Guide to Excel Macros

An action or set of actions that can be recorded in Excel, given a name, saved, and then run as many times as you want at any time that you want is what is known as an Excel macro. Macros allow you to save time by automating routine, time-consuming tasks, such as those involved in data manipulation and data reporting, which are required to be completed on a regular basis.

Guide to Excel Macros

Macros allow you to save time by automating routine, time-consuming tasks, such as those involved in data manipulation and data reporting, which are required to be completed on a regular basis. In this Guide to Excel Macros, we look at addressing the basic points of Macros. 

Excel's VBA and Macro

Excel VBA or Excel commands can be used to record and run macros. Macro recording and running are also possible in Excel.

Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA for short, is a straightforward programming language that can be accessed in Excel via the Visual Basic Editor (VBE), which can be accessed via the DEVELOPER tab of the Ribbon. VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. Excel generates VBA code when you record a macro. Excel Visual Basic for Applications is not something that needs to be learned if all you want to do is record a macro and play it back. However, if you want to modify a macro, the only way to do so is to use the Excel VBA editor to make changes to the VBA code that the Macro uses.

Where can I find the Macros menu in Excel?

Utilizing the Developer tab in our Excel workbook is required in order for us to either enable or work with Macros. Excel's Developer tab provides access to more advanced options and tools, enabling users to work with incredible capabilities that are otherwise hidden. Excel's Developer tab is, by default, not visible to users, which is a major disappointment. Because of this, we have to first reveal the Developer tab so that we can access the appropriate tools. On the Developer tab, we have access to a wide variety of powerful features, including VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), Add-ins, Macros, and more.

A one-time process, enabling a Developer tab requires the following steps to be completed in order:

  • To begin, we need to navigate to the File tab, then click Options from the list of available options.
  • In order to customize the Ribbon, we must select "Customize Ribbon" from the list given on the left side of the Excel Options window. Activating this will show the corresponding options in the panel on the right.
  • The checkbox that is associated with the Developer tab needs to be selected, and then we need to click the OK button. The Developer tab on the Ribbon will become available once this is done.
  • When the Developer tab has been enabled, it will appear in the Excel ribbon just like any other typical tab would. As can be seen in the illustration that follows, the Macros button can be found within the Developer tab's Code section:

How can a Macro be recorded?

After we have activated the Developer tab, we will have access to the Macros, which will allow us to utilize the recording function. Following these instructions will allow us to record a macro:

  • To begin, we will need to go to the Developer tab and then locate the 'Record Macro' button that is located in the Code section.
  • The 'Record Macro' dialogue box appears as soon as we click the 'Record Macro' button, as is demonstrated in the following example:
  • It is necessary for us to enter the following information into the dialogue box:
    • Name of the Macro: We are able to give different names to various Macros depending on the action or functioning they perform. However, we must take care to avoid using any special characters or space characters in our expressions. It is preferable to only use alphabets, possibly in conjunction with underscores, if they are required. In addition, we are not allowed to reuse the same name for more than one Macro.
    • Key Combination: We are able to designate a shortcut key by assigning a key combination to each individual Macro that we will create. The execution of the corresponding Macro will go more smoothly as a result of this. By pressing specific keys that have been assigned, we are able to run the associated Macro. Excel will replace the shortcut key combinations if we assign them after they have already been used, so we must be careful not to assign those combinations. It is strongly suggested that the desired shortcut be assigned by pressing it in conjunction with the Shift key.
    • Store Macro in: It is the list that can be dropped down, and it contains three options: 'This Workbook,' 'Personal Macro Workbook,' and 'New Workbook.'
    • This Workbook: It only creates the Macro in the workbook that you are currently using. The Macros that were created earlier will not be displayed if we try to use the created Macro in a new workbook that we have created in Excel. Because of this, we will only be able to use such Macros within the appropriate workbook.
    • Personal Macro Workbook: This workbook is where macros are created and stored after they have been created. However, macros will only be shown on a fresh Excel sheet when they are used.
    • New Workbook: This command opens a new Excel workbook, and any actions carried out inside of a workbook that has just been freshly made will be saved for later use.
    • Description: It is possible for us to compose a description for each individual Macro that will assist us in comprehending the goals of the newly created Macro. It is recommended that a detailed description be written in order to make it simple for anyone to understand the action (or actions) that are associated with the relevant Macro.
    • Actions: After providing the "Record Macro" dialogue box with all of the necessary information, we are obligated to carry out all of the procedures that we want to save as a macro. The term "actions" refers to the various steps that must be taken in order to finish a specific task in Excel, such as adjusting the formatting.
    • Stop recording: Once we have finished our task (or carried out the desired sequence of actions), we have to go back to the Developer tab and click the button labeled "Stop Recording." 

How do I save a workbook in Excel that uses a macro?

When we attempt to record a Macro in Excel, the program prompts us to select whether we want to store the Macro in the current workbook (referred to as "This Workbook") or in a personal workbook (referred to as "Personal Macro Workbook"). We have to carry out distinct procedures in order to save a Macro, and these procedures change depending on which option we select to save it. In this Guide to excel macros, Let us discuss the two different approaches one at a time:

When choosing to store the Macro as 'This Workbook': When we choose to store the Macro by choosing the 'This Workbook' option while recording, we are able to save the workbook by going to 

File > Save As > 'Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook.' 

This option is available when we select to store the Macro. In this particular scenario, it is not necessary for us to save the Macro manually. It will be automatically saved in the workbook when it is finished.

When choosing to store the Macro in as a "Personal Macro Workbook": When we choose to store the Macro by selecting the "Personal Macro Workbook" option, we are required to save the Macro on our own accord. In this particular scenario, we are unable to save it in the same way as other Excel formats. Instead, we use the pop-up dialog that appears whenever we try to close a workbook in Excel, which allows us to save the document. We are required to use the "Save" button that is located in the pop-up. In the event that we do not use the pop-up to save it, the Macro will be removed when the workbook is closed.