Excel

The “M” Word – How Using Excel Macros Will Give You Hours of Your Life Back!

February 24, 2015

I know what you’re thinking, “Get Back Hours of My Life You Say?!” Yes, it’s true, IF you use Excel at work on a daily basis.

Some more questions you might be asking, “What can I use a Excel Macro for?” Or more importantly, “What IS a Macro?”
Well I’m glad you asked because it seems like everyone talks about it and says they know what it is … but no one seems to actually use them.

I WANT people to use them! Let’s fix that by going over the basics!

What is a Excel Macro? A macro is a series of commands and instructions that you group together as a single command to accomplish a task automatically.
Basically, we can record a macro to remember any number of commands we tell it to, save the macro and apply it the next time on new data – saving valuable time.

Why Do I Care – Real Life Example
A few years ago, every morning I used to have to create revenue pacing reports for 6 different account managers. I had to pull the data from a 3rd party system, format the data to reflect what I needed, put it into my formatted template and then send off for review. These 6 reports were due by 9am every morning and it took me 1 hour to complete this task.

With the help of macros I was able to complete and send out all 6 reports within 12 minutes (yes I timed myself).

I saved 48 minutes of valuable time each day that I was originally wasting on formatting in Excel! The savings added up to 16 hours a month also known as two “average” 8-hour work days. If you wanted to try and quantify value to your boss about why you are WORTH a raise, how about taking those hours saved and multiplying by your hourly rate to show savings? Your time and your company’s time is extremely valuable and I challenge you to apply an Excel Macro to your daily tasks to save time.

Excel Macros Disclaimer
Macros can only be used on pieces of data that are consistent. For Example, if you have a report you need for format that has columns A to G listed every time and you need to always delete Columns C and G, then great!! The problem is when the next day you have a report with extra columns (A to Z) or less columns (A to C). Your Macro only remembers the steps and locations you perform every single time. It doesn’t know how to format the other data because it is simply a little macro, not a magician. But do not be discouraged! It just takes a little more time on our part with critical thinking to see how we can make a macro work to our advantage.

I went ahead and recorded a demonstration video (6 minutes total) that highlights the type of data you could use on a macro, how to record a macro, best practices while recording, stop recording of a macro, create a shortcut button to quickly pull the macro and also how to test it to ensure you are good to go!

I really hope this helps you in your daily tasks and always feel free to ask questions in the comments!

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