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How To Automate Excel Reports: Is It That Easy?

Domantas Alosevičius

Everyone needs Excel, everyone uses Excel. How to automate Excel reports to work for you? Well, there are quite a few ways to automate Excel reports.

How to automate excel reports?

Automating them can save you hours. In this guide, I will show you how to automate your Excel reports effectively and easily.

What is Excel automation?

What is Excel automation?

Excel automation uses various tools and techniques to make Excel work for you automatically. Instead of spending time on repetitive tasks like data entry, formatting, or calculations, you can set up Excel to do them for you.

There are a few different ways to automate tasks in Excel:

  • Macros: These are recorded sequences of actions that you can replay at any time. They’re great for repetitive tasks that involve multiple steps.
  • Power Query and Power Pivot: These are Excel’s business intelligence tools that can help you import, clean, and transform data from a variety of sources. You can use them to automate the process of creating reports and dashboards.
  • Office Scripts: This is a new feature in Excel that allows you to write short scripts to automate tasks. Scripts can be more powerful than macros, and they’re easier to share with other people.
  • Third-party automation software: Use tools like Zapier or Make to automate Excel reports.

Using Macros to automate Excel tasks

Using Macros to automate Excel tasks

Using macros to automate tasks in Excel can significantly improve efficiency, reduce errors, and save time. Here’s a guide on how to use this tool for automation in Excel:

What are Macros?

Macros: A macro is a sequence of instructions that automate repetitive tasks in Excel. Macros are recorded actions that you can play back to perform the same set of steps automatically.

How to run a macro?

  • VBA: Visual Basic for Applications is a programming language that allows you to write custom scripts to automate tasks in Excel. VBA provides more flexibility and power compared to macros.

Recording a Macro

  1. Open Excel and navigate to the worksheet where you want to record the macro.
  2. Enable the Developer Tab:
    • Go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon.
    • Check the Developer checkbox and click OK.
  3. Record a Macro:
    • Go to the Developer tab.
    • Click Record Macro.
    • In the Record Macro dialog box, give your macro a name (no spaces), assign a shortcut key if desired, and choose where to store the macro (This Workbook, New Workbook, or Personal Macro Workbook).
    • Click OK to start recording.
    • Perform the tasks you want to automate.
    • When done, go back to the Developer tab and click Stop Recording.

Running a Macro

  • To run the recorded macro, go to the Developer tab and click Macros.
  • Select the macro you want to run and click Run.

Office Scripts

You can effectively automate repetitive tasks in Excel using Office Scripts, making your workflow more efficient and productive.

What are office scripts?

What are office scripts?

Office Scripts is a feature in Microsoft Excel that allows users to automate repetitive tasks by recording actions and writing scripts using JavaScript. These scripts can be run within Excel or integrated with Power Automate for more complex automation scenarios.

Getting Started with Office Scripts

  1. Enable Office Scripts:
    • Make sure that Office Scripts are enabled in your Excel workbook. Go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Macro Settings, and enable the scripting options.
  2. Use the Action Recorder:
    • Record Actions: Open your Excel workbook, and navigate to the Automate tab. Click on Record Actions to start recording your actions in Excel. Perform the tasks you want to automate, such as editing cells, formatting tables, or creating charts. Click Stop Recording when you are done.
    • Save the Script: Name your script and save it. This will allow you to reuse the recorded actions in other workbooks or worksheets.
  3. Edit Scripts with the Code Editor:
    • Open the Code Editor: In the Automate tab, click on Code Editor. Here, you can see the script generated by the Action Recorder. You can edit the script to add more functionality, such as loops or conditional statements.
    • Customize the Script: Use the JavaScript API to customize your script. Add logic to handle different scenarios or automate additional tasks not captured by the Action Recorder.
  4. Run Scripts:
    • From the Automate Tab: To run a script, go to the Automate tab and click on the script you want to run from the list of available scripts.
    • Add a Button: You can also add a button to your Excel workbook that triggers the script. Go to Automate > Script Buttons > Add Button, select your script, and place the button in the desired location on your worksheet.
  5. Schedule Scripts with Power Automate:
    • Integrate with Power Automate: Open the script in the Code Editor, and navigate to Script Scheduling. Sign in to Power Automate and set up a flow that runs your script at specified intervals.
    • Create Flow: Define the schedule (e.g., daily, weekly) and create the flow. This ensures your script runs automatically, even when the workbook is closed.
  6. Share Office Scripts:
    • Share Scripts: You can share your scripts with others in your organization. In a shared workbook, anyone with access can view and run the script.

Automate Excel Spreadsheets: Make

What is Make?

Automate Excel Spreadsheets: Make

Make is a web-based platform that allows users to automate tasks and workflows between different applications without writing code. It’s designed to be easy to use, with a visual interface that lets you drag and drop elements to build automation.

