1.1 What Is a
You can think of a macro as a mini computer program within
Excel. A macro is a series of statements or commands. The simplest
macro consists only of a sequence of commands; in other
words, a macro that automatically performs operations
that you could do manually in Excel. More complex macros include such
programming features as variables, decisions, loops, and user
interaction. These programming features are implemented using the statements that are part of Visual Basic for Applications ("VBA"), the macro language for Microsoft Office programs.
1.2 Advantages of Macros
Macros are run with just a few keystrokes, or by one or two mouse clicks, so they can
automate repetitive tasks and save a lot of time. Macros guarantee consistency and accuracy; because they always run the
same way, there is no chance of operator error (provided the
macro was programmed correctly!). Macros can also simplify the implementation of features in the program, or perform operations in the program that a user might not know how to do manually.
Skills Required for Macros
Simple macros can be created just by storing keystrokes or
mouse clicks, so for those kinds of macros you do not need to
know anything about programming. You just need to know how to perform the operation in Excel. Creating a macro in this way is known as "recording" a macro.
More complex macros that incorporate
logic or operator interaction use programming techniques, which require some practice to master. These programming techniques are covered in later chapters of this tutorial.
1.4 Scope of this
This tutorial is aimed at beginner-level macro writers. No
previous macro-writing or programming experience of any kind is
assumed. The tutorial covers macro commands that operate on
elements of an Excel workbook (using the "Object Model" discussed later
in this tutorial). The tutorial introduces basic VBA language
statements for variables, user interaction, decisions, and loops. Not covered are more advanced concepts such as arrays and user-created
dialog boxes. Once you are comfortable using the features covered in this tutorial, I encourage you to explore the advanced features of VBA, using books or resources available on the internet.
This tutorial is based on Excel 2003. Where there are differences in Excel 2007/2010 I have tried to note them.
1.5 Resources for
Detailed information on all macro topics is available from
VBA's on-line Help. Unfortunately Help on the specific topic needed can
sometimes be hard to find.
Probably the best source of information regarding macros and VBA is the internet. A search on a particular topic or problem will
almost always turn up solutions and information from a variety of websites and message boards.
For users who prefer consulting a book, comprehensive manuals for Excel macros are
available from O'Reilly. Books on Excel macros
were also published by Wrox; they are out of print but might be available used.