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SLAS2018 Short Courses

Getting Started with Excel & VBA in the Laboratory (Laptop Required)

This is a computer course. All participants are required to provide their own computer with Excel 2010, Excel 2013, or Excel2016 (preferred) installed with the full Help documentation. Power will be available.

Excel is widely used in scientific laboratories to automate tedious data manipulation and presentation tasks. This course will review many of the tools built-in to Excel for handling problems commonly encountered in the laboratory. It will also introduce the Visual Basic for Applications scripting language as a way to customize Excel and expand upon its functionality.

Who Should Attend:

  • Bench scientists
  • Laboratory managers
  • Students
  • Lab automation integrators

Those interested in the following tracks:

How You Will Benefit From This Course:

  • You will learn techniques for loading data into Excel from text files of different formats
  • You will learn how to write and edit Macros to process data
  • You will learn the fundamentals of the VBA language
  • You will be introduced to the interaction between VBA and common Excel objects such as Workbooks, Worksheets, and Cells
  • You will learn ways to display data in custom graphic formats

Course Topics:

  • Importing data into Excel
  • Reading and writing files with VBA
  • Writing Excel Macros
  • Creating Excel Add-Ins
  • Programmatically manipulating worksheet data
  • Programmatically formatting worksheet
  • An introduction to objects and the Excel object model
  • Accessing external data via web services


William Neil

William Neil
West Belmar, NJ

William Neil received a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biology from Trenton State College in 1981. For several years he worked with the Toxicology Division of Mobil Oil Corporation where he developed his interest in computer programming and laboratory automation. In 1987 he wrote his first application to automate data collection from a liquid scintillation counter and installed his first robotics system to automate a Packard biological oxidizer. He then took a two-year sabbatical to focus entirely on laboratory automation at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF), where he automated fragrance sample compounding. It was at IFF where he learned how to ensure a 24/7 operation. William has been employed in the pharmaceutical industry since 1995, where he has written several applications in Visual Basic and VBA to automate the Drug Discovery process, particularly in the area of instrument integration.

Martin Echols

Martin Echols
Hummelstown, PA

Martin Echols received a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Denver in 1976 and a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2001. Martin has worked in a variety of laboratory environments, both as a consumer and provider of automation for the laboratory over the last 20 years. In that time Martin has designed and implemented numerous automated systems and provided networked solutions for automated data acquisition and transport.

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