Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Working while a Macro is Running.

Working while a Macro is Running

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 4, 2017)

Macros are great for doing the mundane (or not so mundane) processing that is often necessary with Excel data. After you start to use them, you may find that running macros can consume quite a bit of time. While you are running them, there is very little else that you can do, since Excel won't allow you to do any other work while the macro is chunking away.

The best way to do additional work is to open another instance of Excel. As you are working on one workbook in the foreground, the other instance of Excel continues to work away at the macro in the background. This approach works because Windows allows multiple instances of a program, each in its own workspace. The only thing you cannot do is work in the foreground on the same workbook which the macro is using.

In order to open a second instance of Excel, simply follow the steps you followed to open the first instance. For example, if you started Excel by calling up the Start menu and then the Programs submenu, you could do the same thing to open the second instance.

You should realize that the macro running in the background instance of Excel will be affected by you working on a different instance of Excel in the foreground. This, again, is related to how Windows treats different programs. On most systems, the background programs are given a smaller percentage of the CPU's attention than the foreground program.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2021) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Working while a Macro is Running.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing AutoText Entries

If you want to print a list of the AutoText entries on your system, you can do so quickly by making one change on the Print ...

Discover More

Clearing Only Filtering Settings

When you filter data in a worksheet, Excel also allows you to apply sorting orders to that data. Here is a behind-the-scenes ...

Discover More

Adding and Using a Combo Box

Combo boxes can be a great way of getting user input in a worksheet. Here's how to add a combo box to your worksheet and put ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Understanding the While...Wend Structure

Logical structures are important in programming, as they allow you to control how the programming statements are executed. ...

Discover More

Creating and Naming a Worksheet Using a Macro

You can use macros to make your common Excel tasks easier and faster. For instance, if you routinely need to create new ...

Discover More

Creating a Directory in a Macro

One of the things you can do with macros is to work with disk files. As you do so, you may have a need to create a new ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share