6 Best Tools for Creating Automated Excel Workbooks

6 Best Tools for Creating Automated Excel Workbooks

Riley Walz

Riley Walz

Riley Walz

Mar 30, 2024

Mar 30, 2024

Mar 30, 2024

woman happily using Excel Automation Tools
woman happily using Excel Automation Tools

From automating repetitive tasks to enhancing data accuracy, Excel automation tools can improve your productivity significantly. With a range of Spreadsheet tips and tricks available, mastering these tools can empower you to handle vast volumes of data effortlessly. Including macros, VBA, and power query, these tools can streamline your workflow efficiently. Discovering the world of Excel automation tools can revolutionize the way you work with data in Excel. Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

What Is Excel's Automate Tab and How Can It Simplify Your Work

person sitting in cafe and working - Excel Automation Tools

The Automate tab in Excel is designed to streamline repetitive tasks and make workflow automation more accessible to users. The features found in this tab help users reduce the time associated with manual spreadsheet tasks and minimize the room for errors in your work. 

This tab was developed to simplify the work of Excel users, benefiting from pre-built automation templates and the ability to customize workflows to meet specific needs. The Automate tab is a valuable addition to Excel, perfect for users seeking to simplify their work while boosting productivity.

Key Features

The Automate tab in Excel provides a range of features to help simplify work processes. Users can access pre-built automation templates that include common tasks such as data entry, formatting, and report generation. These templates can be customized to meet specific requirements, allowing users to create tailored automated workflows. 

In addition to pre-built templates, Excel users can create custom workflows using the Power Automate desktop app, which integrates seamlessly with Excel. This feature offers endless possibilities for automation, allowing users to harness the full power of Excel Automation Tools.

Practical Examples

Imagine you are tasked with updating a monthly sales report. This involves collecting data from multiple sources, performing calculations, and generating charts to present the data. With the Automate tab's pre-built templates, you can set up an automated workflow to import data from various sources, perform calculations automatically, and generate charts with a single click. 

This can save you hours of manual work and ensure accuracy in your report. Another useful example could be automating data entry tasks, such as copying data from one sheet to another or updating information based on specific criteria.


The Automate tab in Excel offers numerous benefits to users looking to save time and increase productivity. By automating repetitive tasks, users can free up valuable time to focus on more critical aspects of their work. Automation also reduces errors by minimizing the need for manual input, improving the accuracy of your work. 

In addition, automating tasks can help streamline workflows, making it easier to collaborate with others and share information. Overall, using the Automate tab in Excel can lead to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and significant time savings for users.

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Six Essential Excel Automation Methods You Should Know

woman showing essential Excel Automation Tools

1. Macros and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)

These tools allow you to automate repetitive tasks by recording a series of actions and then replaying them with the click of a button. For more complex tasks, you can use VBA, a programming language that enables you to create custom functions and sophisticated procedures. This provides a powerful way to automate manual processes and increase efficiency in your spreadsheet management.

2. Formula-Based Automation

One of the most useful Excel features for automation is its rich array of formulas. Tools like VLOOKUP, INDEX MATCH, and conditional functions (IF, AND, OR) help you automate data analysis and calculations. By setting up formulas correctly, you can significantly reduce manual input and errors, making your spreadsheet management more efficient and accurate.

3. Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting is a handy automation tool in Excel that allows you to format cells based on specific conditions. This can help you highlight trends, outliers, or other important information in your data. The visual cues provided by conditional formatting help you quickly identify patterns and anomalies, improving the speed and accuracy of your data analysis.

4. Data Validation

Data validation is another automation tool in Excel that helps to ensure data integrity. By setting up data validation rules, you can restrict the type of data or values that users can enter into a cell. This not only helps to maintain data consistency but also minimizes errors caused by incorrect data entry, making your spreadsheet management more reliable and efficient.

5. Power Query

Power Query is a powerful tool that allows you to import, transform, and automate the processing of data from different sources into Excel. This simplifies the data preparation phase, making it easier to work with large datasets efficiently. By using Power Query, you can streamline the process of data extraction and transformation, saving time and effort in your spreadsheet management.

6. PivotTables and PivotCharts

PivotTables and PivotCharts are essential tools for automating data summarization and visualization in Excel. These tools enable you to create dynamic reports that help explore and interpret large datasets quickly. By using PivotTables and PivotCharts, you can automate the process of data analysis and reporting, making it easier to derive insights from your data and share them with others.

Leveraging Fortra's Automate for Advanced Excel Operations

Fortra's Automate is a powerful automation tool that streamlines repetitive tasks in Excel, allowing users to automate workflow and data processing efficiently. It offers a wide range of automation capabilities like automating complex workflows, manipulating data, and generating reports.

Automate's role in Excel automation is to simplify and optimize data manipulation and analysis tasks. By automating repetitive operations, users can save substantial time and effort, making it easier to handle large datasets and complex calculations. Automate can also be programmed to prompt users for inputs or conditions, enhancing customization and flexibility.

Advanced Features of Fortra's Automate

One of the standout features of Fortra's Automate is its robust integration capabilities with other software. Automate can interact with various applications like databases, web services, and other Microsoft Office products, enabling seamless data exchange and automation across platforms.

Automate is designed to handle complex data processing tasks with ease. It can automate the execution of intricate workflows, ensure data integrity, and generate accurate reports based on predefined criteria. Automate supports conditional logic and custom scripts, allowing users to create highly personalized automation processes.

