How to record macros in Excel

Xiaobai Software  2023-11-07 16: 50  read 45 views

Macros are a series of recorded actions that can be performed with a single click, saving time and effort on repetitive tasks. Excel natively supports macros, and you can turn them into your secret weapon for completing menial tasks quickly.

Once you enable Excel macros, they are very simple to use.The ability to record macros allows you to create macros without any programming knowledge: start recording, perform actions, stop recording.

Let's learn about recording Excel macros with a detailed step-by-step guide.


How to record macros in Excel

Although macros are built into Excel, they are not enabled by default.To use macros, you need to enable the Developer tab in Excel.With the Developer tab enabled, recording a macro is as simple as specifying the shortcut, entering the details, and performing the macro action.Here is a detailed guide:

1. Enable the "Developer" tab

Macros can be recorded in the "Developer" tab.As mentioned before, this tab is not enabled by default.

To enable it, go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon.Select "Main Tabs" from the drop-down menu in the "Customize Ribbon" bar, check "Developer Tools" and click "OK".


Now, the Developer tab will appear in the ribbon.It will remain here permanently unless you disable it in the same window.

2. Click Record Macro

Navigate to the "Developer" tab in the ribbon that you just enabled.In the Code group, click Record Macro.This will open a new window where you can enter the details of your macro.


Alternatively, you can press Alt + T + M + R keys on your keyboard to bring up the Macro dialog box.

3. Enter the macro name

Enter a name for the macro in the Macro name field.Be specific, otherwise it will be difficult to quickly identify what the macro does in the future.


The first character of the macro name must be a letter, and subsequent characters can be letters, numbers, or underscores.Do not use spaces, and avoid macro names that are the same as cell reference names.


4. Assign shortcut keys

Once you assign a shortcut key, you can press that key combination at any time to run the macro in Excel.Click a key in the shortcut box, and then press the key you want to use with the Ctrl key.


It's a good idea to hold down the Shift key when selecting a key combination so that it becomes part of the shortcut.If the Excel default shortcut key already exists, your macro shortcut key will override the default shortcut key.For example, if you select Ctrl+A, then it will override the ability to select everything.Instead, use Ctrl + Shift + A, as this is not an existing shortcut key.

5. Select where to store the macro

Use the Store Macro drop-down menu to select where you want to store the macro.


The available options are:

Personal Macro Workbook: This will make macros available when you use Excel.It will store the macros in a hidden macro workbook named PERSONAL.XLBS.

New workbooks: This will make the macro available to any workbook you create during an existing Excel session.

This workbook: This will make the macro available only in the workbook you have open.

6. Enter a description

The final step in this window is to enter a description in the box.Use it to describe in detail what the macro does.


This field is optional, but it's good practice to be as comprehensive as possible so that you and others can see the macro in action in the future.

7. Click OK

Maybe this is the easiest step!Once you're satisfied with your submission, click OK to start recording your macro.

8. Perform macro operations

Macro recording has started, please follow your steps.This includes typing, clicking in cells, applying formatting, or importing external data from places like websites or Microsoft Access.

You can toggle the "Use relative references" option on the Developer tab to use relative references when recording.When this option is enabled, operations will be recorded relative to the initial cell, which is useful for dynamic macros.

For example, if you click from cell A1 to A3 while recording, running the macro from cell J6 will move the cursor to J8.If disabled, the cursor will move from A1 to A3.


It's best to plan your actions in advance to avoid mistakes.If you make a mistake, stop recording and start again.

9. Click to stop recording

After completing the macro steps, return to the Developer tab, find the Code group, and click Stop Recording.


Alternatively, you can stop recording the macro by pressing Alt + T + M + R keys on your keyboard.Now, you have successfully recorded an Excel macro!

Use recorded macros in Excel

After you create macros, you can access them by clicking Macros in the Developer tab.This window can also be opened by pressing the Alt + F8 keys.

Here you can select the macro and click Run to apply the macro.Macros can also be edited or deleted.


You may encounter the "Cannot edit macros on hidden workbooks error" when trying to edit or delete macros.This is because your macros are stored in the Personal Macro Workbook, which is a hidden PERSONAL.XLSB file.


To unhide the workbook, go to the View menu and click Unhide in the Window section.Select PERSONAL.XLSB and click OK.


Excel will open the PERSONAL.XLSB workbook.This is a blank workbook that stores personal macros.Now, you can go back to the Macro window and edit or delete the macro.

Get the most out of Excel with macros

Excel macros provide a transformative way to automate repetitive tasks, increasing your productivity and freeing up valuable time.By following this guide, you've taken a step toward recording your own macros, which will provide you with a tool to automate manual processes in Excel.

As you become more proficient, you'll find that macros not only simplify your tasks but also open the door to more advanced functionality.Learn in depth and practice continuously to explore the full potential of Excel macros and improve your data management level!

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