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Visual Basic 101
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Facebook Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on Google Plus Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost

If you want to learn how to program in Visual Basic, this is the course for you. This course is designed for students who have never programmed before. However, even if you have been using Visual Basic for some time, you will benefit from the good, solid fundamentals that this course teaches - it's a great refresher for experienced developers as well. We have also had students come back and tell us that they picked up a few tips and tricks, even though they've been programming for years with Visual Basic.

Programming basics, VB interface, forms, subroutines, MsgBox, command buttons, captions, build a calculator

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Course Link: Visual Basic 101
Keywords: vb visual basic
Post Reply

Argument not optional Comment from Vannak Hou @ 11/28/2015
i'm getting an error message "Argument not optional" after enterint
Private Sub CalculateButton_Click ()

Answer = Val (FirstNumber) + Val (SecondNumber)

End Sub

I'm using MS Visual Basic 4.0.  Yes; it's an old program running under Windows XP

Reply from Alex Hedley:

That's an old program!
Try the Val(FirstNumber) as Val(FirstNumber) not space (repeat for 2)

CTRL+F5 should take you to the offending line.
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Cant View Course Comment from FREDRICK D'SOUZA @ 9/16/2015
I can't open the course, I have already ordered it, but can not access.

Thank you.

Reply from Alex Hedley:

Which browser are you viewing the course in?
Did you try clearing the internet cache?

See the WalkThru or see this blog post.

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VB6 and VB.NET Comment from MUBEEZI MICAH @ 10/3/2014
Hi Rick,
I am a newbie in VB and Visual studio. i would like to recreate this "my first program". I have Visual Studio Pro 2012 on my machine. But the options are too many when i choose to create a new project. I cant even find VB6 :). can i understand it as the same as the option to create a "window forms application"? Then i see there is an option to choose the .NET framework. i see from 2.0 up to 4.5. Considering that my program will run on Windows 7, which framework is advisable?
Yes VB6 is an old language. But i like your teaching methods. I know if i can get a good foundation in VB6, then i should not have trouble learning VB.NET.

Reply from Alexander Hedley:

Hi Micah,
You can't create VB6 programs using the new Visual Studio you will need a copy of VB6 most likely running on an XP machine.

Windows Form Application would be correct Project Type.

3.5 should be enough if it's a basic application, you'll prob not need any of the new features and then it'll run on Win7.

It can be quite different to code in VB.NET compared to VB6 but the principals are the same.
I'm in the middle of writing up some mini tutorials on VB6 apps I've created, I'll be converting them to VB.NET and that should give you an understanding of the differences.

Have you seen the HTA series I've produced, I know you've done some ASP dev in the past, you might be able to create the App in vbscript and use a HTA if it's not too complex.
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What is your background Comment from Deon @ 10/14/2013
Hi Geo,

I would like to believe I speak on behalf of all Richard's students worldwide. Richard, indeed, possesses all the qualities you mentioned above; which are EMPATHY, PATIENCE AND PEDAGOGICAL METHODS. His pedagogical methodology is Educational, Academic, Instructive, Didactic, Tutorial, Informative, Instructional, Teaching Scholastic Dicipline and much more, truly. His use of Lund's Laws of Primacy and Recency shine through everytime. Over 30-thousand students world-wide means Richard is doing somthing correctly, wouldn't you say. Forget the background thing - it's not important. What is important is that you subscribe, immediately, to the best teaching website and teacher on the planet!

Richard, I hope you don't mind this 'un-ashamed plug'on your behalf :)!

Geo - enjoy your day and kindest regards,


Reply from Richard Rost:

Gee, thanks Deon. Now my head is REALLY inflated. :)
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What is your background Comment from Geo @ 10/11/2013
Hi Richard,

I saw your description on the Web.
However, I did not find your background.

Teaching is indeed not given to everybody.
Teaching need a lot of empathy, patience and pedagogical methods.

Reply from Richard Rost:

You can find my bio here. I've been a computer nerd since a very young age. Started a PC sales & service business in 1994. Started teaching in my own classroom shortly after that. I had several years of classroom teaching experience under my belt before starting 599CD in 2002. I enjoyed the face-to-face interactions, but I LOVE what I do now more because I can teach MANY more people with videos. I love hearing from people all over the world who learn with my videos.
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Access 2010 VBA Comment from Geo @ 10/11/2013
Hi Richard,

In your VBA courses, do you also talk about DAO  and  ActiveX Data Objects ADO ?

