Visual Basic: Most Popular Articles
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The advice on the web that tells you how to convert text to numbers in Excel doesn't work. The advice here does. Tested in Excel 2003 and Excel 2007.
Ten commonsense suggestions to make coding Excel VBA faster and easier. These tips are based on Excel 2010 (but they work in nearly all versions) and many were inspired by the O'Reilly book: Excel 2010 - The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald.
The starting place for exploring Visual Basic resources on the Web. Here's how to get started programming Visual Basic from the ground up.
A reader asked how to change the background color of an Excel spreadsheet cell with VBA macro code. The answer involved some techniques that could come in handy for more than just this. This Quick Tip explains it all.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The concept of
Threading is a technique that you usually don't learn about until you find that your program just isn't performing the way it should. This introduction shows you how to get started using threads and also illustrates how they work using a Permutations regression example from a previous article running as a worker thread.
DataSet is a fundamental object in dozens of VB.NET technologies. If you need a really quick introduction to complete some other task, this Quick Tip is designed to do just that.
VB.NET resource files allow you to make objects like graphic files, strings, and icons available to your code and be included as part of the project. A resource file is integrated directly into your Visual Basic project for maximum execution speed and minimum hassle packaging and deploying your application. This article tells just how to use them in VB.NET.
Microsoft is making it as easy as they can for you to learn Visual Studio by giving away a really great development system absolutely free: Visual Basic .NET 2010 Express Edition. This is part 1 of a introductory tutorial using VB.NET Express. In this segment, you learn what it is, how to get it, and how to get started using it by writing a program.
An About Visual Basic reader asked: How do I use Visual Basic to access the HTML code of a website? A question and answer from About Visual Basic.
A reader asked how to write the Visual Basic code for a Bold, Underline and Italic checkbox. It should be dead easy, but in VB.NET, they've made it a little harder. (Isn't everything?) It's a fundamental topic.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >VBA - Visual Basic
Copying a row from one worksheet to another is something that you may want to do in Excel. A reader asked how to write the VBA code to do that and this Quick Tip has the answer.
Dialogs can be the most useful type of form in a Windows Forms application, but in spite of this, the way they actually function isn't always easy to understand. The goal of this article is to make it easy for you.
Get started learning how to program games by programming Tic Tac Toe in Visual Basic.
PDF is an Adobe format for presenting documents. But since Adobe is a competitor to Microsoft, there's uneven support for the format in Microsoft products. You can save Office files as PDF files, but Microsoft doesn't provide any software tools for integrating the format into systems created with VB.NET. But you can do it anyway. This Quick Tip shows you how.
The sender and e parameters passed by the system to standard VB.NET event subroutines are key elements in your programming toolkit. This Quick Tip explains how to use them.
Visual Basic .NET encourages you to be very explicit in declaring variables. In fact, 'Option Explicit' is the default in VB.NET. Complex variable declarations are possible and declarations do what you expect them to. Read this Quick Tip to understand more about how to declare variables.
The actual effect of the Imports statement in VB.NET is often a source of confusion for people learning the language. And the interaction with VB.NET References makes for even more confusion. This Quick Tips article clears it up.
Process.Start is the .NET way to start another program executing in Visual Basic .NET. It's a lot different than the Shell command that was used in VB6. This article shows you the in's and out's of using Process.Start.
LinkLabel, new in Visual Basic .NET, is a standard control that lets you embed web-style links in a form. Like many VB.NET controls, this one doesn't do anything that you couldn't do before ... but with more code and more trouble. LinkLabel makes it easy. This article tells you everything you might need to know about using it.
Find definitions of technical terms focused for Visual Basic here.
Visual Basic .NET event handlers have a common architecture that always uses the arguments sender and e to provide the ability to write code that does whatever is needed. But using these arguments isn't always the same. This article explores the techniques that you can use to handle events in Visual Basic .NET.
Data types in VB.NET. Visual Basic.
