How to Record a Macro in Excel A Step-by-Step Guide

August 24, 2023 3.0K views

In this article, we explore the power of Microsoft Excel's macros—a feature that automates repetitive tasks to enhance productivity. As users seek to save time and effort, we provide easy and quick methods to record and create macros in Excel. Empowering you with valuable insights, this guide unlocks the potential of macros, enabling you to streamline workflows and maximize your efficiency effortlessly.

Part 1. What is Macro in Excel? 

Macro in Excel

In Excel, a macro is a series of recorded or written instructions that automate repetitive tasks. It allows you to perform complex operations with a single click or keyboard shortcut. Macros are programmed using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a programming language specifically designed for automating tasks in Microsoft Office applications, including Excel.

With macros, you can automate tasks such as data entry, formatting, calculations, and data manipulation. Instead of manually repeating these actions, you can record the steps or write the code once and then run the macro whenever needed, saving time and reducing the chances of errors.

Part 2. How to Record a Macro in Excel?

Recording a macro in Excel lets you automate repetitive tasks effortlessly. With a few clicks, you can capture your actions and turn them into a reusable automation tool. Whether it's data formatting or formula application, recording macros saves time and minimizes errors. In this section, we'll show you the simple step-by-step process of recording a macro in Excel, allowing you to harness the power of automation with ease. Let's get started!

Step 1: Open Microsoft Excel and navigate to the "View" tab on the top toolbar.

View tab

Step 2: Click on "Macros" in the "View" tab, and then select "Record Macro."

select "Record Macro."

Step 3: In the "Record Macro" dialog box, provide a name for your macro and choose a shortcut key (optional) to trigger the macro.

the "Record Macro" dialog box

Step 4: Select where you want to store the macro. You can choose between "This Workbook" (available only in the current workbook) or "Personal Macro Workbook" (accessible across all workbooks).

Step 5: Optionally, you can enter a description for the macro to help you remember its purpose.

Step 6: Now, perform the actions you want to record in the macro. Excel will capture all the actions you perform during this recording phase.

Step 7: Once you have completed the actions, go back to the "View" tab and click on "Macros" and then "Stop Recording" to end the macro recording process.

"Stop Recording" to end the macro

Now your macro is ready to use! To run the recorded macro, simply press the shortcut key you assigned during the recording process, or you can access it from the "Macros" menu and select "Run."

Tip: When recording a macro, ensure you only perform the actions necessary for the task you want to automate. Unnecessary actions may lead to errors and inefficiencies in the macro.

Part 3. How to Run a Macro in Excel?

Once you've created a useful macro in Excel, running it is a simple process. Whether you recorded the macro or wrote VBA code, executing it requires just a click or keyboard shortcut. In this section, we'll walk you through the quick and easy steps of running a macro, enabling you to harness the power of automation in Excel effortlessly. Let's get started and make your tasks more efficient with the click of a button!

Method 1: Using a Shortcut Key

Running a macro in Excel can be as simple as pressing a shortcut key combination. In Method 1, we'll show you how to assign a shortcut key to your macro, making it quick and easy to execute whenever you need it. With just a few clicks to set up the shortcut, you'll be able to automate tasks and boost your productivity in Excel effortlessly.

Step 1: Open the Excel workbook containing the macro you want to run.

Step 2: Press the shortcut key that you assigned to the macro during the recording process. Excel will execute the recorded actions instantly.

Press the shortcut key

Method 2: Using the Macros Menu

In Method 2, we'll explore an alternative way to run a macro using the Macros menu. This method allows you to access and execute your recorded or written macros directly from the Excel interface. By following the step-by-step instructions, you'll master this straightforward approach and streamline your workflow by automating repetitive processes.

Step 1: Open the Excel workbook containing the macro.

Step 2: Navigate to the "View" tab on the top toolbar.

Step 3: Click on "Macros" in the "View" tab and select "View Macros" from the dropdown menu.

Macros" in the "View" tab

Step 4: In the "Macro" dialog box, choose the macro you want to run from the list.

Step 5: Click on "Run," and Excel will execute the actions recorded in the selected macro.

Click on "Run

Method 3: Using a Macro Button (Bonus Tip)

As a bonus tip, in Method 3, we'll show you how to take macro execution to the next level by creating a custom macro button. This handy button can be added to your Excel worksheet or toolbar, giving you instant access to your favorite macros with a single click. By following our simple guidelines, you'll be able to create a user-friendly Excel interface and maximize the efficiency of your macros.

Step 1: Open the Excel workbook containing the macro.

Step 2: Go to the "Developer" tab (If you don't have the Developer tab visible, you can enable it in Excel options).

the "Developer" tab

Step 3: In the "Developer" tab, click on "Insert" in the "Controls" group.

the "Controls" group

Step 4: Select "Button (ActiveX Control)" or "Button (Form Control)" depending on your Excel version.

Step 5: Draw the button on your worksheet.

Draw the button

Step 6: Assign the macro to the button by right-clicking it, selecting "Assign Macro," and choosing the desired macro from the list.

Assign the macro

Step 7: Click on the button you created, and Excel will run the assigned macro.

Part 4. Best Free Alternative to Microsoft Office——WPS Office

WPS Office logo

When it comes to a reliable and free alternative to Microsoft Office, WPS Office stands out as an exceptional choice. With WPS Office, users gain access to a comprehensive suite of productivity tools without any cost. The software boasts strong compatibility with various document formats, ensuring seamless interactions with Microsoft Office files and facilitating smooth collaboration.

To leverage the power of macros within WPS Office, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Download and install WPS Office from the official website at

WPS website

Step 2: Open the WPS Office application and create a new document.

WPS Sheets

Step 3: Navigate to the "View" tab on the top toolbar and click on "Macros."

Step 4: In the "Macros" menu, select "Record Macro" to begin the recording process.

WPS macro

Step 5: Perform the actions you want to automate within the document.

Step 6: After completing the desired actions, click on "Stop Recording" in the "Macros" menu to finalize the macro.

WPS macro button

Now, you can effortlessly execute the recorded macro within WPS Office, streamlining your tasks and boosting productivity.


Why is macro not working in Excel?

A macro may not work in Excel due to security settings, disabled macros, errors in the macro code, missing references, a corrupted workbook, conflicting add-ins, or incompatibility with the Excel version.

How long can I record a macro in Excel?

There is no specific maximum time limit for recording a macro in Excel. You can record a macro to automate tasks for as long as you need. However, it's essential to keep in mind that longer macros with numerous actions may take longer to run, impacting the overall performance of the workbook. To ensure optimal efficiency, focus on recording only the necessary actions required to automate the task, and avoid unnecessary or repetitive actions in the macro.


In conclusion, this article provided a comprehensive guide on how to record and run macros in Excel. Macros offer a powerful way to automate repetitive tasks and boost productivity. Additionally, WPS Office serves as an exceptional free alternative to Microsoft Office, enabling users to record macros and enjoy seamless document compatibility. Improve your Excel experience today with the efficiency of macros and the versatility of WPS Office.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.