Excel Tip: How to Create Simple Macros

Written by Mike Moore

Mar 19, 2013
Microsoft Excel TipsEver find yourself working with an Excel® spreadsheet, continually repeating the same set of keystrokes over and over again? For instance, you might be analyzing a few hundred rows of client data and deleting rows that, for whatever reason, you don’t need.

Repeatedly you use the drop down menu to plod through the sequence: “Edit > Delete > Entire Row > OK

There are different workarounds for this; one is to create a simple “macro.” A macro is a memorized combination of keystrokes that can be fired off using a single mapped combination.

Old-school online gamers might remember the maddening experience of trying to quickly execute an action that required multiple keystrokes:

To equip your armor and draw your weapon, press CTRL + “a”, then “e”, then “SHIFT” + ”d”, then “s”.

It wasn’t pretty. Anyone back then who could write a macro was able to do all of those things by pressing a single button, resulting in a swift and merciless defeat. Back then, the macro was a valuable little trick available primarily to true computer nerds.

Now, it’s easy. To accomplish the row deletion example above, instead of repeatedly going through the sequence ““Edit > Delete > Entire Row > OK” every single time you want to delete a row, just do the following to “record” your macro:

  1. Click “Tools” > “Macro” > “Record New Macro”
  2. Name your macro (e.g. “RowDelete”) and pick a key to map it to. (Note: It must be a key that doesn’t have any other shortcuts mapped to it. Add a description if you’d like.)
  3. Execute the series of commands you’re assembling. In this case, go through the sequence as you normall would: Edit > Delete > Entire Row > OK
  4. Click “Tools” > “Macro” > “Stop Recording”

The next time you need to delete a row, just hit “Option + CMD + [the key you mapped it to]” and the row deletes with a single combination keystroke.

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