There is quite a bit of ability to resize columns in a VB.NET ListView control. Some of it seems to be totally undocumented. Some of it doesn't seem to work at all. This article explains how to do it.
The concept of formatting strings, numbers, and objects like dates has changed a lot in the move up to .NET. This article starts with the Format function in VB6 and moves on to the more complex Format method and Format function in VB.NET.
WPF and XAML - Windows Presentation Foundation - and XAML - Extensible Application Markup Language - are an entirely new way to create application interfaces that were introduced with Windows Vista and Framework 3.0. Most references approach the subject from the XAML and WPF point of view. Here's one written for the Visual Basic programmer that starts at the beginning.
A reader asked for help coding a loop to input data to a ListBox control. The problem was that the reader was using the holdover InputBox from VB6. There are better ways and this Quick Tip shows one of them: the Validating Event of a TextBox control.
Step by Step instructions show how to use Arrays and Collections to Manage Data in VB.NET. The differences between arrays and collections are explained. This Step by Step article is suitable for beginners. Page 6.
The Decimal data type in VB.NET. Visual Basic.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >RegEx is built
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Building complete
While working on a program recently, I needed to guarantee that some text input contained only numbers.
An explanation of how to handle collections of controls that is somewhat like VB 6 control arrays.
In the very first edition of VB.NET, compiler generated code was kept in a hidden Region section to protect it from being accidentally changed. When Framework 2.0 was released, Microsoft started using partial classes to do the same thing. But the Region directive is still available to programmers to use to make their own code better organized and easier to read. This Quick Tip shows you how to use it, and why.
Handling events that are made available to you by other objects is easy. Mainly, you just have to select the event in the code window and add some statements to the event subroutine that is automatically created. But what if you want to create your own event? This Quick Tip shows you how.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >This is one of
The .sln and .vbproj files can both be used to start a session of Visual Studio to work on the code for a Visual Basic system. This Quick Tip introduces the VB.NET solution and project files, how they're different and more.
The ability to design your application interface was given a huge boost when Microsoft intoduced the two new controls TableLayoutPanel and FlowLayoutPanel in Framework 2.0. Using these controls, you can create forms where the other controls, like Textbox and Listbox, stay right where you want them to be. And you can even get autosizing effects that were previously only available with third party purchased controls. This article shows you how to get the most from these controls.
A short tutorial about how to create a User Control in VB.NET. The article contains the code for a four function calculator that you can implement as a control.
VB.NET features two logical operators that help make your programming ... well ... more logical. The
If you're new to Visual Basic or new to the About Visual Basic site, this article explains both. Visual Basic is defined and introduced and the article explains what the About Visual Basic site is too.
Disposing an object is something that you won't have to worry about in VB.NET very often. .NET includes a technology called Garbage Collection that usually takes care of everything silently and efficiently. But occasionally, usually when using file streams, sql objects or graphics (GDI+) objects, you may need to take control of disposing objects in your own code. Or, you might write your own class that implements the IDisposable interface. This article gives you some useful advice.
A reader asked if VBA could be used to login to a secure web site using HTTPS and SSL. The answer is yes ... and no. This Quick Tip explains what that means.
AutoComplete is a convenience that nearly any program that uses data - and that's virtually all of them - can use. For Windows forms, it's built into the ComboBox and TextBox controls. This Quick Tip shows how to write the VB.NET code. Bonus: There's a performance killing way to write the code that should be avoided. We tell you what it is.
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A reader asked how to use a dictionary object to reference a list. This answer explores the different dictionaries and the different lists and ends up showing the difference between a ListBox and a ListView control.
How To Use Resources in Visual Basic 6. Page 2.
GDI+ is the way to draw shapes, fonts, images or generally anything graphic in Visual Basic .NET. This article is part 1 of a complete introduction for programmers.
An About Visual Basic reader asks what the difference is between Hide and Unload in Visual Basic 6.
