Have you ever tracked how much time you spend working in Excel? It might be substantial. But, when you break down the tasks that you do and realize that some of those are repetitive, there are some opportunities.
Maybe you’ve noticed that you routinely format everything the same or insert a standard block of text into each of your spreadsheets. This can take a significant amount of time if you do it manually. Those extra few minutes that you spend doing these tasks takes away from other things that you could get accomplished and begins to add up over time.
Using Excel Macros to Automate Tasks
One of the reasons that Excel macros are so valuable is that they can help you automate repetitive tasks. Macros are pieces of code that automate work in a program, and they are based on the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language, which is the foundation for Excel.
Once a macro is created, it sits ready for you to use whenever needed. It can replace the actions that you normally do manually, such as copying values, formatting cells, and calculating totals.
Where to Get Help with Excel Macros
Whether you are brand new to using macros or something has gone wrong with your programming and you need some help, you may not know where to turn. Macros can range from the simple to the complex, and no one becomes an expert Excel user overnight.
The good news is there are plenty of resources available to learn how to use macros as well as to get the troubleshooting help you need when you need it. Here are some of the most useful places to look for help with Excel macros.
Let Excel Do the Work for You
One of the best places to get help with macros is in Excel itself. The program contains a Macro Recorder, which will write your underlying VBA for you, meaning you don’t need to know any of that complex programming language. If you’re curious, you can take a look at the code once the recording is finished to learn more about what was created and even try to make some changes to customize your macro.
There are also “Help” functions within Excel. When you click on the help icon — usually a question mark — inside Excel, the program will check several things. First, it looks to see where you are in Excel, so if you are on the “Developer” tab, it will offer some help with these features. It also looks to see if you are online. If you are, you have the option of searching the Microsoft site for a variety of macro resources.
Locate the Code Online
Excel has now been in use for so many years, there likely aren’t many “new” or original macros. Most that are useful are in wide circulation, and you can locate the syntax for these macros with a simple internet search.
Whether you are starting from scratch or trying to troubleshoot a problem with an existing macro, pull up your favorite internet browser and see if you can find another macro to use as a guide. To get the best results, use Excel VBA before your description. For example, if you wanted to find a macro to sort columns in a sheet, search for Excel VBA sort columns in worksheet.
Ask a Question in a Forum
If your macro isn’t working or you still don’t know where to begin, you can turn to one of the many Excel forums online for help. User forums are online communities that focus on a particular topic such as skydiving, healthy eating, and yes — Excel.
You have several options with an Excel forum. You can search for related topics and read responses, since your question may have been dealt with in the past. Or, you can post a new question and wait for responses. If you’re going to post in a forum, here are several tips to get the best result:
- Read the forum rules before signing up and posting.
- Be accurate and concise with your post subject title.
- Keep the scope of your question as narrow as possible.
- Be patient and give members time to respond to your question.
- Check back often and provide clarification when requested.
- Thank the experts that answered your question.
Review Excel Macro Blog Posts
Several Excel gurus have shared their knowledge of macros through various blog posts. Depending on your needs, you may be able to pick up the information you need from one of these online articles. Most have illustrations and sample syntax for macros as well.
Some of the top Excel blogs with information and tutorials for macros include:
Search YouTube for Training
While some blog posts have videos, others just have text and a few illustrations. Maybe you learn better with a video demonstration. If this is the case, you can head over to YouTube and look for some training pieces on macros.
There are a ton, and the downside to doing this is that watching a lot of videos can be time-consuming. Similar to reading through blog and forum posts, you might spend a lot of time watching someone work through an issue that either doesn’t teach you anything or doesn’t help solve your particular problem. Then again, you might find the perfect video on the first try.
Some of the top channels on YouTube that include tutorials for Excel macros are:
Take an Online Training Course
Another way to absorb information about Excel and using macros is to take an online training course. These vary in their complexity and depth. There are training courses for beginners as well as some that cover more complex topics in VBA. Some are free, and others will charge a fee. Some of the best options for Excel macro training courses include:
- Power Spreadsheets. This is a website that has several different Excel training course, some free and some paid. The Introduction to Excel Macros is a free course, and there is also a VBA Fundamentals course and Premium Training Package.
- Chandoo.org. This is an Excel training site based in India that is run by Vijay Chandoo, whose goal is to help you “become awesome at Excel.” There are several VBA classes and training programs on the site. These work with topics such as introduction to VBA, writing VBA code, and debugging your code. These are all paid classes, and there is extensive work involved in the training.
- Spreadsheeto. This is an Excel training website that is based in Denmark. The site has a Macro course, which is paid, that includes 29 different lessons and a variety of project files so that you can work through the problems as you learn. You’ll need Excel 2007 or later and approximately 2-3 hours to complete this course.
Get Live Help
Speaking one-on-one with an Excel expert is truly the best way to get help with Excel macros. While the other ways that we’ve mentioned are viable, they are also time-consuming and can be frustrating if you are not getting problem-specific help.
When you connect with an instructor on live chat, they can assess your particular needs and give you the focused help that you require. This will allow you to learn in a more dynamic environment and make the best use of your time.
In addition to the chat window technology, you will be able to work on the same Excel spreadsheet as your instructor while you work through Excel macro tutorials and real-life scenarios.
At Excelchat, your live learning session can begin at your convenience, and you can learn at your own pace. Jump online anytime, from anywhere, and begin to learn more about macros, troubleshoot a specific issue, or receive help with customizations.