Visual Basic/Data Types
Data types in Visual Basic can be divided into three groups:
- Native: Types that are understood directly by the Visual Basic compiler without assistance from the programmer
- User-defined: commonly referred to by the initials UDT, meaning User defined Type, these correspond to Pascal records or C structs
- Classes: the basis for object oriented programming in Visual Basic. Classes include forms, add-ins, and database designers.
Built in Types
The built in types are:
|Visual Basic type||Common language runtime type structure||Nominal storage allocation||Value range|
|Boolean||Boolean||Depends on implementing platform||
|Byte||Byte||1 byte||0 through 255 (unsigned)|
|Char(single character)||Char||2 bytes||0 through 65535 (unsigned)|
|Date||DateTime||8 bytes||0:00:00 (midnight) on January 1, 0001 through 11:59:59 PM on December 31, 9999|
|Decimal||Decimal||16 bytes||0 through +/-79,228,162,514,264,337,593,543,950,335 (+/-7.9...E+28) † with no decimal point; 0 through +/-7.9228162514264337593543950335 with 28 places to the right of the decimal;
smallest nonzero number is +/-0.0000000000000000000000000001 (+/-1E-28) †
|Double(double-precision floating-point)||Double||8 bytes||-1.79769313486231570E+308 through -4.94065645841246544E-324 † for negative values;
4.94065645841246544E-324 through 1.79769313486231570E+308 † for positive values
|Integer||Int32||4 bytes||-2,147,483,648 through 2,147,483,647 (signed)|
|Long(long integer)||Int64||8 bytes||-9,223,372,036,854,775,808 through 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 (9.2...E+18 †) (signed)|
|Object||Object(class)||4 bytes on 32-bit platform
8 bytes on 64-bit platform
|Any type can be stored in a variable of type
|SByte||SByte||1 byte||-128 through 127 (signed)|
|Short(short integer)||Int16||2 bytes||-32,768 through 32,767 (signed)|
|Single(single-precision floating-point)||Single||4 bytes||-3.4028235E+38 through -1.401298E-45 † for negative values;
1.401298E-45 through 3.4028235E+38 † for positive values
|String(variable-length)||String(class)||Depends on implementing platform||0 to approximately 2 billion Unicode characters|
|UInteger||UInt32||4 bytes||0 through 4,294,967,295 (unsigned)|
|ULong||UInt64||8 bytes||0 through 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 (1.8...E+19 †) (unsigned)|
|User-Defined(structure)||(inherits from ValueType)||Depends on implementing platform||Each member of the structure has a range determined by its data type and independent of the ranges of the other members|
|UShort||UInt16||2 bytes||0 through 65,535 (unsigned)|
Byte, Integer & Long
Dim a as Byte Dim i as Integer Dim x,y as Long 'Define two variables. Note that only the last variable will be a long integer.
Now those variables will only be capable of storing integer values (without decimal). Long integers can store a number with a bigger range of value than integers but they occupy a bigger space of RAM.
|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 2,147,483,647|
Some functions you need to know: Int()
Int() converts a decimal value into an integer value:
Dim i as Integer i=Int(3.9) Print i 'Prints 3
Single & Double
These data types can store decimal values. "Double" compared to "Single" is similar to the "Long" compared to "Integer":
|Type||Storage||Range of Values|
|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.
Some useful functions: Round()
Round() rounds off a decimal to a certain number of decimal digits that the programmer wants. The first argument should be a decimal value which you want to round off. The second argument specifies the number of decimal digits you want, for example:
Dim pi as Double pi=3.141592653589 pi=Round(pi,2) 'Rounds off 3.141592653589 to only two decimal digits Print pi 'Prints 3.14
A string is an array of characters. As an example:
Dim a As String a = "This is a string"
Strings can be concatenated (connected together to form a new string) using the "&" operator. For example,
dim b as String b = "Wiki" & "book" & "s" Print b 'Prints "Wikibooks"
A normal string variable occupies 10 bytes of RAM, plus the string's size, and can hold up to 2 billion characters!
