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Excel and Macros

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

"A single instruction that expands automatically into a set of instructions to perform a particular task." - Definition for Macros from Oxford Languages

Believe it or not, the image above is from Microsoft Excel. It is a small part of the programming language used in Macros. I can imagine many have not seen it, as it is hidden from default. And it makes sense. It can be an amazing tool, but it can be intimidating at first sight. Upon unhiding the developer options within the Excel options, you will be able to witness the true power of Excel, though you may not understand it... yet.

“Though intimidating, if you use Excel, this is a tool that can be used to automate a huge portion of your work.”

Try to unlock it and see it for yourself. Go to the File, then your Options. Once there, simply check the right column and search for Developer. It should be unchecked. Simply click the box the check it and click OK. Now take a look at your Tabs on top and surprise, you now have a Developer Tab. Once open, look to your left and open Visual Basic, the Interactive Development Environment (IDE) used for programming language Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

The Hidden Gem Within Excel

This is the portion of Excel I... "Excel" in. (Pun intended). This is the hidden gem in Excel that has made my life easier as well as countless others. With it, you can make User Forms that look like Dialog Boxes, but completely customizable to your tastes. You can make a hidden database to be run completely with a Graphic User Interface (GUI). While you're at it if you have to fill out PDFs from information in a spreadsheet, why not make a Macro for it as well? Chances are that a well-made Macro can fill out over 300 PDFs by the time you pass the data to 2. (Tested and true). If done well enough, it'll even organize them all nicely. (Also tested and true.)

Though Macros seem like the way to go for everything by the sound of it, it is far from the answer for everything. If you have to do a one-time data collection or a simple form that is used once a year, by all means, consider the basic Excel methods for it. However, here are the cases I personally recommend it. If you use Excel often, and do the same thing over and over again, such as fill the same 300 PDFs with new data every 2 to 3 months, or force a graph to feed off constantly renewed data, take Macros into consideration. If the processes take hours, why not make it take hours only once, and then in the future, let a simple click do it all.

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I'm Raul Cintron

As a US Army Military Police Staff Sargeant, I work hard to ensure our Soldiers are performing to the best of their abilities. In my civilian life, I work hard to ensure computers perform fast and efficiently. If a task can be automated, why not? I work on Excel automation with VBA Macros, Web Development, I manage a SharePoint site, and know the fundamentals to assist in C# and Python. "Simplifying work and life."

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