The more you know about Excel, the more powerful the software becomes. Once you’re fairly comfortable with the application, it’s well worth getting to grips with macros. Macros can help remove menial tasks from your workflow, giving you the time to focus on more important matters.
The simplest type of macro is a series of actions carried out manually, that you can “record” and perform again at the touch of a button. More advanced examples use VBA to automate complex processes.
Macros really come into their own once you’re able to create them to suit the task at hand. However, these five sites will help you find existing macros that can save you time and effort.
There’s a subreddit for everything, and that includes Microsoft Excel. Reddit users discuss all aspects of the software, and macros are a popular topic of conversation. If you’re looking for a particular kind of macro, your best bet is the site’s search tools. However, if you simply want to see the best of the best, check out the coolest macro competition from October 2016.
With a $10 Amazon gift card on the line, users contributed their best macros. There’s no particular theme, so it’s a great look at what various people consider to be their most useful effort. The winner created a handy macro that allows users to go back to the last sheet they viewed in their current workbook.
Other notables include a way of inserting page numbers with consistent formatting and a neat game to test player reflexes.
2. Excel Forum
Many Excel users rely on Excel Forum for help with their various projects and problems. The site hosts a forum dedicated to programming, VBA, and macros, and it’s a great place to find new macros created by other users.
Typically, people ask for help, rather than posting finished macros for others to use. This is great, because other user responses will often explain the thought process behind using certain techniques, rather than just how to execute them.
Unless you’re looking for something in particular, the best way to navigate the site is by sorting threads by their number of views. That way, you’ll see which topics have proven to be the most popular. Since Excel Forum has been active for more than a decade, there’s plenty of content to sift through.
3. Mr. Excel
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Excel Forum, Mr. Excel should be your next port of call. While it’s not quite as expansive, this site has a similarly helpful user base with a deep knowledge of all things Excel.
— Bill Jelen (@MrExcel) October 24, 2016
The one drawback to Mr. Excel is that it’s not as well-categorized as Excel Forum. As a result, there’s no separation between posts about macros and more general queries. However, you can easily get around this issue by running a search for “macro,” or “VBA,” or another similar term.
Chandoo is a popular resource for people learning about all aspects of Excel. However, one particularly useful element of the site is its broad library of demonstrative macros. A few interesting examples include a method of splitting text across cells, a way of fetching stock quotes, and tips on how to use your spreadsheet to send emails.
This is a great site for people learning Excel, as the macros are accompanied by tons of information. Rather than just giving you the code to figure out for yourself, there are often notes to explain how the macro works. You can certainly save time and effort by using someone else’s macro, but Chandoo will help you learn how to create new macros for yourself.
5. Excel Easy
Excel Easy is another popular destination for people looking to improve their understanding of Excel. It’s got plenty of tutorials for novices through experts, but if you’re focusing on macros, you’ll want to check out its Examples section.
Examples hone in on a particular type of macro and explain how to create it step-by-step. You’ll find tutorials on the very basics, up to more advanced topics like loops, and even expert projects like custom progress indicators.
Excel Easy has examples of all kinds of macros, and unlike the forums above, they’re neatly organized by topic. However, the best part is the clarity and depth of the accompanying instructions. You’re assembling these macros step-by-step, so you should end up with a full understanding of how they operate.
Next Steps With Excel Macros
If you understand what macros are and what they can do, you’re a step ahead of the average Excel user. That said, to really get the most out of this feature, you should consider learning to make your own macros, rather than just relying on other people’s creations.
Every Excel spreadsheet is different, and the tasks that need to be automated will vary from user to user. Creating your own macros means that they’re tailored for your needs. The time you spend learning will be worth it once you can knock out simple macros to solve simple problems.
Creating macros doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can start out by recording a macro, then delve into VBA with some of the step-by-step guides above. Before you know it, you’ll be a bona fide macro master.
Are you looking for a particular Excel macro and finding nothing? Have you stumbled upon a cool macro that you want to share with other readers? Why not add your voice to the comments section below?