Macros in Excel

updated: 12/1/2013

Macros provide an exceptional method to put little 'programs' into things like spreadsheets. They are easy to create and to modify. They can add tremendous functionality to an Excel spreadsheet. But because they are so easy to create, they are often the first stop for virus writing wanabees. You should be very careful before running any macro; think about whether it might be a virus. But if you are reading this because Pete sent you a spreadsheet, if it's from him, it is safe and they might *save you work!*

To use my macros, you don't need this, but if interested, I would highly recommend learning a little of programming with macros to any student with a mathematical / computer interest. Getting started doesn't take much. Modest instructions. Looking at existing macros is easy: Instructions are posted

To Enable Macros to run

Excel 2003 - Windows

The default installation does not allow you to enable macros. You must change the security level. From the Tools menu, select Macros, Security and change the level to Medium. Restart Excel, open this spreadsheet and select Enable Macos. They will then work.

Excel 2007 and 2010 - Windows

Excel 2007 has changed the enabling of Macros significantly. You can start them individually by opening the spreadsheet and then clicking on the Options button that is found to the rightof the Security Warning near the upper left corner of the screen (careful -it's faint and hard to see). Select 'Enable This Content'. If you are going to do it consistently, you can create a 'Trusted Location'. Excel will automatically enable macros on any file saved in that folder. To set this up, from the 'round button', select Excel Options / Trust Center. Read the Help file if necessary.


Excel 2004 - Macintosh

The default installation for Excel 2004 on Macs opens a dialog box and allows you to choose Enable Macros or not.

Excel 2008 and 2011 - Macintosh

Unfortunately, Microsoft did not support Visual Basic macros in Office 2008 on Macintosh computers. There is no way to make them work. But, Microsoft brought them back with Excel 2011. When you open the spreadsheet, it will give you an option to enable them.


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