How to Create Macro in Excel

Are you confused about how to create macros in excel? No worries! This article will set things straight and in no time, you’ll be making your own macros.

This article teaches you how to enable, create, run, and save macros in Microsoft Excel. Macros are miniature programs which allow you to perform complex tasks, such as calculating formulas or creating charts, within Excel. Macros can save significant amounts of time when applied to repetitive tasks, and thanks to Excel’s “Record Macro” feature, you don’t have to know anything about programming in order to create a macro.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Enabling Macros

Open Excel. Double-click the Excel app icon, which resembles a white “X” on a green box, then click Blank workbook.

  • If you have a specific file which you want to open in Excel, double-click that file to open it instead.

Click File. It’s in the upper-left side of the Excel window.

  • On a Mac, click Excel in the upper-left corner of the screen to prompt a drop-down menu.

Click Options. You’ll find this on the left side of the Excel window.

  • On a Mac, you’ll click Preferences… in the drop-down menu.

Click Customize Ribbon. It’s on the left side of the Excel Options window.

  • On a Mac, click instead Ribbon & Toolbar in the Preferences window.

Check the “Developer” box. This box is near the bottom of the “Main Tabs” list of options.

Click OK. It’s at the bottom of the window. You can now use macros in Excel.

  • On a Mac, you’ll click Save here instead.

Part 2 Recording a Macro

Enter any necessary data. If you opened a blank workbook, enter any data which you want to use before proceeding.

  • You can also close Excel and open a specific Excel file by double-clicking it.

Click the Developer tab. It’s at the top of the Excel window. Doing so opens a toolbar here.

Click the Developer tab. It’s at the top of the Excel window. Doing so opens a toolbar here.

Enter a name for the macro. In the “Macro name” text box, type in the name for your macro. This will help you identify the macro later.

Create a shortcut key combination if you like. Press the ⇧ Shift key along with another letter key (e.g., the E key) to create the keyboard shortcut. You can use this keyboard shortcut to run the macro later.

  • On a Mac, the shortcut key combination will end up being ⌥ Option+⌘ Command and your key (e.g., ⌥ Option+⌘ Command+T).

Click the “Store macro in” drop-down box. It’s in the middle of the window. Doing so prompts a drop-down menu.

Click This Workbook. This option is in the drop-down menu. Your macro will be stored inside your spreadsheet, making it possible for anyone who has the spreadsheet to access the macro.

Click OK. It’s at the bottom of the window. Doing this saves your macro settings and begins recording.

Perform the macro’s steps. Any step you perform between clicking OK and clicking Stop Recording while be added to the macro. For example, if you wanted to create a macro which turns two columns’ worth of data into a chart, you would do the following:

  • Click and drag your mouse across the data to select it.
  • Click Insert
  • Select a chart shape.
  • Click the chart that you want to use.

Click Stop Recording. It’s in the Developer toolbar. This will save your macro.

Part 3 Saving a Macro-Enabled Spreadsheet

Understand why you have to save the spreadsheet with macros enabled. If you don’t save your spreadsheet as a macro-enabled spreadsheet (XLSM format), the macro won’t be saved as part of the spreadsheet, meaning that other people on different computers won’t be able to use your macro if you send the workbook to them.

Click File. It’s in the upper-left corner of the Excel window (Windows) or the screen (Mac). Doing so will prompt a drop-down menu.

Click Save As. This option is on the left side of the window (Windows) or in the drop-down menu (Mac).

Double-click This PC. It’s in the column of save locations near the left side of the window. A “Save As” window will open.

  • Skip this step on a Mac.

Enter a name for your Excel file. In the “Name” text box, type in the name for your Excel spreadsheet.

Change the file format to XLSM. Click the “Save as type” drop-down box, then click Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook in the resulting drop-down menu.[2]

  • On a Mac, you’ll replace the “xlsx” at the end of the file’s name with xlsm.

Select a save location. Click a folder in which you want to save the Excel file (e.g., Desktop).

  • On a Mac, you must first click the “Where” drop-down box.

Click Save. It’s at the bottom of the window. Doing so will save your Excel spreadsheet to your selected location, and your macro will be saved along with it.

Part 4 Running a Macro

Open the macro-enabled spreadsheet. Double-click the spreadsheet that has the macro in it to open the spreadsheet in Excel.

Click Enable Content. It’s in a yellow bar at the top of the Excel window. This will unlock the spreadsheet and allow you to use the macro.

  • If you don’t see this option, skip this step.

Click the Developer tab. This option is at the top of the Excel window.

  • You can also just press the key combination you set for the macro. If you do so, the macro will run, and you can skip the rest of this method.

Click Macros. You’ll find it in the Developer tab’s toolbar. A pop-up window will open.

Select your macro. Click the name of the macro which you want to run.

Click Run. It’s on the right side of the window. Your macro will begin running.

Wait for the macro to finish running. Depending on how large your macro is, this can take several seconds.

Conclusion

Macros can be a powerful tool in Excel that we often overlook. Macros allow you to automate tasks and save you a lot of time. Have you ever found yourself repeating the same task over and over again? If so, then macros can make your job much easier. Sometimes I think we take macros for granted; however, these helpful tools can make our jobs much easier.

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