1. Opening the developer tab

To get started with macros first you need to open the developer tab.

Open the developer tab

Getting the developer tab open

The developer tab is hidden by default in Excel. Unhiding it is easy. You should only need to do it once (e.g. after you install Excel or get a new computer). Your computer should remember that you’ve opened the developer tab and will leave it open from then.

Opening the developer tab

In the newer versions of Excel, find your Excel options (“File” “Options” for Excel 2010 and 2013).

Under “Customize Ribbon”, make sure there is a tick against “Developer” on the right hand side.

From now on your developer tab should stay showing.

If you are unsure how to open the developer tab, please click on the video below to see exactly what you need to do (“File” “Options” will get you started).

An overview of the developer tab

What’s the developer tab all about?

The developer tab gives you access to some extra functionality within Excel. You’ll have to ask Microsoft why it’s hidden by default, but we think the answer’s going to be something like this:

  • Your average Excel user’s not going to need what the developer tab has to offer.
  • The functionality within the developer tab is pretty ‘clunky’. It’s pretty hard to work out what’s going on. Looking at it probably immediately prompts more questions than it answers. If you were to measure “user friendliness” the whole thing may not be Microsoft’s finest moment and that could explain why they’re happy to keep it tucked away from all but the expert users who know how to unveil it.

We’re happy to help you work out what’s going on with the developer tab.

The “code” section of the developer tab

The first “Code” section of the developer tab is what we’re going to be using to record our first ever macro. That’s what we need next.

Other sections of the developer tab

The add-ins section gives you access to some extra functionality in Excel. If you click on “Add-ins” feel free to tick what’s there so you have that available to you – but you’d need to be a very specialist user of Excel to ever need to make use of it.

The controls section of the developer tab can be quite useful. It allows you to draw some extra control boxes or Excel forms which can help you run parts of your models. They can be used, for example, to automate and run your scenarios. We get you started on that here when we cover drop down boxes. If you get familiar with those controls you’ll find them remarkably similar to the choices you have available as you go on and build your own custom macro custom dialog boxes/ user forms – but that’s for later.

The XML section is used by people who are importing extra data into Excel e.g. from outside databases. Talk to your IT department if you think it might be relevant to you but it’s not used by anyone who is doing stand alone financial modelling. Sometimes it’s used by people who need to interface with internal management reporting systems and can’t get away with a straight copy and paste or quick data dump from somewhere else.

What next? Using the developer tab to record your first macro

We know you’re dying to keep going. In the next lesson we’re going to use the first “code” section of the developer tab – we are going to show you how to record a macro.

What’s this financial modelling course material all about?

You are looking at financial modelling course material covering macros.

199 comments so far:

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  1. straight to the point. I liked it.

  2. Brief and to the point introduction. Loved it.

  3. Interesting lesson

  4. Superb

  5. Worth of knowledge in MS Excel

  6. Interesting

  7. Thank you for the lesson

  8. lets see how it’s going…..just completed 1st lesson

  9. I have no comment to submit for the moment since it’s just the first course

  10. its interesting

  11. Nice one!

  12. Great start! hopefully, will learn something interesting in the next lesson.

  13. With what I have heard about macro, I hope it will meet my expectations.
    As a financial reporting manager, I want to spend less time preparing financial statements, analysing financial data for Board reports, preparing daily/weekly/monthly report to regulators.

  14. Waaaaaoooooo. I’m beginning to appreciate how interesting this program will be. I can’t wait to get more lesson on this.

  15. I am so happy because I found a great platform for learning VBA in easy method.

  16. Thank you so much the step by step of adding the developer tab on the ribbon go down well.
    now i know hod to add the developer tab on the excel book ribbion

  17. So easy felt like no work done at all!

  18. Good to go!

  19. OK. Now let’s get cracking !

  20. Good introduction feeling advanced

  21. This is just awesome

  22. Oh..so this is how easy its gona be…?
    when is the next lesson?

    • It’s coming to your inbox tomorrow Nemo! It will get harder, but yes we’ve tried to keep each lesson short and sweet. If you’re in a particular hurry, you can access all the lessons straight away here (for about the price of a beer): all Excel macro lessons. More is coming very soon!

  23. Wanting to learn more