By Michael Alexander

A macro is essentially a set of instructions or code that you create to tell Excel to execute any number of actions. In Excel, macros can be written or recorded. The key word here is recorded. The first step in using macros is admitting you have a problem. Actually, you may have several problems:

  • Repetitive tasks: As each new month rolls around, you have to crank out those reports. You have to import that data. You have to update those pivot tables. You have to delete those columns, and so on. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could fire up a macro and have the more redundant parts of your reporting processes performed automatically?

  • Mistakes: When you’re repeatedly applying formulas, sorting, and moving things around manually, you’re bound to make mistakes. Add looming deadlines and constant change requests, and your error rate goes up. Why not calmly record a macro, ensure that everything is running correctly, and then forget it? The macro will perform every action the same way every time you run it; reducing the chance of errors.

  • Awkward navigation: Make your reports more user friendly, and those who have a limited knowledge of Excel, will appreciate your efforts. Macros can be used to dynamically format and print worksheets, navigate to specific sheets in your workbook, or even save the open document in a specified location. Your audience will appreciate these touches that help make perusal of your workbooks a bit more pleasant.