The Advantages of Excel Macros

By Nicole Schmoll

If you sit in front of a computer screen all day creating reports in Microsoft Excel, you know the power of this software package. But if you aren't using macros yet, you don't know the half of it. Macros automate common and repetitive keystrokes that you use in Excel to create and edit spreadsheets. By reducing the number of keystrokes required to perform common commands, macros speed up your production and reduce the time you have to spend staring at an electronic spreadsheet each day.

Macro Basics

A macro is a term for a series of commands and functions that are stored in a Microsoft Visual Basic module and can be run whenever you need to perform the task associated with those commands. Macros run in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Macros can be simple and complex and are created when you record a series of keystrokes using the macro dialogue box.

Macro Benefits

Macros offer many advantages to those who choose to use them. They reduce the possibility of human error that increases with many, repetitive keystrokes and tasks. Macros reduce the amount of time that must be spent performing basic computing tasks, freeing users up for more complex problem-solving and idea-generating activities. They also make complex computations easier to perform.

Using Macros

One of the benefits of macros is that they are easy to create, store and use. Macros record your keystrokes while you work. You can even assign a keyboard button to a macro so that common functions like formatting cells for text, adding formulas to spreadsheets, assigning rows to a target and formatting information into matched columns and rows.

Editing Macros

Making changes to a macro is as easy as setting one up. Macros aren't static. Once you record them, you can easily alter them to more effectively suit your needs. After you record a macro, you can view, change and correct errors in the code Microsoft wrote for it in Microsoft's Visual Basic Editor. Microsoft offers plenty of in-program help to guide beginners through the process of macro code editing. You'll quickly learn how to copy macros from one spreadsheet to another, share macros between workbooks with multiple users and much more.