Engineering Systems Modeling With Excel/VBA

Course Length:



This two-day course is for engineers, scientists, and others interested in developing custom engineering system models. Principles and practices are established for creating integrated models using Excel and its built-in programming environment, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Real-world techniques and tips not found in any other course, book, or other resource are revealed. Step-by-step implementation, instructor-led interactive examples, and integrated participant exercises solidify the concepts introduced. Application examples are demonstrated from the instructor’s experience in unmanned underwater vehicles, LEO spacecraft, cryogenic propulsion systems, aerospace & military power systems, avionics thermal management, and other projects.

What you will learn:

This course will provide the knowledge and methods to create custom engineering system models for analyzing conceptual designs, performing system trades, and optimizing system performance with Excel/VBA. Learn how to:

  • Exploit the full power of Excel for building engineering models.
  • Master the built-in VBA programming environment.
  • Implement advanced data I/O, manipulation, analysis, and display.
  • Create full featured graphical interfaces and interactive content.
  • Optimize performance for multi-parameter systems and designs.
  • Integrate interdisciplinary and multi-physics capabilities.

Course Outline:

  1. Excel-VBA Review. Excel capabilities. Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Input/output (I/O) basics. Integrating functions & subroutines.
  2. Identifying Scope and Capabilities. Defining model requirements. Project scope. User inputs. Model outputs.
  3. Quick Prototyping. Creating key functions. Testing I/O & calculations. Confirming overall approach.
  4. Defining Model Structure. Refining model architecture. Identifying input mechanisms. Defining output data & graphics.
  5. Designing Graphical User Interfaces. Using ActiveX controls. Custom user-forms. Creating system diagrams & other graphics. Model navigation.
  6. Building and Tuning the VBA Engine. Programming techniques. VBA integrated development environment. Best practices.
  7. Customizing Output Results. Data tables. Plots. Interactive output.
  8. Exploiting Built-in Excel Functions. Advanced math functions. Data handling.
  9. Integrating External Data. Retrieving online data. Array handling. Curve fitting.
  10. Adding Interdisciplinary Capabilities. Integrating other analyses. Financial/cost models.
  11. Unleashing GoalSeek and Solver. Single variable, single target using GoalSeek. Multivariable optimization using Solver.
  12. Incorporating Scenarios. Comparing multiple designs. Tradeoff comparisons. Parameter sensitivities. Quick what-if evaluations.
  13. Documentation, References, and Links. Documenting inputs, methodology, and results. Incorporating references. Adding links to files & online data.
  14. Formatting and Protection. Optimizing formatting for reporting. Protecting algorithms & proprietary data.Distribution tips.
  15. Flexibility, Standardization, and Configuration Control. Building user flexibility and extensibility. Standardizing algorithms. Version & configuration control.
  16. Other Useful Tips. Practical hands-on techniques & tips. Application topics. More to explore.


  • William J. Armiger, Naval Research Laboratory

    Great material, great presentation

  • Lots of useful information, and a good combination of lecture and hands-on

    Brent Warner, Goddard Space Flight Center


REGISTRATION:  There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course.   We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING:  If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time.   To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at




  • Matt Moran has been developing power, thermal, and fluid systems and technologies since 1982. For more than 30 years, he also worked at NASA as a Sector Manager and Senior Engineer where he led a portfolio of system technology development projects and teams. Earlier in his career, Matt developed systems that were flown on the space station, shuttle payloads, and other spacecraft. As a consultant, he also conducted R&D for the Office of Naval Research, DARPA, Air Force, Missile Defense Agency, and industrial customers. Matt is a licensed professional engineer with a Bachelor’s degree and graduate studies in Engineering; and an MBA in Systems Management. He has 3 patents, and has published 44 technical papers and a book.

    Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

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