VB.NET gives you a great new way to save application settings like connection strings or size and color by application or by user. The methods used in VB.NET are different than the ones in VB.NET 1.1 and other .NET languages such as C#. But technical articles I have read and even on Microsoft's own pages make mistakes. The goal of this article is to clear up as much confusion as possible, but some remaining problems are documented in it as well. Page 2.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Excel is the Office
Drag and Drop can be programmed relatively easily in VB.NET, but it doesn't work unless all the components involved work together.
A method or property can either be shared, so that the code in the actual Class definition is executed, or it can called through an instance of the Class. This article describes what these two things mean and why they're both useful in Visual Basic .NET.
The ImageList control has been a feature of Visual Basic since VB6 days. But most people don't use it, probably because it's just not clear to many programmers what the ImageList will do. This article explains it.
How To Use Resources in Visual Basic 6.
A clever function using the Split function for both VB 6 and VB.NET. From Peter Zilahy Ingerman, PhD
The concept of a namespace is new to VB.NET and this makes it one of the things that can confuse someone making the switch from VB 6 to VB.NET. This article explores the concept of a namespace and explores the different ways that it can be used in VB.NET. The article was inspired by a thread in the About Visual Basic Forum.
Delegates are used in Visual Basic .NET to describe procedures. Learn the details of coding with Delegates in our example.
An About Visual Basic reader asked: How do I use the Packaging and Deployment Wizard to create files and folders when the user installs my application? A question and answer from About Visual Basic.
ASP.NET 4.0 has added the Chart control as a standard feature. It was available in ASP.NET 3.5 as a download. Writing the code for the charts themselves is reasonably complex, mainly because charts are reasonably complex. But the question that pops up most often isn't about the coding the charts. It's about how to make the Chart control work in the first place. That's what this article is about.
Beginning programming books usually include this warning: "Don't divide by zero! You'll get a runtime
Dialogs can be the most useful type of form in a Windows Forms application, but in spite of this, the way they actually function isn't always easy to understand. The goal of this article is to make it easy for you. Page 2.
The RichTextBox is more than just a TextBox with more properties and methods. It's a different way of using text. That's because the Rich Text standard is much more than just text. This article explains rich text and how to solve reader questions using a RichTextBox component. Selecting, deleting and moving individual lines in the RichTextBox are the main subjects covered.
MVC - Model View Controller - is a whole new way to write programs. It's as much a revolution in thinking as .NET was ten years ago. And, starting with Visual Studio 2010, it's a standard and supported technology with Microsoft. But since it changes the way you write programs so much, it's not easy to wrap your mind around. This article is designed to break through to this new concept in programming. Page 2.
An exploration of Hexadecimal, Octal, Binary as well as the familiar Decimal numbers that are fundamental parts of a programmer's knowledge toolkit.
A lot of programmers still use a sequential file when they need to save and retrieve data in a Visual Basic program. There are a lot of better alternatives, however. Free programming tools from Microsoft make it easy to use a database rather than a sequential file. And the new SQL Server Compact 3.5 database files make it even easier. This article shows you how it's done. Page 2.
NaN, Infinity, and Divide by Zero - New VB.NET Constants and Try Catch structured error handling.
A reader asked for help finding a way to determine the path to installed software. This Quick Tip not only shows how to do that, it can serve as an introduction to working with the Windows registry in general using VB.NET.
Collections are a handy alternative to using arrays in VB6. In VB.NET, the same tasks can be done with the Hashtable object. Here's an explanation of what they are and how they work, with examples!
The ability to run a batch file (DOS command file) isn't built into Visual Studio. But it's not hard to add it. This Quick Tip explains how.
This article answers the question, what is the difference between VB 6 and VB.NET. It is the About Visual Basic Guide's personal opinion about the reasons for the change and the top five differences.
One way to classify the innovations introduced with LINQ - Language INtegrated Query - is by all of the datastores supported by Microsoft. One of the first datastores people want to use is SQL where the datastore is a SQL Server database. This article shows how to get started using database code that is a compiled part of your VB.NET program.