6 Best Tools for Creating Automated Excel Workbooks

woman sitting outdoor and working - Excel Automation Tools

1. Numerous

Numerous is an AI-Powered tool that enables content marketers, Ecommerce businesses, and more to do tasks many times over through AI, like writing SEO blog posts, generating hashtags, mass categorizing products with sentiment analysis and classification, and many more things by simply dragging down a cell in a spreadsheet. 

With a simple prompt, Numerous returns any spreadsheet function, simple or complex, within seconds. The capabilities of Numerous are endless. It is versatile and can be used with Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Get started today with Numerous.ai so that you can make business decisions at scale using AI, in both Google Sheet and Microsoft Excel. 

Learn more about how you can 10x your marketing efforts with Numerous’s ChatGPT for spreadsheets tool.


AI-powered tool for various tasks like writing SEO blog posts, categorizing products, sentiment analysis, and much more. There aren't any limits with Numerous's tool.

Ease of Use

User-friendly interface and requires no understanding of Excel functions.


Free, with paid options.

2. Microsoft Power Automate


Provides a wide range of integrations with Microsoft products and other applications.

Ease of Use

Easy to use with a drag-and-drop interface.


Pricing varies based on the plan.

3. VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)


Offers powerful customization capabilities within Excel.

Ease of Use

Steeper learning curve due to programming requirements.


Free with Excel.

4. Zapier


Allows for automation between hundreds of different apps.

Ease of Use

Very user-friendly, no coding skills required.


Offers a free plan with limited features, paid plans also available.

5. Alteryx


More geared towards data processing and analytics tasks

Ease of Use

More complex than the previous options due to its analytics focus.


Paid software with different pricing tiers.

6. UiPath


Primarily used for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tasks.

Ease of Use

Requires programming skills for more complex tasks.


Enterprise-level solution, pricing available upon request.

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Complete Step-by-Step Guide On How To Use Numerous's Free Spreadsheet AI Tool (No Sign-Up, Unlimited)

Watch this guide on how to use ChatGPT within spreadsheets with Numerous to complete tasks at scale, like sentiment analysis, creating blog posts, getting SEO data for your business, and much more! Numerous works within Google Sheets, as well as Microsoft Excel:

Google Sheets Guide

Microsoft Excel Guide

How Can Beginners Start Automating Their Excel Work Effectively?

woman on bed working remotely - Excel Automation Tools

1. Record Macros

One simple way to begin automating Excel tasks is by recording macros. Macros are essentially scripts that store a sequence of user actions. When you record a macro, Excel records each step you take in the workbook. Once you end the macro recording, you can replay the macro with a single click. That way, you can automate repetitive tasks. 

For instance, you can record a macro for formatting cells or copying data from one sheet to another. The ‘Record Macro’ button is located on the ‘View’ tab in the Excel ribbon.

2. Use Excel Functions

Using Excel functions can save you time and energy. For instance, the VLOOKUP function allows you to search for a value in a table and return a corresponding value. If you often use certain functions, consider using them in a template or worksheet. You can also create custom functions using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)

3. Conditional Formatting

Conditional formatting can highlight important data points. With conditional formatting, you can quickly identify key information. For instance, you can use conditional formatting to highlight cells that contain data you need to review. You can set a cell’s formatting to change when certain conditions are met, for example, when a specific value is entered in the cell.

4. Automating Data Entry

If you frequently enter data into Excel, you can save time using Excel forms. Excel forms are user-friendly interfaces that create graphic representations of your data. Instead of typing data directly into a cell, you can enter the data in a form and click a button to enter the data into the Excel worksheet. To access forms, use the ‘Customize Quick Access Toolbar’ option to add the ‘Form’ command to the toolbar.

Learning Resource

Excel Exposure

A free online Excel training class for beginners that focuses on the basics of working with Excel.

Microsoft Excel Help Center

Microsoft’s official Excel help center offers tutorials for all skill levels.

Excel VBA Programming

An online course on Excel automation that covers VBA, macros, and data automation.

Excel Campus

A website with tutorials, tips, and tricks for Excel, including Excel automation techniques.

Common Pitfall

Ignoring Error Messages

If you’re new to Excel automation, you might not understand the error messages you receive. These messages provide valuable information about what went wrong with your macro or function. 

Not Testing Macros

Before you run a macro in a live Excel workbook, always make sure to test it on a copy of the workbook. This way, you can prevent accidental changes to the data in your workbook. 

Not Keeping It Simple

For beginners, it’s best to start with simple automation tasks. Complex projects can be overwhelming and discourage you from continuing to automate Excel tasks.

Make Decisions At Scale Through AI With Numerous AI’s Spreadsheet AI Tool

Numerous is an AI-powered tool that significantly enhances content marketers, Ecommerce businesses, and more, by streamlining tasks through AI. This unique tool simplifies tasks such as writing SEO blog posts, generating hashtags, mass categorizing products using sentiment analysis and classification, and more, by merely dragging down a cell in a spreadsheet. The possibilities with Numerous are limitless. 

It is a versatile tool that works seamlessly with Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. By leveraging the power of Numerous.ai, users can access any spreadsheet function, whether simple or complex, within seconds. This ingenious tool allows users to make business decisions at scale using AI, within both Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. 

Start utilizing Numerous AI’s spreadsheet AI tool today to efficiently make decisions and complete tasks at scale.

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