Best regards,

Reply from Richard Rost:

I cover DAO recordsets in my Access 320-329 series. I don't spend a ton of time on ADO, but I cover it a little. I cover it more in my ASP classes. I'll be covering both in the upcoming Developer series for Access.
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Your Video Courses Comment from Geo @ 10/11/2013
Dear All,

Let me share my experience with Video learning:

More than 10 years ago, I made a lot of Apps under Access 97; only with macros.

Now I have to use Access 2010 and I forgot a lot about macros and all the rest.
I want to be up and running as quickly as possible.  I bot a few books . . . and realized it is too painful and slow; moreover I have neck problem.

Altough it is a bit more expensive with videos, I am now convinced it is the most efficient way to learn things.

The courses here are indeed excellent !
but I realized that if I want to take all of them related to Access it is going to cost me a buch of money !   For an old chap who was laid off one year ago, it is tough to cope with !

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Visual Basic 101 Comment from George @ 10/11/2013
I wish to reply to  Michelle C @ 5/9/2013:

If you want to do more with Access:  You have to learn VBA !  Forget about Macros ! VBA can do all what Macros do,

Moreover, with macros the maintenance is very painful;  
Moreover: in large companies, IT dpt do not accept Apps done with macros, only VBA !

If you learn Macros Access, you can only use what you learn in Access.

With VBA, you can use it with all MSoffice.
Please do believe me !

This is the reason I am learning VBA.

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VB or VBA Comment from Michelle C @ 5/9/2013
Richard, are your VB classes valid for VBA for Access/Excel, etc.?  I don't do any programming with Visual Basic, but I am interested in learning how to do more with Access and Excel.

Reply from Richard Rost:

My Visual Basic series is for VB 6.0 which is a standalone development environment. 99% of the LANGUAGE you learn in this class is valid for Access VBA however the technique of building apps in VB6 is a lot different. You would be better off getting my 300-level Access 2003 classes (or waiting for the Advanced and Developer series to come out later this summer) than getting the VB6 classes.
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VB vs VBA Comment from Terrence Taylor @ 12/14/2012
Hi Richard I just went through your VB101 by opening Visual Basic from my Excel 2007 program.  I think I understand that Visual Basic is a standalone; will using the excel version limit me if i decide to move forward with more of your VB courses. Thanks

Reply from Richard Rost:

VB and VBA are completely different beasts. See this.

While you can learn the basics of how to program in VB/VBA with my VB101 course, if you don't have the VB6 programming language application on your system, you're going to have a hard time following along. I'll be updating my course for VB2012 soon, which is actually a FREE download from Microsoft (for the basic version).
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VB to VBA Comment from Vannak @ 12/6/2012
Thanks Richard! It's good to know that you will cover VB script in the 300. I am looking forward to be there once I'm done w/ each of the lessons.
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VB to VBA Comment from vannak hou @ 12/6/2012
So Basically, in order to get a better understanding of the VBA in Access Programming, basically is to take all your courses in Access. Right now, I'm reviewing all the videos that I have completed just to make sure I know what's going on before heading to next chapter but not to overwhelm myself.  Thanks again.

Reply from Richard Rost:

Correct. You don't NEED any other VB courses if you follow my Access 300-level courses one after the other. I don't assume that you know anything other than what's covered in my previous Access courses.
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VB to VBA Comment from Vannak Hou @ 12/5/2012
Richard, once I am done w/ the Visual Basic 6.0, will that help me to write VBA code for Access 2010 that I'm taking right now. I know if I want to go further into Access at a later point, looks to me that Visual Basic will help me out.  Let me know.  Thanks!

Reply from Richard Rost:

Learning the VB that I teach in my VB6 classes will help you learn the syntax of the language and a lot of the generic functions. My 300-level (Advanced) Access courses will then teach you how to use VB specific to Access.
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vb6 answer Comment from freekmann1 @ 9/25/2012
yes, you can load vb6 on window 7. writing new apps will work fine, but if you want to edit your already written vb6 apps; you will receive a message 'component not registered or something like that' with two option buttons, click continue loading till all the forms finish loading, now close your program, and choose don't save. restart windows and run your program again, WOW THERE YOU ARE EVERYTHING IS FINE, you can now edit, save, compile, upgrade or do what ever you want with VB6 SP6 on windows 7.
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Sending Email from VB Comment from vb @ 9/20/2012
hi richard, i would like to create a button and find the code to attached my email in outlook where i can specify the subject and to whom it will be sent and cc. thanks and more power.

Reply from Richard Rost:

This is a little more advanced. I haven't covered it in any of my VB courses, but I did cover sending email with Outlook in my Access 329 class using Access VBA. I believe the code work work in VB6.

