How to insert and run VBA code in Excel - tutorial for beginners

This is a short step-by-step tutorial for beginners showing how to add VBA code (Visual Basic for Applications code) to your Excel workbook and run this macro to solve your spreadsheet tasks.

Most people like me and you are not real Microsoft Office gurus. So, we may not know all specificities of calling this or that option, and we cannot tell the difference between VBA execution speed in Excel 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2010. We use Excel as a tool for processing our applied data.

Suppose you need to change your data in some way. You googled a lot and found a VBA macro that solves your task. However, your knowledge of VBA leaves much to be desired. Feel free to study this step-by-step guide to be able to use the code you found:

Insert VBA code to Excel Workbook

For this example, we are going to use a VBA macro to remove line breaks from the current worksheet.

  1. Open your workbook in Excel.
  2. Press Alt + F11 to open Visual Basic Editor (VBE).
    Excel Visual Basic Editor window
  3. Right-click on your workbook name in the "Project-VBAProject" pane (at the top left corner of the editor window) and select Insert -> Module from the context menu.
    Insert a new VBA module to the Excel workbook
  4. Copy the VBA code (from a web-page etc.) and paste it to the right pane of the VBA editor ("Module1" window).
    Paste the code to the VBA module

  5. Tip: Speed up macro execution

    If the code of your VBA macro does not contain the following lines in the beginning:

    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual

    Then add the following lines to get your macro to work faster (see the screenshots above):

    • To the very beginning of the code, after all code lines that start with Dim (if there are no "Dim" lines, then add them right after the Sub line):
      Application.ScreenUpdating = False
      Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
    • To the very of the code, before End Sub:
      Application.ScreenUpdating = True
      Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic

    These lines, as their names suggest, turn off screen refresh and recalculating the workbook's formulas before running the macro.

    After the code is executed, everything is turned back on. As a result, the performance is increased from 10% to 500% (aha, the macro works 5 times faster if it continuously manipulates the cells' contents).

  6. Save your workbook as "Excel macro-enabled workbook".

    Press Crl + S, then click the "No" button in the "The following features cannot be saved in macro-free workbook" warning dialog.
    The following features cannot be saved in macro-free workbook

    The "Save as" dialog will open. Choose "Excel macro-enabled workbook" from the "Save as type" drop-down list and click the Save button.
    Save your workbook as Excel macro-enabled workbook

  7. Press Alt + Q to close the Editor window and switch back to your workbook.

How to run VBA macros in Excel

When you want to run the VBA code that you added as described in the section above: press Alt+F8 to open the "Macro" dialog.

Then select the wanted macro from the "Macro Name" list and click the "Run" button.
Press Alt+F8 to run the VBA macro

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