If you have some useful Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that are loaded with functionality, but are not fully available through Office 365 and Excel online then this short guide is for you.

Why is it not fully functional through Excel online?

Office 365 provides you with the most recent version of Office programs, there is however a desktop version of Excel and an online version. The desktop version is backward compatible, meaning it fully supports VBA macros, which is the technology that is used to implement application-like functionality within Excel. VBA is powerful and very easy to get started with and is widely spread within most industries. Here is the catch, Excel online doesn’t support VBA. The spreadsheet will still open, but all VBA macros will be disabled. Simple as that really.

What has Microsoft replaced VBA with?

Microsoft provide 2 different methods in which functionality within Excel can be implemented, Apps for Office and Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO). Without getting into the tech too much, these are more current technologies. They do however present a bigger barrier to entry because whilst almost anyone could quite quickly learn to put together a VBA macro, these 2 new technologies require some form of understanding of software development and the respective languages.

What are your options?

VBA is not going away overnight, it’s too widely used for that, however it does make sense to at some point make the transition to the newer tech and take advantage of the features that they have to offer. These new technologies can improve the stability, performance and usability of your spreadsheet and also reduce the time it takes to make amendments or implement new features. If you prefer to put the change off for a while, another solution can be too run the spreadsheet somewhere on a permanent basis and only share the relevant data via Excel Online, which is achievable via 3rd party tools. If you would like assistance with migrating your Excel applications to Excel online or making use of tools to share your data securely online, then get in touch and we would be happy to help.

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