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If you ever wanted to run a similar report PowerPoint to one you already have, you will know it can be a laborious process. You give the boss a PowerPoint presentation on sales in Asia and he immediately says that it is a brilliant piece of work but he would now like a separate report for each country.
Producing multiple PowerPoint reports
If you copied the figures into the charts and tables in the PowerPoint presentation – or even worse, typed them in – it’s going to be a long hard process to make that report for each country.
Fortunately, help is at hand. By using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), it is possible to program multiple reports, so that your data which may be in Excel, Access or some other file can be processed, number-crunched and dropped into those PowerPoint reports automatically.
When is it cheaper to automate reports
We are often asked at what point it becomes cheaper to automate reports using a programming language. Well, it depends. If the reports are simple, small in number and you are likely to get the figures right first time, a manual or semi-manual process may be cheaper. Obviously, if you are running tens, hundreds or even thousands of reports, programming an automated process will pay off. What is not so obvious is that sometimes just a small number of reports can be more efficiently processed by using VBA, especially where data may contain errors or need repeating on a monthly basis, for example.
Getting organised is the key
To make this operation successful, your data needs to be well organised. In other words, you need the data to be stored in a logical way that a program can read. Further, the reports you want should be stored in a list in Excel, for example, with any versions/options noted in the spreadsheet with a code or keyword. By organising information in this way, programmers can then read data, process it and populate your reports automatically.
How far can VBA go?
VBA has been in Microsoft Office since around 1997. It used to have a reputation for being a little unstable, but over those last 18 years, it has become an efficient way to generate reports using a PowerPoint template (or templates). There’s really no limit to what you can do. More or less anything you could do manually in PowerPoint can be automated, saving time, money and, importantly, reducing errors.
As experts in using VBA, we are always ready to give advice on the best way to handle your project. Whilst we specialise in the marketing and market research fields, we are also experienced in working most business data from accounting to sales, company performance to stock control. Ask us for advice now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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