For questions relating to using VBA to automate Excel, the tags excel, vba and excel-vba are often used.

Not all excel questions relate to vba and not all vba questions relate to excel. Where a question does relate to both Excel and VBA, should it be tagged with:

  • excel vba = 966 questions on SO right now
  • excel-vba = 906 questions on SO right now
  • excel vba excel-vba = 263 questions on SO right now (subset of each of the above

Should one particular way of tagging be preferred over the other here?

3 Answers 3


I work a lot in those tags, and think that when a question is about VBA in Excel, we should use the tags Excel and VBA. It'd be nice if the excel-vba tag just went away. It might be nice if the excel-vba tag synonymed to VBA, though it's not a perfect solution.

  • Of course, the perfect solution would be to synonym to both excel and vba.
    – Andy E
    Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 7:24
  • @Andy, sure, but I doubt the system is setup for 2 to 1 tag synonyms. Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 16:12
  • 1
    Thanks - there seem to be similar issues with the analogous tags for Word and Access
    – barrowc
    Commented Sep 1, 2010 at 22:50
  • @barrowc, I went ahead and created the tag-synonyms for excel-vba, word-vba and access-vba. Commented Sep 1, 2010 at 23:05
  • @Lance Roberts, I have up voted your suggestions at stackoverflow.com/tags/vba/synonyms, but 2 more votes are needed.
    – Remou
    Commented Nov 22, 2010 at 16:39
  • @Remou, thanks, I left a message for Dick K, but he hasn't voted yet. Commented Nov 22, 2010 at 16:50
  • @Remou I propose here that [excel-vba] be synonymed to [excel-objects] or [excel-object-model].
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:22

There is a difference between Excel questions (which concern worksheets, mostly), VBA questions (which concern a programming language used by several Office apps), and Excel-VBA questions (which concern that programming language used in the context of Excel, the Excel object model, etc).

They are three different things, and not every question is about all of them.

Making excel-vba a synonym for VBA was an abuse of the synonym system, so that synonym has been deleted. The result was that people tagged things excel-vba which was silently changed to vba, and we lost information in the process.

Using "excel" and "vba" tags on Excel VBA questions is not appropriate if the question isn't really about using Excel or programming Excel worksheets.

  • 1
    I don't really have an opinion on this issue, but the current access-vba -> vba synonym might also be up for reconsideration based on this (especially since it already caused some trouble for someone).
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 1:53
  • yeah, we're deleting the synonyms for access-vba and word-vba too, for the same reason. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 1:57
  • 2
    I don't get it at all. How would a question on 'Excel VBA' not be about using 'Excel or programming Excel worksheets'. Anytime you have a question about Excel VBA, you have a question about both 'Excel' and 'VBA'. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 10:27
  • So all my work to clean up those tags was for naught. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 10:32
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    @LanceRoberts - A question about Excel VBA is about both topics. The synonym [excel-vba]->[vba] lost the information that the question was about Excel. AFAIK, there's no mechanism to split the tag into two, the change will have to be done manually. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 13:00
  • @LanceRoberts we certainly appreciate the work. I agree that it's an imperfect system. The trouble was that our "synonym" feature really only works when there are genuine synonyms, not when there are shades of meaning... Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 14:20
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    @Kevin, if you look at my answer you'll see that I would always have the application tag also. Tag synonyms don't change existing tags. Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 22:43
  • Looking at this issue again today, there are 188 questions found with [macros] [excel] -[vba] -[excel-vba] Indeed Joel answered one of them (#7986823) yesterday. How does the macros tag fit into all of this?
    – barrowc
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 0:41
  • @KevinVermeer I propose synonymizing/replacing [excel-vba] with [excel-objects] or [excel-object-model] here.
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:25
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    But "pure" Excel questions are off-topic for SO, so tagging a question with [excel] in the context of SO obviously means programmatically manipulating Excel objects. In that case, what is the difference between [excel]+[vba] and [excel-vba]?
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 11:54

I agree that it would be nice if there was a synonym from: [excel-vba] -> [excel] , [vba]

However the synonym system does not support this at the moment. I think that doing a blanket kill of the [excel-vba] tag is a bad idea as we will lose information.

  • 1
    It is possible to request such a feature? I have other examples ([wpf] [binding] vs. [wpf-binding], transfering [wpf-binding] to [binding] as someone suggested would loose the [wpf] for all the questions not tagged [wpf] (there are such questions).)
    – Danny
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 13:26
  • 1
    There is certainly value in [excel-vba], but only inasmuch as it means [excel-objects] or [excel-object-model]. See here.
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 6:27

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