Excel macros save you time and headaches by automating common, repetitive tasks. And you don’t have to be a programmer or know Visual Basic Applications (VBA) to write one. With Excel 2013, it’s as simple as recording your keystrokes. Use these tips to make macro recording a cinch.
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1. Macro names
Keep macro names short (but descriptive), especially if you record a lot of macros, so you can easily identify them in the Macro Dialog Box. The system also provides a field for Description, though not everyone uses it.
Macro names must begin with a letter and cannot contain spaces, symbols, or punctuation marks. After the first letter, you can use more letters, numbers, or the underscore character, but the maximum length is 80 characters.
2. Use relative (not absolute) cell addresses
Absolute means that the exact cell locations are recorded into the macro—hardcoded cell addresses such as A6 or B12, which limits the macro’s ability to function if anything changes, new data is added/removed, or the list gets longer. Relative means the macro’s recorded keystrokes are relative to the starting cell’s location.
The default in Excel is Absolute, but you can change this to Relative on the Stop Recording toolbar:
Free Macro Recorder Windows 10
Click Developer>Record Macro.
- In the Record Macro dialog box, enter a macro name and Shortcut Key (if applicable). Choose Personal Macro Workbook in the Store Macro In box, enter a description (if desired), and click OK.
- The dialog box disappears, and the Record Macro button changes to a Stop Recording button. Click the Relative Reference button next—it turns dark green to indicate that it’s active.
- Enter your keystrokes, formulas, and so forth, then click the Stop Recording button and run your macro.
3. Always begin at Home
For Absolute reference macros, always begin in the Home position (cell A1)—with your cursor and your data. If you saved your macro in the Personal Macro Workbook (recommended), you can reuse this macro on other worksheets with similar data. Regardless of where your cursor is positioned when you begin recording the macro, even if it’s already located in cell A1, your first macro keystroke must be Ctrl+Home.
Example: Imagine that every month you receive dozens of spreadsheets from all your branch offices that you must first combine, then organize, and calculate to produce one monthly report. You can write a macro to perform all of these functions, including opening and combining all the worksheets into one combined spreadsheet. For this exercise, I’ll just address the final spreadsheet with the combined data.
- Create a new workbook in Excel (e.g., April Report). Your cursor is automatically located in the Home position (A1). Do not move it to accommodate titles, field headers, or anything else. It must be positioned in A1.
- Open the first branch workbook and copy the entire spreadsheet’s data (minus the column headers) to cell A1 in your April Report spreadsheet. The data begins in A1 and ends in G55.
- Open the second branch workbook and copy the entire spreadsheet’s data (minus the column headers) to cell A56 in your April Report spreadsheet. Continue this process until the data in all workbooks are copied into your April Report spreadsheet.
- If the other spreadsheets’ data contains formulas, choose Paste>Special>Values for your Paste options. Do not copy the formulas or the formats.
- Don’t worry about a worksheet title, column headers, or formatting (such as column widths, fonts, etc.) at this point. Just copy the data and run the macro.
- After the data is calculated, you can Insert Rows to add column headers, spreadsheet titles, and other information. Then you can format the column widths, change fonts, add attributes, and place borders or boxes if you'd like. (You can also create an additional macro to perform formatting tasks.)
4. Always navigate with directional keys
Use the directional keys (End-Down, Ctrl+Up, etc.) to position your cursor so you can add, change, or delete the data inside the spreadsheet as needed.
Using the mouse to navigate is more complicated and not as reliable. When it comes to macros, use the mouse only for selecting or clicking menu options.
5. Keep macros small and specific
Keep your macros small and specific to the tasks at hand. The bigger the macro, the slower it runs, especially if it’s required to perform many functions or calculate a lot of formulas in a large spreadsheet. Also, if you combine all the tasks into one long macro and it fails, it takes forever to locate the point of failure. If you run each macro separately, you can quickly review the results and verify accuracy.
In the April Report example, you wouldn't combine the calculation macro with the format macro. You'd use one macro to combine all the branch workbooks into one final spreadsheet, a second macro to calculate the data, a third macro to format the spreadsheet, a fourth macro to create charts, and perhaps a fifth macro to print.
If a macro fails, you can troubleshoot it by stepping through it one line at a time. It’s like slow motion, only you control each time the next event occurs using the F8 key. Click Developer>Macro, select your macro from the list, then click the Step Into button. Shrink the Code window down and place it on the bottom right side of the screen so you can see your spreadsheet behind it. Press F8 each time you want the macro to proceed to the next step. The macro stops when it reaches the error. You can then repair the error or record a new macro.
There are some instances where you need to repeat an action on your computer just to complete certain tasks. To avoid wasting your time and finish your tasks easily, all you need is a mouse and keyboard recorder that can do the job for you. Such recorders are also known as repeaters that have capabilities to record an action and then repeat it over again like a loop. You may still think that it’s a hard task to do. But by using the proper programs, anyone can do it without any hassle, and a perfect example of these tools are the ones shown along this post.
I. Best mouse and keyboard recorders for Windows
To automatically repeat a mouse action and record it, you can make use of a tool called Macro Toolworks. This is an automation program that provides its users to manage their tasks that require repetitive actions on all Windows devices. Most applications are supported by this tool which means you have a large scope of programs to work on. Aside from setting macro commands and macro triggers, this tool also supports macro recorder. This program also gives an option to share your files either by using a macro player or by generating it as an executable file.