However... I'm going to be making a seminar very soon on how to send email with VB using Outlook and using a NON-Outlook method. If you can wait a few weeks, the NON-Outlook method is MUCH better because it doesn't have to deal with that pesky Outlook security "feature" that prompts you "is this OK?" for each email you send.
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Comment from Patrick Osi Isedu @ 3/10/2012
I am using the Microsoft Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition. I have to program simple calculator as demonstrated by the lesson. I keep getting the error Message: Error in the build up .......

Reply from Richard Rost:

Patrick, my lessons are for Visual Basic 6.0. I'll be upgrading them to VB 2010 very soon (which is similar to 2008).
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Comment from Patrick Osi Isedu @ 3/10/2012
I have just began the lessons. No questions yet.
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Comment from A Lucas @ 9/30/2011
Hi I have never known such a good teacher
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Visual Basic 101 Comment from Alex Hedley @ 8/9/2011
Hi Johnson,

You can order any of the courses online through the order page.

Once your order is processed you can download these videos to watch offline.

There is a tutorial on how to use the Amicron video player to watch the videos.

During the order process there is also an option to get the videos shipped on CD for an extra cost, just select that and you will have a backup copy.

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Comment from  Johnson J. Kongor @ 8/9/2011
Hi Gentlemen,
This is my very first time even viewing your tutorial to see how Visual Basic works. I have however been teaching / working with Microsoft Applicatiions Softwares(Word, Excel and Access) for the past six years with having this opportunity to learn a bite about Visual Basic until when i discovered your website through browsing. Thanks a lots for this introduction and i will highly appreciate learning from you if you can assure me the methods involve to order video CDs to learn most of your computer programs offline.
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Comment from  Orlando @ 3/29/2011
Hi Richard,
How can I view the button "Properties" when using Excel Visual Basic?

Thank you,

Reply from Richard Rost:

This course is for VB6, not Excel VBA. I'd need to know which version of Excel you're using, and what exactly you're trying to do. The two are COMPLETELY different.
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Comment from  Orlando @ 3/28/2011
Hi Richard,
Am I right in concluding that I can use these same VB commands in Excel Visual Basic Editor.  I made a "hello world" button so it seems so...what limitations will I run into?

Thank you,

Reply from Richard Rost:

You can use MOST of the same commands from VB in Excel VBA. Excel has a whole set of its own commands and functions that you'll have to learn (how to move around, get the value from a cell, change formatting, etc.) but all of the standard VB commands you've learned (IF/Then, MsgBox, etc.) will still work just fine.
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Comment from Nicos Solomonides @ 11/27/2010
I have bought a new PC with
Windows 7.Can I load the VB6 on?is it compatible?

Reply from Richard Rost:

According to Microsoft, it should work, but it's no longer supported. You should probably upgrade to Visual Studio 2010, which I'll be making courses for very soon.
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Visual Basic Comment from Lou @ 8/5/2010
Can you give me some article of visual basic when you first experience use it?what do you discover about vb and what is the difference of it to the other software like vb.net?
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Comment from  Kris @ 7/21/2010
Hello Richard,

I took your VB 101 class and wondered why this VB code I ran across on the internet doesn't have the same wording as the code shown in this class.
I was trying to find a code that would create a message box where you could enter a word and it would say it for you. I thought I could try to reconcile their VB code with what I learned in your class, but it did not have the same wording you used, like 'msgbox', 'Private sub', etc. Their code started the routine with 'Dim message' and had 'message=InputBox("Text","More Text")'. I was to paste the code into Notepad--it wasn't created in VB--is it a different VB language b/c it wasn't made in VB? Do you know the name of the code?

Thank you for your help. I enjoyed your class.

Reply from Richard Rost:

I'd have to see the code you're talking about, but VB6 (which is what I use) certainly supports the DIM and INPUTBOX commands.
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Comment from Benjamin Berks @ 5/10/2010
In VB101, lesson #4, it is suppost to display "Hello YourName" where YourName is called from the text box.  I am using VB2008 Express Edition and the MsgBox command keeps putting the code as MsgBox(YourName) instead of MsgBox YourName.  Anyway I keep getting a crash when it runs.  

I know this training is for VB5&6, but wanted to see if you happen to know why I keep getting a crash?

