I know what you’re thinking. "I didn’t get a degree in accounting just to become a
programming geek. Next!" And I don’t blame you. In the user’s manual for the very
firstcommercial release of Lotus 1-2-3, a section was headed in big bold letters:
Advanced Topic: Do You Sincerely Want To Be a Programmer? I thought to
myself, "No, I sincerely want to get this stupidchart to print," and I moved on.
But that section, which talked about programming in Lotus, turned out to be
prescient. Lots of people did want to learn how to program in 1-2-3, to get it to dothings that its developers never anticipated. One result was a flood of malicious
macros that people would hide in 1-2-3 files, and later in Excel workbooks, that
would do things like erase files fromhard disks when you opened them. I wrote one
myself. I didn’t stop at erasing files. The nasty macro I wrote conned the user into
reformatting her C: drive.
(A macro, in the context of anapplication like Excel or Word, is a program
that’s usually written by a user and that we all hope is a benign way to extend the
That sort of thing caused companies like Microsoft to checkfor the presence of
a macro or macros — and warn you — before it permits a file to fully open.
Nevertheless, if you’re alerted that a file you’re opening contains macros, the best
advice is not toopen it unless you’re certain of where it came from and that you
trust the source.
Of course, you’re a potential source, and I assume that you have good reason to
trust yourself. So, why not writeyour own macros? It is true that they can save you
time and make your life easier.
One reason not to write macros is that you sincerely don’t want to be a programmer.
Okay: you can get Excel towrite them for you. Then, your role is limited
to running them and saving time. Here’s how:
Recording a Macro
Suppose that whenever you arrive at a particular customer’s site, you open several...