One of the most unique features of Microsoft Excel is that it gives users the ability to create their own keyboard shortcuts called macros. Macros are essentially chunks of code that  can contain a variety of different formatting and functional commands. While the word “code” can sound intimidating to those who aren’t computer geeks, successfully creating safe, effective macros is a matter of a simple three-step set-up process. Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1: Activate the Developer Tab – The Developer Tab is essentially what enables Excel to receive coded instructions to create macros. To activate this feature, click File and select the Options tab. Under the dropdown menu, select Customize Ribbon and check the box next to the Developer field.

Step 2: Configure Macro Security – Click File and open Saftey and Privacy Settings. Set the Macro Security feature to disable macros with notifications. This will help to protect from viruses and malware that hackers disguise as warnings and alerts.

Step 3: Save Your Excel File as .XLSM This part is easy! When you save your Excel document under the Save As tab, simply select Excel Macro-Enabled File (.XLSM) as the file format.

Now you are ready to record whatever macros you need!

Just don’t forget, while macros can save you a lot of time their effects are irreversible. This means that if your macro deletes content, it can not be recovered. However, there are safeguards you can put in place to protect your document from unwanted deletions and other software hiccups.

For more of the good, the bad and the ugly of macros, be sure to check out Everyday Office’s comprehensive guide for “What to Know Before You Use Macros.”

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