Below is my actual code:

Public Class MyFirstProgram

    Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load

    End Sub

    Private Sub ClickMeButton_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles ClickMeButton.Click


    End Sub

    Private Sub YourName_TextChanged(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles YourName.TextChanged

    End Sub
End Class

Reply from Richard Rost:

Benjamin, I'm not sure. I don't even have VB2008 installed here right now, so I can't test it. I'll make your post public, however, in case one of the other students might have come across this. I plan to update all of my VB courses for the latest version this summer.
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 12/13/2009
Arrays and databases are beyond this VB101 course, but for small amounts of data that you don't need to save permanently, you can use an array. I cover arrays in VB202. Beyond that, if you need to save the data, use a text file or a database.
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Comment from abdul mikidadi @ 11/26/2009
hi Richard, again great vidoes!! however my concern was to store data by using arrays rather than database, since its small amount of info, will array be capable of storing values like saving and retriving perhaps, if not what are the other options? thanks
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 10/13/2009
Mark, I'm glad you're enjoying the class. The material I use in my classes comes from MANY different reference books. Take your pick, there are hundreds of them. All of the material from this class IS available in printed form in the handbook you purchased.
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Comment from Mark Eslick @ 10/12/2009
WOW I'm only half hour into this lesson and I'm aready starting to understand this  however you are pulling these commands out from no where was hoping that there is a place that has them printed for refernce? with that said I bought this intro to help my son in his visual basic class. This class is right on the button. I'll be able to help thanks
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Comment from MUSTAFA BOUTELJA @ 10/5/2009
Dear Richard ,I like very much your way of explaining so many programs and tutorials,I just want to thank you for all the effort you're making and believe me it's beautiful.Thanks
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 8/6/2009
Neil, my VISUAL BASIC classes are for the stand-alone VB 6.0 program which is for designing your OWN software. VBA is different. That's for automating Microsoft Office applications like Excel and Access.

Now, if you do take the time to learn VB, it will certainly help you when it comes time to use VBA. VBA is a superset of VB, so most of the techniques you learn in VB will apply to VBA.

I will be covering VBA for Excel 2007 very soon.
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Comment from  Neil Riley @ 8/4/2009
Hi. Enjoyed your 101Vb class. However, I wasn't aware that vb was not the same as EXCEL 2003 VBA. Can I follow the rest of your vb classes using my 2003VBA program or do I have to buy a vb program? Also, if I learm vb will it help me program EXCELL spread sheets? Thank you. Neil
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Excel Files Comment from Richard Rost @ 5/11/2009
Sam, to be completely honest, I personally haven't tried yet. I don't do a lot of automation of Excel from OUTSIDE of Excel (in VB). I would work from inside Excel using VBA.
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Excel Files Comment from Sam Maldonado @ 5/9/2009
I have been using VB 6.0 for sometime now.  Starting to jump over to VB Express 5.0 and maybe even 8.0.  My question is, using any of these two new versions of VB, can I still open, modify cells and close Excel files like I did in VB 6.0?
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 4/21/2009
Mike, if you're using Excel, you're not using the full Visual Basic or Visual Studio program. You're using EXCEL. See this page.
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Comment from  Mike @ 4/18/2009
Great Product!
Having trouble "Compiling" or creating an executable.  Running Vista and not sure if I actually have the proper program loaded.  Im accessing VB Editor through Excel, Tools, Macro, VB Editor.  After creating and saving simple calculator, I click File . . .  there is no "makeCalculator.exe" option.  Does this have something to do w/ Vista or do I not have the full version of VB?
Thx in advance.  
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 4/14/2009
Michael, you need to install either Visual Basic 6.0 or Visual Studio 6.0 software on your system in order to follow along with my tutorials. VB is a separate program suite that doesn't come with Windows.
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 4/14/2009
Thomas, if you're using my Video Player software, click on the EXTERNAL checkbox and the videos will load in Windows Media Player. Or, if you know how, just open Windows Explorer and browse to the C:\Program Files\599CD folder and you'll find the WMV files there.
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Comment from michael  evans @ 4/12/2009
Time Index 00:44......When I click on start on windows xp and then all programs , I dont have Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 or the Visual Studio 6.0 Tools.
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Comment from Thomas Keilman @ 4/12/2009
is there a mechanism to make the display go full screen?

can i use the windows media player to view lessons?

the text on the right side of this window is cut off or very nearly so.
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 4/6/2009
VB is Visual Basic. It is a stand-alone application for designing your own programs.

VBA is Visual Basic for Applications. It is a version of the Visual Basic language that is used for enhancing Microsoft Office applications.

My VB courses cover JUST Visual Basic programming. While they will provide you with a good foundation of VB for use with other VB-related projects, you will not benefit from them unless you actually have the Visual Basic development program.

