Don’t mess up between Excel and Macro: Check AIDS

Dear MS Office (especially MS Excel) users’ Community,

Since last 14 years, after 900+ training programs across cities and states, one of the common elements I observed amongst participants is hunger of speedy solutions. There is nothing wrong. What goes wrong is approach to get it.

When I ask them what do they want to learn in MS PowerPoint, participants may say “Professional Presentation”, “Attractive Presentation”, “Creative slides development”, “Maximum information in Minimum slides” etc.

When I ask them what do they want to learn in MS Word, responses include “Auto Numbering”, “Easy formatting”, “Mail Merge”, etc.

But when I ask them what do they want to learn in MS Excel –90% of participants respond “Macro”. You can go back to my question and come back to response I received. I asked about “.... learn in Excel” and feedback is “Macro”. This is because of unawareness about clear difference between MS Excel and Macro.

Kindly note that Macro (in context of Excel) is a Visual Basic Programming language to which MS Excel supports. Macro is not any feature of Excel. It is just a tool that can be used in combination of Excel features. If your VB programming is apt, you can use it along with other Excel features to complete your tasks in seconds. However, if you don’t know Excel features only, do you think that you can be an efficient Excel user / programmer?

Have you ever wanted to learn Macro? Did a thought struck your mind – “Why learn so many formula? Why not to learn Macro and finish our tasks in just seconds? Instead of wasting a day in learning Excel formulas, why not to invest two or few days to learn Excel macro?”

In many technical courses including Engineering, diploma, masters, there are separate subjects of each coding language that run from semester to semester. Even after than hardly 10% students really master a skill. Do you think that after doing 2 days / weeks course, you will be able to code process in an apt manner?

Before you jump in to the decision about what to learn – Excel or Macro, let me tell you that first you should check your AIDS - Accountability, Identity, Deliverable and Speciality.


Are you accountable for developing a software program? If you don’t develop such program, are you going to be accountable for it?Your job is to get data processing done. You can suggest ideas but cannot waste time in developing whole system for it. Your role is to use system efficiently and not develop efficient system.


If a medical doctor or a construction supervisor invests his office timings in learning VB programming, his superior will definitely question him. There is nothing wrong in learning but after the office hours. Doctor is hired by hospital to provide medical services to patients and not technological solutions to organization. Person cannot afford to lose his identity just because of curiosity.


Are you going to score any points in appraisal for developing some program? Yes, you will be praised. However, if you have spent 20 hours in developing it and it is useful for you only (for your work), boss may consider these 20 hours as waste for organization (of course it depends upon your and boss’s relations also!). Let us say - your responsibility was to deliver certain consignment of 100 quantities. You justify incomplete supply because of your 20 hours’ investment in programming. Will company accept it? You will be penalized for it.


In most of the organizations, there is separate IT support department. One of their KPI’s include automation in IT processes. If you produce your requirements to them, they will be able to do it faster than you and in more efficient way. For getting such work done from available sources, both you – requirement producer and IT department – solution provider will be benefitted formally / informally, tangibly / intangibly. Now, both producer and provider will score higher points in their appraisal. Isn’t it a win – win situation?

With all this, I wish to say that Microsoft have invested millions in developing each application. First invest at least few months to know application of each feature of it. May be just to save few minutes whatever program you are writing; Excel already might have provided solution for it.
I don’t mean that you should not learn something for which “AIDS” is not applicable. Do it after office hours. Practice it sufficiently. Develop your program at home. Check it 10 times for all the possibilities. Then bring it to your office. You will really stand tall!
I hope this blog directs user appropriately for putting right foot forward.So, don’t mess up between Excel and Macro here after.

Dr. Ravi B. Achaliya
PhD (Efficiency Enhancement through MS Excel Training),
MBA (HR), BE (Mechanical), Graphologist (Handwriting Analyst)