Learn to Program with Microsoft Small Basic

Learn to Program with Microsoft Small Basic

This is what my first computer looked like. It was a Xerox Sigma, if I recall correctly, and it took up an entire room at the college I was attending.


I learned how to program this machine in 1977. The college course I took was for a language called Fortran. The next year, I fell in love with Basic, and I’ve used it on and off ever since then. Basic is one of the easiest languages to learn, and I actually learned it from an instructional program on that huge computer. The name is an acronym for   Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

Microsoft wants you to learn Basic, and they’ve made it as easy as possible with the recent release of Small Basic. They have a PDF beginner’s guide that walks you through Basic programming step by step. Here’s what Small Basic looks like:


The first thing that struck me was that this program gives all kinds of help while you are typing in the editor window. If you aren’t sure how to finish a command, you can scroll through the pop-up to see what your options and arguments should be. When you click on a command or object word, the sidebar tells you all about it.

Here’s a video showing your first steps:

Small Basic isn’t the only free programming suite that Microsoft offers. A few years ago, they made three of them available. Here’s the quick list:

The Visual Basic suite is the big brother to Small Basic. If you have it installed, you can even convert your Small Basic programs into Visual Basic so that you can create executable files.

Small Basic is definitely the best way to start if you’ve never tried programming. Once you have it under control, you’ll be ready to move to the other three I’ve listed.

Download Small Basic

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Microsoft Small Basic is one of the easiest programming tools I’ve tried. If you’ve ever considered learning to program a computer, you won’t find an easier way to learn. The instructional PDF file that’s provided, teaches you step by step. Even a cave man could do it.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Published by

Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

  • this is good news for me. I wanted to learn programming but they are alot. I want to try this one. thanks.

    • Hi Mel, thanks for the comment. Between Small Basic and the other 3 Express editions, you can learn more than you can imagine.

      I only wish I spent as much time doing things as I do writing about them. I'd love to learn more Visual Basic but I don't have the time.

      • Hi Clif,

        I will try a test. It's a career change for me. I was able to program last 10 years ago with assembly language…

        well anyway I think you have lots of information on the site that is why you don't have time doing things like programming.

  • Rob Crombie

    I have programmed in VB3 to VB6 for 14 years.
    Absolutely NO intention to go to the needless complexity of 'OO everywhere' (aka VB.NET)

    I am guessing the program you reviewed is a derivative of VB.NET ?

    • Hi Rob,

      One person told me that they started with old QuickBasic code. I didn't argue with him, but it made no sense to me. I'd guess you are closer to being right. I have not looked into it.

  • Thanks for posting this, very interesting, thanks!

  • terry james fraser

    yes i know there was a kid who read my artwanted site and was tring to steal my quantuim computer patent, he’s lucky his dad didn’t go to jail, don’t do that again.

  • solomon

    how do i save my program from small basic to one which can be run using the general user interface

  • Dominic

    Thanks for the information regarding Small Basic. Going to get my feet wet!!



  • zainul

    hi Clif Slipe
    how are you ?
    i just have a basic computer and i want to go far study computer programming
    can you tell me what the first start i can do ?
    for a moment i just study english grammar in UNITEC, New Zealand
    but i can study loan from UNITEC .
    what the best i can do for the first learning for computer programmer ?i enrol for february 2013
    before i start study next years , so if i start study programmer latter i know what i’m doing
    thanks buddy