As humans, we are creatures of habit. There are certain things that we do on a daily basis every working day. Wouldn't it be better if there were some magical way of pressing a single button and all of our routine tasks are done? I can hear you say yes. In a nutshell, a macro is the magical single click button.

We will cover the following topics in this tutorial.

 

What is a macro?

A macro is a piece of programming code that runs in Excel environment and helps automate routine tasks. In a layman's language, a macro is a recording of your routine steps in Excel that you can replay using a single button.

The importance of macros in Excel

Let's say you work as a cashier for a water utility company. Some of the customers pay through the bank and at the end of the day, you are required to download the data from the bank and format it in a format that meets your business requirements.

You can import the data into Excel and format. The following day you will be required to perform the same ritual. It will soon become boring and tedious. Macros solve such problems by automating such routine tasks. You can use a macro to record the steps of

  • Importing the data
  • Formatting it to meet your business reporting requirements.

What is VBA in a layman's language?

VBA is the acronym for Visual Basic for Applications. It is a programming language that Excel uses to record your steps as you perform routine tasks. You do not need to be a programmer or a very technical person to enjoy the benefits of macros in Excel. Excel has features that automatically generated the source code for you. Read the article on Vba for more details.

Macro Basics

Macros are one of the developer features. By default, the tab for developers is not displayed in excel. You will need to display it via customize report

Macros can be used to compromise your system by attackers. By default, they are disabled in excel. If you need to run macros, you will need to enable running macros and only run macros that you know come from a trusted source

If you want to save macros, then you must save your workbook in a macro-enabled format *.xlsm

The macro name should not contain any spaces.

Always fill in the description of the macro when creating one. This will help you and others to understand what the macro is doing.

Step by step example of recording macros in Excel

We will work with the scenario described in the importance of macros excel. We will work with the following CSV file.

Introduction to Macros in Excel

You can download the above file here

Download the above CSV File & Macros

We will create a macro enabled template that will import the above data and format it to meet our business reporting requirements.

Enable Developer Option

To execute VBA program, you have to have access to developer option in Excel. Enable the developer option as shown below and pin it into your main ribbon in Excel.

Step 1) Go to main menu "FILE" and selection option "Options."

What is VBA?

Step 2) Select "Options" from the menu list as shown in screen shot below.

What is VBA?

Step 3) Now another window will open, in that window do following things

  • Click on Customize Ribbon
  • Mark the checker box for Developer option
  • Click on OK button

What is VBA?

Step 4) You will now be able to see the DEVELOPER tab in the ribbon

What is VBA?

First, we will see how we can create a command button on the spreadsheet and execute the program.

  • Create a folder in drive C named Bank Receipts
  • Paste the receipts.csv file that you downloaded

Introduction to Macros in Excel

  1. Click on the DEVELOPER tab
  2. Click on Record Macro as shown in the image below

Introduction to Macros in Excel

You will get the following dialogue window

Introduction to Macros in Excel

  1. Enter ImportBankReceipts as the macro name.
  2. Step two will be there by default
  3. Enter the description as shown in the above diagram
  4. Click on "OK" tab
  • Put the cursor in cell A1
  • Click on the DATA tab
  • Click on From Text button on the Get External data ribbon bar

You will get the following dialogue window

Introduction to Macros in Excel

  • Go to the local drive where you have stored the CSV file
  • Select the CSV file
  • Click on Import button

You will get the following wizard

Introduction to Macros in Excel

Click on Next button after following the above steps

Introduction to Macros in Excel

Follow the above steps and click on next button

Introduction to Macros in Excel

  • Click on Finish button
  • Your workbook should now look as follows

Introduction to Macros in Excel

Make the columns bold, add the grand total and use the SUM function to get the total amount.

Introduction to Macros in Excel

Now that we have finished our routine work, we can click on stop recording macro button as shown in the image below

Introduction to Macros in Excel

Before we save our work book, we will need to delete the imported data. We will do this to create a template that we will be copying every time we have new receipts and want to run the ImportBankReceipts macro.

  • Highlight all the imported data
  • Right click on the highlighted data
  • Click on Delete
  • Click on save as button
  • Save the workbook in a macro enabled format as shown below

Introduction to Macros in Excel

  • Make a copy of the newly saved template
  • Open it
  • Click on DEVELOPER tab
  • Click on Macros button

You will get the following dialogue window

Introduction to Macros in Excel

  1. Select ImportBankReceipts
  2. Highlights the description of your macro
  3. Click on Run button

You will get the following data

Introduction to Macros in Excel

Congratulations, you just created your first macro in excel.

Summary

Macros simplify our work lives by automating most of the routine works that we do. Macros in Excel are powered by Visual Basic for Applications.

 

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