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How to Record New Macros in Excel 2013

Excel 2013 enables you to add an optional Developer tab to the Ribbon that contains its own Record Macro command button (among other command buttons that are very useful when doing more advanced work with macros). To add the Developer tab to the Excel 2013 Ribbon, follow these two steps:

  1. Choose File→Options or press Alt+FT to open the Excel Options dialog box.

  2. Click the Customize Ribbon tab, select the Developer check box under Main Tabs in the Customize the Ribbon list box on the right side of the dialog box, and then click OK.

Even if you don’t add the Developer tab to the Ribbon, the Excel Status bar at the bottom of the Excel 2013 program window contains a Record Macro button. You click this button to turn on the macro recorder. Also, the View tab contains a Macros command button with a drop-down menu containing a Record Macro option.

When you turn on the macro recorder either by clicking the Record Macro button on the Status bar, clicking the Record Macro option on the Macros button’s drop-down menu (Alt+WMR), or clicking the Record Macro button on the Developer tab (Alt+LR), the macro recorder records all your actions in the active worksheet or chart sheet when you make them.

The macro recorder doesn’t record the keystrokes or mouse actions that you take to accomplish an action — only the VBA code required to perform the action itself.

This means that mistakes that you make while taking an action that you rectify won’t be recorded as part of the macro; for example, if you make a typing error and then edit it while the macro recorder is on, only the corrected entry shows up in the macro without the original mistakes and steps taken to remedy them.

The macros that you create with the macro recorder can be stored as part of the current workbook, in a new workbook, or in a special, globally available Personal Macro Workbook named PERSONAL.XLSB that’s stored in a folder called XLSTART on your hard drive.

When you record a macro as part of your Personal Macro Workbook, you can run that macro from any workbook that you have open. When you record macros as part of the current workbook or a new workbook, you can run those macros only when the workbook in which they were recorded is open in Excel.

When you create a macro with the macro recorder, you decide not only the workbook in which to store the macro but also what name and shortcut keystrokes to assign to the macro that you are creating. When assigning a shortcut keystroke to run the macro, you can assign

  • The Ctrl key plus a letter from A to Z, as in Ctrl+Q

  • Ctrl+Shift and a letter from A to Z, as in Ctrl+Shift+Q

You can’t, however, assign the Ctrl key plus a punctuation or number key (such as Ctrl+1 or Ctrl+/) to your macro.

Did this glimpse into Excel macros leave you longing for more information and insight about Microsoft's popular spreadsheet program? You're free to test drive any of the For Dummies eLearning courses. Pick your course (you may be interested in more from Excel 2013), fill out a quick registration, and then give eLearning a spin with the Try It! button. You'll be right on course for more trusted know how: The full version's also available at Excel 2013.

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