Lambda expressions were introduced in VB.NET 2008/Framework 3.5 and they have a reputation as being really difficult, partly because of the name. In fact, getting started with lamda expressions is really easy. This article shows you what they are.
A property of an object can be coded in the class that defines the object as either a Property or a Public variable in the class. This Quick Tip tells you when to do which one. If your New constructor isn't working and you can't figure out why, this tip also documents a bug that might explain the problem.
Visual Basic .NET is completely OOP (Object Oriented Programming) because it supports inheritance, the major thing that previous versions of Visual Basic did not support. And because it supports inheritance, it also has two new access modifiers: Friend and Protected Friend. This Quick Tip introduces them to you.
The assembly is the fundamental unit of code in .NET. Systems are made of assemblies and the most basic properties - security, data typing, versioning - are defined for assemblies. This article explains what they are and how an assembly is used in your system.
A really fast Quick Tip about a very useful object that you can use in VBScript - Visual Basic Script - to manage your desktop; the CreateShortcut object.
Namespaces keep Visual Basic .NET organized. .NET by itself is huge and the names of individual software objects frequently overlap. Add in the code that all of the .NET programmers write and you have a giant pot of names that would be chaos if there wasn't a way to organize it and keep one software object from interfering with another. The way it's done is namespaces. This article explains what they are and how to use them.
There are two ways that you can declare an array in Visual Basic. You can declare it as a multidimensional rectangular array or a jagged array. There are some very important differences and this Quick Tip explains what they are.
There are two ways to represent time in VB.NET, DateTime and TimeSpan. They're very different, even though they're companion objects. This Quick Tip reveals how they work.
A short description showing how to manage multiple forms in a VB .NET application.
Casting is the process of converting one data type to another, for example, from an Integer type to a String type. Some operations in VB.NET require specific data types to work. Casting creates the type you need. Part One of this two part series introduces casting. This article comparies the performance of DirectCast, CType and TryCast.
The Windows Forms libraries in Visual Basic .NET includes a number of convenient provider components. One of these is the ErrorProvider component that pops up an icon to tell the user that something is wrong when your program is validating user input. This Quick Tip tells you how to use it.
The ToString method is one of the fundamental methods in the root of the entire .NET Framework. That makes it available in every other object. This quick tip shows some of the ways ToString can be used.
A structure and a multidimensional array have a lot in common in .NET programming, but there are differences. Here's how to understand both of them.
VB.NET doesn't support bit level operations directly. Framework 1.1 (VB.NET 2003) introduced bit shift operators (<< and >>), but no general purpose way to manipulate individual bits is available. This article shows how to do it.
Debugging in VB.NET usually means using the Debug icons to single-step your program and maybe a few breakpoints. But there are a lot of little known things about debugging. This quick tip shows just a few of the more useful ones.
Solving timing problems that occur when opening a new instance of IE in VB 6.
Most Visual Basic articles for beginners that use data will either use hard coded data in the program or a simple file. This article shows complete beginners how to use a real SQL Server database for the first time. Page 2.
A reference to the class modifiers that you can code in your VB.NET program
The seventh article in the beginning database series for VB.NET programmers moves to a higher level by covering the use of data sources to create a VB.NET database application.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Adding power with
The Class Diagram tool in Visual Studio Professional can help you code your VB.NET programs in multiple ways. You may not be using this tool now because it's just not required for writing programs. This article introduces thise useful tool.
A description of the API, Application Programming Interface, provided by the Google search site that you can use in your Visual Basic .NET programs.
It isn't easy and obvious to figure out how to use VB 6 in a DOS environment, but it is possible. Here's how to do it.
Most Visual Basic articles for beginners that use data will either use hard coded data in the program or a simple file. This article shows complete beginners how to use a real SQL Server database for the first time.
A beginner's tutorial for VB.NET plus links to other training on the Web
Brad Jensen, a programmer from Tulsa, OK, has suggested that perhaps someone will sue Microsoft concerning the elimination of support for VB 6.
