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How to Use and Design Excel Macros - Part 1: Macro Definition, Importance, Audience, and Learning Outcomes

Updated on December 23, 2013

What is a macro?

  • A program that can be written in Excel to carry out a specific function given inputs provided by the user
  • Usually used to perform repetitive, time-consuming, or complex tasks
  • Increases the speed of data analysis so scientific discoveries can be made and shared more quickly

Why learn about macros?

Macros are a very useful aspect of Excel, but many people do not know how to use them

According to an informal survey:

  • 50% of Excel users do not know what a macro is
  • 71.43% of Excel users do not know how to use a pre-existing macro
  • 78.57% of Excel users do not know how to create a macro in Excel

Survey Results
Survey Results

Intended Users

Macros can be useful to a large variety of people who work with data

Ideal audience background:

  • Use Excel frequently and know the basics of the program (There will be a brief description of Excel for those who need it)
  • Have at least some experience with computer programming
  • Are comfortable using the computer

Learning Outcomes

Participants will learn to:

  • Start a macro
  • Use a pre-made macro
  • Record a macro
  • Design a macro

Macros will allow users to:

  • Easily and quickly execute complex, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks
  • Perform calculations
  • Create graphs


Excel Descriptions - shows where to find the macro tools

Macro Basics - describes recording, writing, copy-pasting, and editing

Sample Instructions - guides user through macro creation process

Continue to Part 2


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