To record your mouse along with your keyboard activity, just install and open this program, and simply click the “Record Macro” icon to trigger the recording function. Once activated, you can start with the actions that you wish to repeat. To end the recording, hit the stop button at the lower right part of the screen, and your macro recording will be saved instantly.
The next free mouse and keyboard recorder on our list is TinyTask. This is a light application with approximately 34KB in size. In spite of its size, this tool is powerful enough to record any actions that are done with your mouse and keyboard. Considered to be the latest macro recorder out there in the market, this app can do both macro recording and recording playback as well. Once you’ve finished capturing the movements that you want to capture, you can then save it or keep it in an executable form.
To record the activities from your mouse and keyboard with TinyTask, simply click the “Record” macroinstruction icon and start doing the movements that need to be recorded. When you’re done, just click the “Stop” button and then it can be saved.
Mini Mouse Macro
If you need a mouse and keyboard recorder that you can use instantly without installing anything then Mini Mouse Macro is the one for you. It is a portable macro recording application that can repeat the exact motions that are done when its recording function is on. Just like the programs above, this tool also has a minimal interface and it’s easy to use. So if you came across a game that requires a lot of repeating movements, you can try Mini Mouse Macro.
In order to capture macros with this program, simply download the program, open it up, and you’re ready to go. Click the “Record” button to capture the keyboard and mouse movement that you prefer. Once done, just hit the “Stop” button to end the recording.
Another macro recorder that can help you increase your productivity by saving your time with repetitive tasks is a tool called Perfect Automation. This tool features a launcher for recorded macros, a mouse and keyboard recorder, a scheduler, and a script editor. And what’s good about this app is that it has hundreds of pre-made scripts that you can get access to, and you can enhance them further using the built-in script editor as well.
It is easy to record mouse and keyboard with this program. Simply press the “Recorder” function, and your mouse and keyboard movements will be captured. Once done, you can end it by hitting the “Stop” button and your recorded macros will be saved instantly.
Do It Again
From the name itself, we can easily say that this program is made to do repetitive actions just like what a mouse and keyboard recorder does. With Do It Again app, you can record any macros from your keyboard and mouse, and then play it again whenever you want to. The process is direct, all you need is to create new tasks and all your mouse and keyboard actions will be captured simultaneously. Just hit the “Scroll Lock” to stop the recording process.
II. Top mouse and keyboard recorder for macOS
On the other hand, if you’re using macOS, the best way to record your keyboard and mouse movement macros is by using Automator. This is a built-in application for all Mac devices and there’s no need for additional software installation, simply access it from your Mac computer and then you can start recording.
To briefly understand how to record mouse and keyboard, simply open your Mac computer, search for Automator on your Spotlight and launch it. Then create a new “Workflow” and click the “Record” button afterward. Then every keystroke along with your mouse movements will be recorded right away.
Easy Macro Recorder
Murgaa Macro Recorder for Mac
Murgaa Macro Recorder for Mac is a good auto mouse and keyboard recorder. By using this tool, you can record all your keyboard actions and mouse movements. While recording, a preview of all the actions that you do will be shown in the Main window, giving you a hint of what actions are already done. Moreover, this program supports keyboard shortcuts and provides distinct sound alerts.
To save your mouse and keyboard movements on your Mac, simply open the program, click “Start Recording” to trigger the macro recording. Once you finished the recording, hit the “Stop” button to end it. You can also make use of the keyboard shortcuts that you’ve set before you start recording.
Alphaomega Keyboard and Mouse Recorder
The next Mac program that serves as a mouse and keyboard recorder is Alphaomega Keyboard and Mouse Recorder. Upon using the program, you will be given the opportunity to record keyboard keystrokes and mouse movements together with mouse clicks. It has a built-in player that allows you to play the recorded macro and rewind or forward the playback as you wish.
To capture your mouse and keyboard motions with this program, simply open it, then click the “Start” button to begin. Then the mouse and keyboard movements will be captured. Hit the “Stop” button to end it if you’re done. To keep the file, click the diskette-like icon to save the file on your local folder.
Jitbit Keyboard Recorder for Mac
Another tool for Mac users is Jitbit Keyboard Recorder for Mac. By using this recorder, you can capture all of the keystrokes that you want to record. Besides, there are some other things you can do with this program, including automation of any data entry tasks, repeating copy and paste works, and auto-fill the same forms. Simply click the “Record” button and it’s all set.
If you are a newbie and don’t want to be stressed with AppleScript, then the best way for you to record your mouse and keystrokes is by using Repeater. As its name implies, this program is created for repeating any actions that are made from mouse and keyboard. It can also playback any window movements along with scrolling and zooming.
There’s no need to understand scripts, to start your macro recording with this tool, just open it, and click the “Record” button at any time you prefer. Once done, hit the “Stop” button, and the macro that you’ve captured will be played back right away.
Those are the best mouse and keyboard recorders for both Windows and macOS. There are plenty of them to choose from, just select one recorder that suits your need. Whether it’s a work-related task or just for personal use like gaming, mouse and keyboard recorders also know as repeaters indeed that provide a decent help.