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: Running Macros in the Background.

Running Macros in the Background

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 14, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


1

When you run a macro in Excel, the program turns its full attention to completing the macro. (Sounds almost anthropomorphic, doesn't it?) This means that if the macro does quite a bit of heavy-duty processing of your data, it can seem as if your system has "locked up" during the processing of the macro.

Rest assured that the macro processing is only affecting Excel, however. You can open a different application and work within it while the macro chunks away in Excel in the background. Of course, the attention being paid to the macro by your system will probably slow down the response of the other program, but this depends on the version of Windows you are using on your system. The reason? Sharing of resources requires a process known as multitasking. Different versions of Windows handle multitasking in different ways.

You may wonder how you can do other work in Excel while the program is busy running a macro. Easy—just open another instance of Excel (run it again from your Start menu) and do some other work. All you need to do is make sure that you don't try to work on the same workbook (or workbooks) being utilized by the macros in your first instance of Excel.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2513) 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: Running Macros in the Background.

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. ...

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What is 3 + 5?

2023-10-14 06:05:43

Barry

"running macros in background" implies the User wanting to do things in the foreground. Running a macro in background implies a long execution time for a macro or the macro is continually doing something (often waiting for some User input or a time based event).The DOEVENTS, ONKEY, ON TIME functions are common functions that allow the user to do things in foreground whilst a macro is running in background (by running it could mean just waiting for something for an event). Irrespective of which methodology is used the macro must be written to be cognisant that the the User may be doing things that might conflict with what the macro wants to do, or the User may change things that the macro has just changed causing a conflict between user and macro. With these things in mind Ibve successfully put together several solutions that provide this facility. The trickiest is using the DOEVENTS (as opposed to the macro just waiting) as the macro is actively doing stuff the the background that can directly interfer with what the User may doing in foreground.


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