What Is An Excel Macro? difference with functions
On this blog, we have written quite a bit of material that concerns excel functions such as vlookup, sumif, and even combinations of functions such as nested functions (if and or functions combined together). When you start getting a good knowledge of these functions and how to use them, you start to feel as if excel is incredibly powerful… and it is. The possibilities are almost endless.
That being said, functions are only a small part of the story. If you work on excel and use functions, you are tapping into a bigger part of excel than most users. However, there a lot more ground to cover. Excel macros can range from the easiest operation that you could have easily performed with functions but can also include interacting with other files, other windows applications, complex operations with variables, etc. Basically, any task that you perform in excel can be replicated with excel macros. Sounds powerful? It truly is.
-What Does It Look Like In Excel?
When you add functions to a spreadhseet, it is very obvious . One big difference when building Excel Macros is that when you look at the spreadsheet, you will not necessarily know that some macros exist in the spreadsheet. There are a few ways that you can find out. First off, users often insert buttons on their spreadsheets that make it easier to start macros, here is an example:
Another way to see is to look through the menu:
Finally, if while you are in the excel sheet you press on: ALT+F11, this will give you a better view of the document. You can see some of what is going on in the background. Macros are usually found in “modules”, that are “attached” or part of the excel document but they could be found in the background of the sheets themselves. Here is a small view of the structure of my document.
-What Are Some Of The Possible Ways To Use Them?
There are a million (or more) different ways that macros can be used and I think there are many reasons why you would use macros. Some of the possible uses are more complex rules that would be difficult to replicate, combination of different excel fonctions, advanced usage of utilities such as filters, but also trying to either get data from external spreadsheets, saving data to other drives, etc. We will be going through some of the things that can be done over the next few weeks and hopefully you will also be asking any questions that you might have regarding the use of macros.
-Why Use Macros? What Are The Benefits?
Macros are obviously not perfect but they do offer many advantages.
-Executing complex operations that would not be possible with regular functions or would require a lot of time.
-Clean Spreadsheet: Since macros are built in the background, once they are done, it becomes much easier to run without fearing of erasing a function, etc. It is also very easy for outsiders to use the macros.
-Speed: Running macros can make complex operations that take hours for a regular individual be done
-Easy to improve/modify: Well written code can become very easy to modify and improve which is not necessarily the case in heave spreadsheets
-Excel Macro Downsides
Honestly, there are few downsides to using macros, one of them would of course be that they take more to build, especially when you are a beginner. As well, it can be more difficult for a user to understand how the spreadsheet and macro is reacting compared to a more standard and simple spreadsheet. Other than that, I honestly cannot think of big downsides.
In our next post, we will take a look at how to build your first macro, how it should be done and we’ll go from there!