The FilesystemWatcher component makes it easy to write programs that run when a file has been added, deleted, or just changed.
An introduction to the ClickOnce (Publish) deployment tool in VB.NET. This article is based on VB.NET 2008 and shows how to deploy an application using ClickOnce.
The Default attribute for a property in a class is an easy technique to use, but when should you use it and should you use it at all? This Quick Tip answers.
VB.NET has a quicker way to initialize data objects. This Quick Tip shows you how to do it with both parameter based constructors and anonymous types.
These two structures can do the same things. Which one should you use? A Quick Tip that compares them, including StopWatch and ILDASM analysis.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >You see the phrases,
About Visual Basic Class Instructions for Chapter 16 of the Complete Course for VB.NET covering Adding Graphics and Animation Effects
There are a lot of ways to process simple files in VB.NET. The problem is that there are too many, and most references drown you with detail about all of the features of just one specific way. This article takes a different approach. All of the ways to do simple file processing are presented at a summary level so you can see what's available and take your pick. The methods presented range from legacy objects like LineInput to serialization, TextFieldParser, and LINQ to XML. Page 4.
How to display values using localization and customized culture settings using Visual Basic .NET. Page 2.
If you need to save a value after the program closes in VB.NET, you usually have to save it in a file. But in Office VBA programs, you have another option available: CustomDocumentProperties. This Quick Tip article tells you how to do it.
Threading is a technique that lets you take advantage of the blinding speed of todays fast, multiprocessor computers by allowing several processes (threads) to work in parallel. But threading requires unique coding to control and manage what the program is doing. This is the fourth article in a series, covering InterLock and SyncLock, that shows how it's done.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >In today's security
In .NET 2.0, value types, such as Integer or Boolean, gained the ability to be
Writing the code to take care of errors and problems is something that every really finished application should do. This article explains how to write the code in Visual Basic .NET. Page 2.
A reader wanted to know how to show a progress file while copying a file using VB.NET 2008. The answer is easy, thanks to the magic of VB.NET. Just use a built in option in CopyFile. This Quick Tip also shows examples of the OpenFileDialog and the FolderBrowserDialog as well.
Most programmers know about shared methods and properties in VB.NET. Not as many know about shared variables, but this relatively obscure use of Share can add power to your coding toolkit as well. This article is a companion to an earlier article on the creative use of the Share keyword.
According to C++ programmers, a lack of something called "multiple inheritance" in VB.NET (and other
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" >LINQ - An Example Driven Introduction with
A normal class has to be instantiated as an object before the methods in it can be used. But if a method is shared, then the class it's in doesn't have to be instantiated and the method can be used directly. What if you need both? Then you need a feature introduced in VB.NET 2008 called extension methods. This article tells you how that works.
A reader asked for help using InputBox to code a loop to input data to a ListBox control. The InputBox is a VB6 holdover function that probably shouldn't be used. Another article that is linked in this one shows why and what to do instead. But this article shows how to use unmanaged code to solve one problem with the InputBox: You can't tell the difference between blank input and the Cancel button.
How to set Access database properties from a VB program
Focus and Select are methods available in Visual Basic .NET that seem to be completely identical. This article explores whether they really are identical, and if not, what differences exist.
Explicit Validation in VB.NET is a concept that is used a lot in Microsoft documentation. But there are no examples and very little explanation of how it's supposed to work. This Quick Tip explains what 'Explicit' validation is.
A question and answer from the About Visual Basic Site
A short About Visual Basic tutorial about using VBScript for administering computer systems. VBScript objects and the WMI and ADSI systems are introduced. - Part 1
VB.NET has direct and easy to use support for printing. This short article explains how it's done uisng the System.Drawing.Printing namespace. In addition, if you run into an InvalidPrinterException in Windows XP or an AccessViolationException in Vista, you might want to see how I got around it here.
