Excel Macros - Overview


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An Excel macro is an action or a set of actions that you can record, give a name, save and run as many times as you want and whenever you want. When you create a macro, you are recording your mouse clicks and keystrokes. When you run a saved macro, the recorded mouse clicks and keystrokes will be executed in the same sequence as they are recorded.

Macros help you to save time on repetitive tasks involved in data manipulation and data reports that are required to be done frequently.

Macro and VBA

You can record and run macros with either Excel commands or from Excel VBA.

VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications and is a simple programming language that is available through Excel Visual Basic Editor (VBE), which is available from the DEVELOPER tab on the Ribbon. When you record a macro, Excel generates VBA code. If you just want to record a macro and run it, there is no need to learn Excel VBA. However, if you want to modify a macro, then you can do it only by modifying the VBA code in the Excel VBA editor.

You will learn how to record a simple macro and run it with Excel commands in the chapter - Creating a Simple Macro. You will learn more about macros and about creating and / or modifying macros from Excel VBA editor in the later chapters.

Personal Macro Workbook

A macro can be saved in the same workbook from where you recorded it. In that case, you can run the macro from that workbook only and hence you should keep it open. Excel gives you an alternative way to store all your macros. It is the personal macro workbook, where you can save your macros, which enables you to run those macros from any workbook.

You will learn about Personal Macro Workbook in the chapter - Saving all your Macros in a Single Workbook.

Macro Security

Macros will be stored as VBA code in Excel. As with the case of any other code, macro code is also susceptible to malicious code that can run when you open a workbook. This is a threat to your computer. Microsoft provided with the Macro Security facility that helps you in protecting your computer from such macro viruses.

You will learn more about this in the chapter - Macro Security.

Absolute References and Relative References

While recording a macro, you can use either absolute references or relative references for the cells on which you are clicking. Absolute references make your macro run at the same cells where you recorded the macro. On the other hand, relative references make your macro run at the active cell.

You will learn about these in the chapters - Using Absolute References for a Macro and Using Relative References for a Macro.

Macro Code in VBA

You can record and run macros from Excel even if you do not know Excel VBA. However, if you have to modify a recorded macro or create a macro by writing VBA code, you should learn Excel VBA. You can refer to the Excel VBA tutorial in this tutorials library for this

However, you should know how to view the macro code. You can learn how to access VBA editor in Excel and about the different parts of the VBA editor in the chapter – Excel VBA.

You can learn how to view the macro code in Excel VBA editor and you can understand the macro code in the chapter - Understanding Macro Code.

Assigning Macros to Objects

You can assign a macro to an object such as a shape or a graphic or a control. Then, you can run the macro by clicking on that object. You will learn about this in the chapter - Assigning Macros to Objects.

Running Macros

Excel provides several ways to run a macro. You can choose the way you want to run a macro. You will learn about these different possible ways of running a macro in the chapter - Running a Macro.

Creating a Macro Using VBA Editor

If you decide to write the macro code, you can learn it in the chapter - Creating a Macro Using VBA Editor. However, the prerequisite is that you should have Excel VBA knowledge.

Editing a Macro

You can modify macro code in Excel VBA editor. If you want to make extensive changes, you should have Excel VBA knowledge. But, if you want to make only minor changes to the code or if you want to copy the VBA code from a recorded macro to another macro, you can refer to the chapter - Editing a Macro.

You can rename a macro and even delete it. You will learn about this also in the same chapter.

User Forms

A Form is normally used to collect required information. It will be self-explanatory making the task simple. Excel User Forms created from Excel VBA editor serve the same purpose, providing the familiar options such as text boxes, check boxes, radio buttons, list boxes, combo boxes, scroll bars, etc. as controls.

You will learn how to create a User Form and how to use the different controls in the chapter – User Forms.

Debugging Macro Code

At times, a macro may not run as expected. You might have created the macro or you might be using a macro supplied to you by someone. You can debug the macro code just as you debug any other code to uncover the defects and correct them. You will learn about this in the chapter - Debugging Macro Code.

Configuring a Macro to Run on Opening a Workbook

You can make your macro run automatically when you open a workbook. You can do this either by creating an Auto_Run macro or by writing VBA code for workbook open event. You will learn this in the chapter - Configuring a Macro to Run on Opening a Workbook.



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