What Does Macro Mean?

A macro is an automated input sequence that imitates keystrokes or mouse actions. A macro is typically used to replace a repetitive series of keyboard and mouse actions and used often in spreadsheets and word processing applications like MS Excel and MS Word.


The file extension of a macro is commonly .MAC.

The concept of macros is also well-known among MMORPG gamers (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialists. In the world of programming, macros are programming scripts used by developers to re-use code.

The term macro stands for “macro-instruction” (long instruction).

Techopedia Explains Macro

By running a macro, users are able to trim down time that is normally consumed by repetitive tasks. Some macros, like the ones in MS Excel, may also contain functions. An Excel macro is typically created by recording a sequence of keyboard and mouse actions using the Macro Recorder. It can also be created using Visual Basic (because even a recorded macro is made up of Visual Basic code).

A stored macro can then be accessed from a menu list or from the toolbar and run by simply clicking. You can also assign a hotkey to the macro for even faster access. Since macros can be called automatically as soon as a digital document is loaded, they have been employed by malicious individuals for creating macro viruses.

Macros in video games

Macros have been widely popularized in video games by massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) since the introduction of Ultima Online in 1997. Originally, they were used to let the character perform repetitive actions in order to train certain in-game skills while the player was away from keyboard.

However, in later years, macros have been used as keyboard or mouse shortcuts in other games. Instead of clicking several keys in a given order to activate an ability, a macro could be used to perform that action with a single button. In some games such as Fortnite or other first person shooter (FPS) games where time is of the essence, using macros is often regarded as a form of cheating, especially in competitive gaming. In fact, they could be exploited to infallibly perform actions that are otherwise too complex for a human to complete in a split second.

Macros in SEO

Macros are also used by SEO specialists to carry out repetitive tasks automatically. For example, they’re used to format content that is regularly uploaded to a website, such as event dates, weekly reminders, and so forth. They are also used to automatically update Excel spreadsheets, or send out regular emails to partner websites for link placement and exchange purposes.

Macros in Computer Programming

In computer programming, macros are pieces of code that are given a name. Every time that name is used, the content of the macro is executed. They can resemble either objects or well as function calls.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…