.
Double 8 bytes -1.79769313486232e+308 to -4.94065645841247E-324 for negative values 4.94065645841247E-324 to 1.79769313486232e+308 for positive values.
Currency 8 bytes -922,337,203,685,477.5808 to 922,337,203,685,477.5807
Decimal 12 bytes +/- 79,228,162,514,264,337,593,543,950,335 if no decimal is use +/- 7.9228162514264337593543950335 (28 decimal places).

2.2.2 Non-numeric Data Types

The nonnumeric data types are summarized in Table 2.3

Table 2.3: Nonnumeric Data Types
Data Type Storage Range
String(fixed length) Length of string 1 to 65,400 characters
String(variable length) Length + 10 bytes 0 to 2 billion characters
Date 8 bytes> January 1, 100 to December 31, 9999


2 bytes

True or False


4 bytes

Any embedded object


16 bytes

Any value as large as Double


Length+22 bytes

Same as variable-length string

2.3 Declaration of variables

In Excel VBA, we must declare the variables before using them by assigning names and data types. You may declare the variables implicitly or explicitly.

2.3.1 Implicit Declaration

Implicit declaration means we assign an initial value to a variable. For example,



Excel VBA automatically create two varaibles MyFirstName and MyAge as variants, and they are assigned data as John and 32 respectively.

2.3.2 Explicit Declaration

Explicit declaration means declaring variables using the Dim statement.

The syntax is as follows:

Dim variableName as DataType 

Example 2.1

Dim password As String  
Dim yourName As String  
Dim firstnum As Integer  
Dim secondnum As Integer  
Dim total As Integer  
Dim BirthDay As Date 

You may also combine them in one line, separating each variable with a comma, as follows:

Dim password As String, yourName As String, firstnum As Integer.

If the data type is not specified, Excel VBA will automatically declare the variable as a Variant. For string declaration, there are two possible formats, one for the variable-length string and another for the fixed-length string. For the variable-length string, just use the same format as Example 2.1 above. However, for the fixed-length string, you have to use the format as shown below:

Dim VariableName as String * n

where n defines the number of characters the string can hold.  For example, Dim yourName as String * 10 mean yourName can hold no more than 10 Characters.

Example 2.2

In this example, we declared three types of variables, namely the string, date and currency.

Private Sub CommandButton1_Click()

Dim YourName As String
Dim BirthDay As Date
Dim Income As Currency
 YourName = "Alex"
 BirthDay = "1 April 1980"
 Income = 1000
 Range("A1") = YourName
 Range("A2") = BirthDay
 Range("A3") = Income
End Sub
Example 2.2

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