Excel is a powerful tool for managing data and automating tasks, but it can be tedious to do everything by hand. In this post, we'll explore 12 ways to automate repetitive tasks in Excel. Moving away from manually executing them will save you time and energy, so you can focus on more important things.
To help you identify and automate manual tasks with Excel, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best insights. From invoicing to keyword collaboration, there are several manual tasks that can be made easy with Excel automation. Here are 12 tedious tasks to automate in Excel:
There are many manual tasks that can be eliminated (or at least greatly automated) by Excel Automation. In general, any mundane, repetitive task that can be automated via macro recording, cell formulas, custom functions, or VBA programming can save you a lot of time and increase efficiency, so it's definitely worth the upfront effort to set up such a system. For example, if you have a large number of monthly invoices that need to be entered into a spreadsheet, you can create an Excel formula that automatically enters all the data for you.
The setup process might seem annoying and difficult, but there are many guides online on how to do it, and let's be frank once you set it up, you'll be more than glad you did.
Peter Bryla, ResumeLab
Repeated Data Input
Date tracking and calculations are an example of frequently processed data. The great convenience of Excel automation is its ability to autofill fields based on the trends, such as continuing progressive dates down a column or adding up numbers. Manually filling in fields such as order numbers, dates, and calculating values for set periods can be tedious and time-consuming. Excel allows you to easily drag and copy or drag and add up consecutive fields to save you that legwork. Excel is great for shortcutting data input.
Brett Estep, Insured Nomads
One manual task that can be eliminated by excel automation is sorting data. Excel can automatically sort data based on a variety of criteria, including alphabetically, numerically, or date-based. This can save time and energy for employees who would otherwise have to manually sort through data.
Ilija Sekulov, Mailbutler
Identifying Top Sales Performers On Your Team
Excel automation can make assessing the top performers on your team a simple process. Through formulas, which can color code the highest numbers in a set, automation can simplify even complicated sets of data. Through cloud sharing, others can input their own values, giving the whole team an accurate and up-to-date readout of how sales are stacking up in any quarter.
Rob Bartlett, WTFast
Generating PDF Documents
One manual task that can be eliminated by excel automation is generating PDFs. If you have a business that needs to produce PDFs of various documents for their customers, then you know how time-consuming and tedious this process can be. It's also a great opportunity for errors to slip through the cracks, which means wasted resources and lost time. Excel automation will help you automate the generation of these documents so they're always done right and on time.
Shaun Connell, Connell Media
Producing Simple Reports
One manual task that Excel automation eliminates is simple reports. Once data is entered into a spreadsheet, the pivot table automatically summarizes it when clicked on. The pivot table can also split the data into different categories or data sums. Additionally, utilizing the slicers in Excel can make this process even easier.
Sasha Ramani, MPOWER Financing
Compiling Employee Working Hours
One manual task that can be eliminated by Excel automation is calculating all the hours worked in a week across the company. With Excel's automated functions, you can create a template that populates the hours worked throughout the week and then calculates an average. Using this calculated average, you can then multiply it by the number of employees in your company. This will give you a rough idea of how many hours are being worked across your company per week.
Ammad Asif, Stream Digitally
Sending Out Emails
A manual task that you can eliminate by excel automation is sending out emails. When you’re on excel and need to send a document you have to click out of excel, open up your email and draft a message, then go back to excel to download the doc, then back to your email to upload it, and then you can finally send it. This all takes time and effort and it’s just one email with one attachment. A huge plus of excel automation is cutting out this extra time and effort and sending your email straight from excel. This is such a handy tool when you’re facing a day full of emails and attached documents and never enough time.
Staci Brinkman, Sips by
Updating Workbooks and Sheets
You can prevent re-entering data by linking numerous workbooks with your excel sheet and the task is completely automated. There is a slew of options open to you in this regard that you can use. Alternatively, you may just copy and paste the data from another table into a new worksheet. The INDIRECT function can also be used to refer to another worksheet or workbook.
robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen, Formula Swiss
Organizing and Sending Employee Reminder Emails
For all the various monthly, weekly, and daily reminder emails that administrators send to employees, it's easy to get bogged down in the manual copy/paste workflow.
Organizing your employees into spreadsheet tabs based on the kind of reminder is a good way to opt people in or out for "Make sure to submit your timesheets", "Get your expense reports in by Friday", and "Complete your quarterly MVP nominations" types of emails. A few simple automation scripts (no-code or with code) can take 100s of emails and get the reminders out automatically.
This workflow is easier done with Google Sheets, given its close integration with Gmail via Google Workspace.
Trevor Ewen, Southport Technology Group
Tackling Accounting Calculations
There is no earthly reason in this day and age for someone to sit at a desk adding up figures with a calculator. Excel formulas make it easy to do even complicated mathematical work, such as calculating interest, depreciation, and any number of calculations that in the past would have taken up hours. For your accounting purposes, there is no reason why you should not set up some highly functional Excel spreadsheets in order to keep track of your financial data. Say goodbye to that calculator.
Marcus Hutsen, Patriot Coolers
Keyword Collaboration for SEO Teams
Keyword collaboration is challenging for most SEO teams using different software to research, track use, and review keywords. The work becomes cumbersome and may affect the ROI of your SEO efforts. Excel enables you to automate this SEO function for your team. Additionally, using Excel to track your keywords lets you easily know which of your targeted keywords are becoming redundant and negatively affecting your campaign.
Mehtab Ahmed, LoansJury