Excel automation is the process of automating tasks in Microsoft Excel that would otherwise be manual. These tasks could be as basic as formatting cells or inserting formulas, or could be more advanced ones such as cleaning larger data sources. The possibilities that exist when you master the art of Excel automation processes are quite literally, endless.
Almost all Excel manual operations can be automated:
- Data manipulation
- Integrating Excel with other data sources
- Generating emails using Excel data
- Creating reports, summaries and aggregates
The three main ways to automate Excel reports and tasks:
These are sequences of actions that have been recorded, which can then be re-used. Macros are either user-generated or downloaded. Knowing how to create a macro in Excel is useful particularly when it comes to others who may not be familiar with the process, where a simple button can be added to a spreadsheet which causes the macro to run.
Visual Basic for Applications, VBA for short, is the programming language built into all Microsoft Office products. Macros are saved in VBA and can be edited in the VBA Editor. But you can write your own code from scratch.
These are third party programs which can be downloaded and subsequently connected to Excel. Add-ins, sometimes referred to as ‘plug-ins’ can be created in VBA or in any other programming languages.
Benefits of Excel Automation
There are fewer hours spent on manual tasks. Instead, recurring and repetitive tasks such as creating reports in Excel or exporting charts to external programs, all of which can feel repetitive, can be automated. This frees up time for work that is of a higher priority.
- Reduction of errors
By automating tasks, you eliminate the inevitable human error element from processing data across Excel and other programs. Automating these processes ensures your tasks are done without any mistakes or inaccuracies.
- Other Microsoft applications can be integrated
Excel can be integrated with other Microsoft applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Access and Outlook.
- Money-saving alternative
Many companies don’t prioritise automating Excel. Small businesses and NPOs might not have the capacity or resources to hire full time developers in their organisations, hence why using Excel automation software would improve their productivity.
The staff in your business might know how to use Excel, and will have likely used it at some point. If you don’t have the resources to train your staff in the art of mastering Excel, automation will reduce the need for this.
We have plenty of experience in Excel automation, having worked with companies in various industries and developed comprehensive automation solutions which have all led to increased productivity, better decision-making and less manual work.
If this is of interest to you, please see how we can help with your training and consultancy needs.