I do cover VBA for Microsoft Access in my Access classes, starting with Access 301.
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Comment from  Tonya @ 4/3/2009
How is VB different from VBA?  Basically, will this course help me learn what is relevant for MS Access programming?
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 1/20/2009
Chris, my Visual Basic courses do NOT cover any Excel VBA. I will be covering Excel VBA in upcoming Advanced EXCEL courses.
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 1/19/2009
You can find out more about the latest version of Visual Basic (which is part of Visual Studio) here on Microsoft's Site HERE. I am going to be upgrading my VB course to Visual Basic 2008 very soon. Yes, it is a standalone programming suite. VBA is something completely different and is part of Microsoft Office.
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Comment from chris flynn @ 1/2/2009
does your excel course cover the VB developer and macros that have similar features as VB 6.0.
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Comment from James Coker @ 12/10/2008
Where can I purchase the latest version of Visual Basic.  I use Windows Vista Ultimate and Microsoft Office 2007.
If I expect to get seriously into VBA programming do I need to have copy of the software that is a stand alone version? or can I use the VB code built into MS Office 2007?
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Comment from Daniel Weis @ 11/27/2008

You're an excellent instructor!  I've tried several different avenues to learn VB and you make this material the most intuitive and easiest to understand.

I'm glad I bought the entire VB catalog from you guys!!


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Comment from Richard Rost @ 11/10/2008
There are a LOT of differences - too numerous to go into here. It's almost a completely different language now. The interface is completely different.
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VB 2008 Comment from Richard Rost @ 11/10/2008
Yes, I will probably use the VB Express edition for the BEGINNER courses so that everyone can start off on the same page. With the advanced lessons, I'll move into the "full" version because there are some features that aren't included in the free one.
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Comment from Tony Green @ 11/10/2008
What is the difference between Visual Basic 6.0 and 2008.
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VB 2008 Comment from Lalith @ 11/7/2008
Thank you for you reply, when new version of VB2008 available please let me know.Will this version work with VB Express 2008 version?
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 11/7/2008
Lalith, my VB101 course is the PERFECT place to start learning how to program - provided you have a copy of Visual Basic 6 to work with. If not, I'll be making some VB 2008 courses later this year that you can use with the new version of VB.
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Comment from  Lalith Abey @ 11/4/2008
Hi Richard I have not done any programing in my life but I work in IT Teat area in admin work, I would like to start lerning VB useing your courses. Can you tell me that your course is a good place to start for a person who has not done any programing????
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 9/27/2008
If you're using MsgBox to display a word, such as "cat" then you put it in quotes:

MsgBox "Cat"

However, if you have a variable, let's say X, and you want to display the VALUE stored in that variable, you don't use quotes.

X = 5
MsgBox X

This should display a 5 in the box. If you were to say:

MsgBox "X"

Then you would just see X in the box. Get it?
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Comment from Richard Ellsworth @ 9/24/2008
All of a sudden you used msgbox with quotes. Where did that come from? Why the qoutes? You see i dont know the very basic syntax.
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 3/25/2008
Unless you've specifically purchased MICROSOFT VISUAL BASIC, it's not a program that comes with Windows or Microsoft Office. It's a totally separate program. If it's not on your computer and you HAVE purchased it, you might just need to reinstall it. Time to dig out those CDs.
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Comment from Phil Gatchell @ 3/21/2008
I can't find the Visal Basics  on my computer? I searched and I don't have the program...
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 2/5/2008
Mel, I honestly don't play the Certification game. I haven't looked at the Prometric exam, so I don't know what it involves. See my Blog Post for more on how I feel about Certifications.
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Comment from Mel Flowers @ 2/5/2008
Does your VB 6.0 prepare the student for Microsoft certification in Visual Basic?  If so, how many of your courses in VB pretty much assures the student he'll pass the Prometric exam in Visual Basic?
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 2/2/2008
We will be covering database connectivity in a future VB lesson - probably around 204/205. I haven't prepared the outline for it yet. 203 will likely cover more with reading and writing files. Then we'll go into databases.
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Comment from   @ 1/30/2008
how to make a database and to conect it,how to edit & delet..?
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 1/5/2008
Steve, this class is for Visual Basic 6.0. I am planning a separate course for VB.NET in the near future. If you're using VB.NET or VB 2005, you'll find that the majority of the CODE that I use is the same, but the program interface is a lot different.
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Comment from Kenn Drescher @ 12/20/2007
Very good. I've been puzzeled about the basic CODE. Really helps to finally grasp the nuts & bolts!
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Comment from Steve Guss @ 12/15/2007
Is Your course valid for Visual Basic .NET?
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Comment from Richard Rost @ 12/9/2007
No. Visual Basic and Visual C++ are two totally different languages with completely different syntaxes.
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Comment from Frank @ 12/2/2007
is visual basic the same as visual c++ ?
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