If you frequently work in Microsoft Excel and find yourself performing repetitive tasks, you can often automate these tedious steps by creating Excel macros.
Macros are a way to store instructions for Microsoft Excel. They are written in a Microsoft-specific language called Visual Basic for Applications (VBA, or sometimes just VB). For basic tasks, you can simply record the steps you're taking, and replay them automatically. No coding required! For more complex tasks, you may need to dive into the Visual Basic code itself (though it's often still easier to record your steps first, then customize the code to your needs).
Examples of how Macros can be used:
- Importing a large number of CSV files and cleaning up the data
- Applying formatting changes to a large number of charts
- Enabling others to generate different scenarios by adding clickable buttons to your spreadsheet
Getting Started with Excel Macros
We recently helped an online learner who was frustrated with finding a tutorial on Excel macros. If you go through search engines, most of your results will be the following:
- Help content that applies to Excel 2003 (there have been 3 versions since then)
- Articles about how to record macros (but not how to edit the Visual Basic code itself)
- Examples of other people's macros
On Everpath, she was quickly able to evaluate a few options:
- $19/month "VBA and Macros for Beginners" course from Skillfeed with 2 hours of content
- $99 "Excel VBA and Macros" course from Udemy with 9 hours of content
Since she is already quite familiar with Excel, she decided to go with the Udemy course, since it covers more advanced topics and had a more engaging instructor. We even found a 50% off coupon for her to use. We'll check back with her in a few weeks about how it's going!