RPA Vs. Macros


Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) is changing the future of work across enterprises. Also known as “digital labor”, this tool for automation is used to replace mundane office tasks and liberate employees for higher-value tasks. Enterprises are adopting RPA to cut costs, increase efficiency and employee satisfaction as well as resolve labor shortage issues. With such benefits, businesses are embracing RPA as a requirement for doing business.

However, automation is not exactly new. Most users are familiar with macros and scripts in programming. Macros in Excel are the most common way people think about the beginning of automation. While both tools perform programmed actions and have similar results, there are distinct differences between RPA and macros.

What is RPA?

RPA is a system that uses robots to improve the efficiency of a task. Historically, RPA has been used for mundane and redundant tasks that require zero human intelligence and zero creative input to execute. Tasks such as:

– Paperwork

– Record keeping

– Payroll

– Data entry

– Scraping of data

As a result of automating these tasks, the way a business operates changes. Robots never get tired or make mistakes leading to increased efficiency and revenues. The business can scale as employees who have been freed from mundane tasks find ways to innovate.

Functionality Between RPA And Macros

Macros have similar features to RPA. Like RPA, macros are convenient. At the push of a button, macros execute tasks and increase productivity for a range of tasks. Like RPA, macros can create:

– tables

– tabulate data

– record actions

Essentially, either tool can be used to manage data quickly.

Functionality Differences Between RPA And Macros

RPA is a platform that uses RPA bots to automate similar activities that employees do when using Excel spreadsheets. Comparatively, Excel is a data management tool that is used to manage data for a variety of business purposes.

Level Of Automation

RPA: Enterprise-level automation

Macro: Personal automation

Level Of Administration

RPA: Easy administration

Macro: Manual macros administration

Software Integration

RPA: Adaptable to any software

Macro: Designed to work within one platform

Implementation Speed

RPA: Average implementation speed

Macro: Quick implementation but requires constant modification


RPA: RPA is fully automated. It decreases the probability of human error in completing mundane tasks and runs automatically. 

Macros: Macros are partially automated. Macros require some programming skills to automate and execute basic computing chores saving users time for higher value add tasks. Because macros require programming, they can be altered by a few select individuals. In contrast, RPA can be altered by the person at hand in the task making it more flexible and empowering to use for employees.

Application Integration

RPA: RPA Can be Linked To Other Applications.

Macros: Macros Can’t Be Linked Outside of Microsoft office. It is difficult to connect macros with applications outside of the Microsoft Office suite. Therefore, RPA enables businesses to automate a broader range of tasks within a particular workflow.


Automation supports human capabilities in the workplace. Soon enough all enterprises around the world will adapt to automation and become smarter in the way they allocate human intelligence. Macros became popular in the workplace with the Microsoft Office suite and require programming to manage data. RPA is a more recent automation development that creates a digital workforce to enhance productivity.

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