Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Recording a Macro.

Recording a Macro

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 24, 2017)


If you have a repetitive task that is a good candidate for a macro, you can use the macro recording capabilities of Excel to turn your actions into a macro. To record a macro, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Developer tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Record Macro tool. Excel displays the Record Macro dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Record Macro dialog box.

  4. In the Macro Name field, provide a name you want used for your macro. You can accept the default name, if you desire, but if you plan on using the macro more than once or twice, you will want to use a more descriptive name. The name you provide must not include any spaces.
  5. In the Description box you can provide an optional comment about your macro.
  6. Use the Store Macro In drop-down list to specify where you want the macro stored.
  7. Click OK.

Excel starts recording everything you do. The actions you take become steps in the macro, and will be repeated when you later execute the macro. When you have finished the steps you want recorded in your macro, again display the Developer tab of the ribbon and click the Stop Recording tool. (This tool is only available when you are actually recording your macro.) The macro is then saved and available for use at any time.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5683) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Recording a Macro.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 3 - 3?

2017-07-26 02:21:32


If you Google "record macro using relative cell references excel" you'll get several useful links and YouTube videos.

2017-07-25 22:35:36


@ Barry
Barry regarding the offsets you mentioned. I have a macro that puts a calendar into a word template. If I make even a minor change to the template it drops the calendar way off from where it should. I can fiddle with the offsets to get it to where it should be but it is often quicker to rebuild the macro and start again. Is there any link that explains how these offsets work? I could not find anything that is helpful.

2017-07-24 04:53:26


You've stumbled upon an issue with the macro recorder in that it hasn't kept pace with additions to Excels' functionality (although generally, VBA has).
It seems that Microsoft has forgotten to keep this updated with new features that it has added in recent releases of Excel.
Unfortunately, there isn't a way around this, and you'll just have to delve in the bowels of Excel VBA I'm afraid, and/or scour the internet forums for snippets of code/assistance. I suggest starting with the Excel VBA Object model, Google "excel vba chart object model" will give some useful links.

2017-07-24 04:38:47


When recording a macro the default Excel uses is to use absolute addressing. That if you move to Cell C5 the macro record just that. However, on the Developer Tab you can change the setting to "Use Relative References" which in the example above if the cell originally selected was A1 the macro would record the offset from cell A1 to cell C5. This means when the macro is re-run and the cell selected was B2, then cell D6 will be selected.

By judicious switching between absolute referencing and relative referencing you can get a better macro based result. I would recommend starting any macro with absolute (as you will never know where the selected cell is, then switch to relative and back as appropriate thereafter.

2015-07-08 08:06:48


Hi Allen,

Naive question. I do this all time, but in 2007 all I get are Activiate lines like:

ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate
ActiveSheet.ChartObjects("Chart 1").Activate

(the above formatted major gridlines and the minor Catergory gridline).

Is there a setting that will allow the parameters to be visible?


Mike Virostko

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