An explanation of the two ways to pass arguments to a subroutine or a function in Visual Basic. The article discusses how the default behavior has changed in the move from VB 6 to VB.NET and how to decide which method to use.
The VB logical operators AND, OR, NOT, and Xor do something interesting when they're evaluated 'bitwise' in VB.NET. Starting with a Boolean and an Integer, this article shows exactly what happens and why. It's a great exercise that will ensure that you understand exactly how they work.
.NET introduced some serious improvements for timing things with the new StopWatch object and improvements in dates and times. But how all this works together, and in relation to each other is one of those dark, musty corners of .NET. This article clears out some of the cobwebs. Page 2.
When you instantiate, that is, Visual Basic.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >This article shows
.NET, and in particular, Visual Basic, provide extra help for discovering information about Special Directories in the (exclusive to VB.NET) My namespace. But not everything you might want to know about is there. This article shows you what's missing, and how to find that using the Environment namespace.
There are just three coding structures for objects that you can use in VB.NET projects: modules, structures, and classes. This article explains the fundamentals of what they are and how to use them.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Microsoft Word
Step by Step instructions for using the Publish (ClickOnce) wizard in VB.NET. Each page has an illustration that explains the process. Written for VB.NET 2008.
Recursion is a valuable programming technique and when a programming problem requires this technique, nothing else quite works. But there is a hidden trap in recursion that you need to know about: It can eat memory resources like nothing else. This Quick Tip explains it.
The function of the static method Parse isn't obvious from the name but this Quick Tip tells you what it does and how to use it.
IEnumerable and IEnumerator are frequently tossed into technical articles these days. That's because this technique forms a core element of .NET technology. Unfortunately, the articles don't say a thing about what they do. This article, written in the 'from the ground up' style, fills in that missing explanation.
In VB 6, it was common to be required to use Windows API calls to get things done. In VB.NET, it doesn't happen very often, and, quite frankly, it's a lot harder to do. Before .NET 2.0, using SetEnvironmentVariable was one one of the times when a Win API call was necessary. This article shows you how to call this API in Windows.
The VB.NET Books that don't assume much previous knowledge
Attributes store information about an assembly, a class, a method and many other entities in the Visual Basic assembly metadata. This article explains how it works. It's also part one of a two part article where part two shows you how to embed a private key in the metadata so you can send the entire thing to someone and have a reply securely returned.
A reader wanted to dynamically resize a font in VB.NET. There are several ways to go about it. This article considers using the ScaleTransform method of the Graphics object, WPF and shows how to declare a new font object for the control.
Partial Classes were introduced with VB.NET 2005 (Framework 2.0) and are used in a lot of different ways in VB.NET, including ASP.NET and Windows Forms. This article explains what they are and why they're useful, including how to hide them in Visual Studio Solution Explorer. Tested in both VB 2005 and VB 2008.
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Working with databases inside application code has always been a problem, mainly because there are lots of different databases (with different interface requirements) and because the data in databases just doesn't match the way data is represented in application code. One of the ways of dealing with this problem is to create a new way to represent the data that is application code friendly. That's the Entity Framework. Microsoft's LINQ (Language Integrated Query) technology is designed to work with any data store, so it also works with the Entity Framework. This article explains how.
Microsoft supplies an array of tools and utilities that you need when you go beyond simple applications. These utilities include ILDASM (and ILASM), NGEN, GACUTIL, AL, VBC, and SN. This article is about SN - the Strong Name Utility - and is part of a series.
The pair of terms Shallow Copy and Deep Copy are seen quite frequently in articles about programming. This article explains what they mean.
Using the Microsoft Windows Install MSIEXEC utility
Visual Studio lets you create simple parameter queries easily, but if you want more than that, you have to dig deeper. The ninth article in the database series shows how to do that. Page 2.
If you need to save everything in a class, structure, or collection for use later on, then serialization is the way to go. In addition to straight-on serialization to a file, this article also shows you how to implement custom serialization where the serializing class does custom processing while it's serializing.