Some frequently used built-in string constants: vbTab, vbCrLf
vbTab contains a string that does the same thing as the Tab key on your keyboard, while vbCrLf creates a character return and a line feed(similar to the Enter key):
Print "Jack:" & vbTab & "1 pie" & vbCrLf & "me:" & vbTab & "10 pies"
Jack: 1 pie me: 10 pies
To include special characters and quotation marks in the strings, the Chr() function may be used:
Dim a As String Print "A quotation mark: [" & Chr(34) & "]" a = "Replace 'apostrophes' for quotation marks" Replace( a, "'", Chr(34) ) Print a
Some string functions: Str(),Val(),inStr(),Mid(),Replace(),Trim()
In fact there are tons of built-in string manipulation functions available. But right now, I'll just introduce two: Str() and Val().
Str() converts any numerical value into a string value while Val() converts a string value into a numerical value(only when it's convertible).
Dim MyString As String Dim MyNumber As Single MyString=Str(300) 'converts a number into a string MyNumber=Val("300") 'converts a string into a number
Even if you don't do the conversion, you will not end up getting Type Mismatch Errors. However, it is considered better to use explicit type conversions, because it is easier to debug.
Even if you do be prepared for next to impossible to debug problems caused by VB refusing to convert something and refusing to tell you what the heck it is. VB is extremely touchy and raises an exception at the least expected times.
An example definition of a structured type:
Type E2Point x As Double y As Double End Type Sub Test() Dim MyPoint As E2Point Dim MyPoint2 As E2Point MyPoint.x = 4 MyPoint.y = -5 MyPoint2 = MyPoint 'Make a copy MyPoint2.x = 3 MyPoint2.y = -6 Debug.Print MyPoint.x, MyPoint.y '4, -5: not overriden with 3 and -6 Debug.Print TypeOf MyPoint Is E2Point 'True Debug.Print TypeOf MyPoint Is Object 'False End Sub
The type has to be defined outside of a procedure.
A variable of a structure type is not an object.
- Type Statement, Office 2013, msdn.microsoft.com
- Type Statement at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
An example definition of an enumerated type:
Enum Colors Red '=0 Green '=1 Blue '=2 End Enum Enum Colors2 Red2 = 1 Green2 '=2 Blue2 '=3 End Enum Sub Test() Debug.Print Red, Green, Blue Debug.Print Red2, Green2, Blue2 Dim MyVar As Colors 'Ends up being typed as Long MyVar = 8 'Does not lead to an error: no restriction on values End Sub
- Enum Statement, Office 2013, msdn.microsoft.com
- Enum Statement at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
To find out about the type of a variable, you can use "TypeOf ... Is ..." test. The tested types can only be object types and structure types, but the test can be applied to any variable, whether typed as an integer, a string or an object.
An example of TypeOf in Excel:
Set MyVar = Selection Debug.Print "Selection is an object: " & TypeOf MyVar Is Object Debug.Print "Selection is a range: " & TypeOf MyVar Is Range Debug.Print "Sheets is of type Sheets: " & TypeOf Sheets Is Sheets MyStr = "Hello" Debug.Print "Text is an object: " & TypeOf MyStr Is Object If TypeOf MyVar Is Range Then Set MyCells = MyVar.Cells End If
An example test with a "Select Case True":
Set MyVar = new Collection Select Case True Case TypeOf MyVar is Range Debug.Print "Range" Case TypeOf MyVar is Collection Debug.Print "Collection" Case Else Debug.Print "Other cases" End Select
You can further find out about a type using IsObject and TypeName functions:
Debug.Print IsObject(Selection) 'True Debug.Print IsObject("Hello") 'False Debug.Print TypeName("Hello") 'String Debug.Print TypeName(4) 'Integer Debug.Print TypeName(3.5) 'Double Debug.Print TypeName(Selection) 'Range
- If...Then...Else Statement at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
- TypeName Function at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
- IsObject Function at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
- IsArray Function at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
- IsDate Function at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
- IsNumeric Function at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
- IsNull Function at Visual Basic for Applications Reference, msdn.microsoft.com
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