Where can I find advanced technical documentation on the VBA runtime? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm an experienced VBA developer, but I find I know much less about how VBA actually works behind the scenes than I do about every other platform I've worked with. Take .NET as a contrast: It's easy to find copious documentation and discussion of how the CLR works, intracacies of the C# language and compiler, etc. But I cannot seem to find in depth discussion of the core VBA platform, and in particular VBA in Microsoft Access. I have some ideas of how I think it fits together, but no documentation.

    So, are there any good techinical articles, references, or buried treasures that really dig in to the architecture of VBA? How about the architecture of the Microsoft Access Engine and its integration with VBA? (Compare to documentation on CLR integration with SQL Server).

    Joshua Honig
    Learn more about data programming at

    Monday, April 8, 2013 2:05 PM

All replies

  • Try this link:

    Also, try this book: "VBA Developer's Handbook, 2nd Edition", by Ken Getz and Mike Gilbert.

    If you find more material, please share because I'm interested in this subject too.

    Felipe Costa Gualberto -

    Monday, April 8, 2013 10:46 PM
  • I should have mentioned that I have already perused the VBA language specification -- and I agree it's a very good place to start. I heartily commend it to other readers of this thread.

    But similar to the ECMA specs for the CLR and C#, it to describes the functional requirements of a hypothetical VBA implementation, not how Microsoft actually implements it in Microsoft Office. They key sentences from section 1.1:

    The runtime semantics describes what it means to execute a VBA program but not how a VBA implementation might accomplish this.

    The VBA Language Specification does not define how a VBA implementation would actually achieve the requirements of the specification nor does it describe the specific design of any VBA Language Implementation

    Joshua Honig
    Learn more about data programming at

    Thursday, April 11, 2013 1:30 AM
  • I have to say that finding VBA Reference on Microsoft sites is extremely challenging. 

    There does not seem to be a way to get to a VBA Function Reference from the "Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications Help" from the Help menu in the VBA editor in Access 2013.

    The lack of support is worrying - is this indicative of the future of VBA or Access?

    Saturday, June 8, 2013 2:53 PM
  • VBA hasn't seen any comprehensive updates for 10 years. Also, the way most of us end up using VBA, there's no need for a comprehensive understanding of the architecture. Of course there are exceptions, and it would be good if MS provided the necessary documentation to help the advanced developers who use VBA for convenience. I think that if MS could scrap VBA they would, but the backlash would be too damaging. 

    Saturday, June 8, 2013 3:03 PM