How to automate Excel reports with Make?

To automate Excel reports using Make, follow these steps:

Step 1: Connect Microsoft 365 Excel to Make

  1. Create an Account: If you don’t have one, create an account at
  2. Log in to Make: Access your Make account and navigate to add a Microsoft 365 Excel module in a scenario.
  3. Add Connection:
    • In the scenario editor, click the Add button next to the Connection field.
    • Optionally, enter a name for the connection in the Connection name field.
    • Click Save.
    • Log in to your Microsoft account and confirm access when prompted.
Step 1: Connect Microsoft 365 Excel to Make

Step 2: Build Scenarios

After establishing the connection, you can build scenarios to automate various Excel tasks. Here are some actions you can perform:

  • Watch Worksheet Rows: Monitor changes or additions to rows in a worksheet.
  • List Worksheets: Get a list of all worksheets in a workbook.
  • List Worksheet Rows: Get a list of all rows in a worksheet.
  • Add a Worksheet: Create a new worksheet in a workbook.
  • Add a Worksheet Row: Add a new row to a worksheet.
  • Update a Worksheet Row: Modify an existing row in a worksheet.
  • Delete a Worksheet Row: Remove a row from a worksheet.

Step 3: Configure the Scenario

  1. Create a New Scenario: Start by creating a new scenario in Make.
  2. Add Excel Modules: Choose the appropriate modules based on the actions you want to perform (e.g., adding rows, updating tables).
  3. Set Up Triggers and Actions: Define triggers (e.g., new data entry) and actions (e.g., update Excel sheet) to automate your tasks.
  4. Map Data: Map data from one module to another as needed.
  5. Test the Scenario: Run the scenario to ensure it works as expected.
  6. Activate the Scenario: Once tested, activate the scenario to run automatically based on your defined schedule or triggers.

Automate Excel Spreadsheets: Zapier

There are quite a few ways to automate Excel reports with Zapier, and you can use many of the templates that Zapier provides, so I will explain a few key automation that you can easily set up.

What is Zapier?

What is Zapier?

Zapier is a web-based tool that helps you automate tasks by connecting the different web applications you already use. It’s a connector that lets these applications “talk” to each other, optimizing your workflow without the need for coding.

How to automate Excel reports with Zapier?

Automating Excel reports with Zapier can optimize your data management processes by connecting Excel to thousands of other applications, reducing manual tasks, and increasing efficiency. Here’s how to automate various Excel tasks with Zapier:

Example 1: Log Forms and Survey Submissions

To automatically log form submissions into Excel:

  • Example Apps: Typeform, Jotform, Gravity Forms, Wufoo, SurveyMonkey.
  • Automation: Set up a Zap to add a new row in Excel every time a form is submitted, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

Example Setup:

  1. Choose a Trigger app (e.g., Typeform) and event (new form submission).
  2. Choose an Action app (Microsoft Excel) and event (create a new row).
  3. Map form fields to Excel columns.

Example 2: Send Notifications for Important Updates

Keep your team updated without manual alerts:

  • Example Apps: Mailchimp, Gmail, Slack, Microsoft Outlook.
  • Automation: Set up Zaps to send notifications via email or Slack when new rows are added or updated in Excel.

Example Setup:

  1. Choose a Trigger app (Microsoft Excel) and event (new row).
  2. Choose an Action app (e.g., Slack) and event (send a channel message).
  3. Customize the message content to include relevant Excel data.

Example 3: Update Data Across Multiple Spreadsheets

Synchronize data between different spreadsheets:

  • Example Apps: Google Sheets.
  • Automation: Automatically copy new or updated rows between Excel and Google Sheets or other Excel files.

Example Setup:

  1. Choose a Trigger app (Microsoft Excel) and event (new row).
  2. Choose an Action app (Google Sheets) and event (create a new row).
  3. Map the data fields from Excel to Google Sheets.

Example 4: Sync New Leads in Real Time

Automatically add new leads from social media ads to Excel:

  • Example Apps: Facebook Lead Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads.
  • Automation: Add new leads to Excel in real-time to keep your sales data updated.

Example Setup:

  1. Choose a Trigger app (e.g., Facebook Lead Ads) and event (new lead).
  2. Choose an Action app (Microsoft Excel) and event (create a new row).
  3. Map lead details to the corresponding Excel columns.

Final thoughts

There are a lot of ways you can automate Excel reports so you will not go wrong choosing one of the provided ways, but some are more difficult than others. What is not used enough are automations with Make or Zapier, so I would highly recommend trying them out.

Hopefully from these short guides, you will have a better understanding of how to automate an Excel spreadsheet and it will help you to make your Excel report faster.

There are still many reporting processes that can be improved and I will go into more detail in a few other posts, so be on the lookout for them.


Domantas Alosevičius

Domantas Alosevičius

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