THE CELL MASTERS
Chapter 18   The Cell Mistress.  Tracy Syrstad  from USA
  The Office Experts : www.theofficeexperts.com

interview date:25.June.2004
Please introduce your self. You may be as thorough as you wish. Feel free to include or omit any detail about yourself.
My name is Tracy Syrstad. I started off as a technical writer but was suckered into learning about Excel VBA. It soon became a part-time and then eventually a full-time passion.

When do you remember using Excel for the very first time? Can you remember any specific details from that first time?
I don't remember much about using Excel before - it was just another program on the computer. I used it for quick math, that's about it.

When do you remember writing your first formula or VBA code for Excel?
The first VBA code I wrote, our tried to, was a little search program that would highlight the resulting find.

On average, how many hours per day do you spend working with Excel formulas and/or VBA code?
10

Which do you find most rewarding to work with: Formulas or VBA in Excel? Please tell us why?
VBA in Excel - I have a hard time with the formulas - they're greek to me.

If you were going to give a novice, just starting out with Excel, some advice, what would it be?
The recorder is a terrible way to learn how to program, but it's a great tool for helping you program.

Please provide a sample of your first work (either as a formula or vba code) in Excel and tell us about it.
This is the search and highlight I mentioned earlier - one of my first samples - tho, actually, I had major help with it. Basically, it would take a value from a form, look for it on the list and highlight the line. This is before I knew much about declaring variables. I didn't know a thing about finding the last row - so I had to constantly update the range. The Find is right out of the help files. It's not that bad, I guess.

Sub FindnHiLite(lookfor)
    With ActiveSheet.Range("a1:c550")
        Set c = .Find(lookfor, LookIn:=xlFormulas, LookAt:=xlPart)
        If Not c Is Nothing Then
            firstAddress = c.Address
            Do
                c.EntireRow.Select
                With Selection.Interior
                    .ColorIndex = 6
                    .Pattern = xlSolid
                End With
                Set c = .FindNext(c)
            Loop While Not c Is Nothing And c.Address <> firstAddress
        End If
    End With
End Sub


What is your mental attitude when you are preparing to write formulae or VBA code? And what is your working environment?
Am I supposed to prepare? Probably what makes separates me from the *really* good programmers *lol* I work from home, so my environment is my office. I like to have music in the background (type depending on my mood). Depending on the difficulty of the code, I may or may not allow interruptions.

Finally, please give us something to think about - a reminder of your words here; a phrase that has helped you; a link to your own website. Anything that you think is important for the readers to remember.
You don't have to be fast to write good programs, nor is there anything wrong with having to look something up. Heck! I even wrote a book!! http://www.mrexcel.com/vbabook.html - but that doesn't mean I don't have to THINK about it.

Thank you very much for answering the questions.

This Black belt is yours...

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