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Google Sheets now supports one of its biggest missing features as part of an update announced today: macros. These short snippets of code allow users to program and complete repetitive tasks on data stored in a spreadsheet, in a manner that retains the service’s multi-user cloud backbone.

The new feature will allow users to record certain work processes, then replay that work as many times as they want to apply consistent processes to company data. All macros are written in Google Apps Script, a variant of JavaScript designed to extend the tech titan’s applications.

Macro programming, sharing, delivery, and execution has been a thorn in the side of the Sheets team for years, since Google didn’t want to replicate Microsoft’s model of locally deploying and running snippets of code. Excel’s model is incredibly powerful, but also a massive security risk for customers.

Multiple people can run Apps Script macros in the same file at the same time without interrupting one another, and the code isn’t supposed to require deep access to customer computers that might open them to security breaches.


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It’s unclear at this point how easy it would be for Excel users to migrate their existing macros to Google Sheets, since the two are written in different languages. But bringing the two applications closer to parity will make Sheets more attractive to enterprise users who rely on macros to get their job done at a time when Google Cloud is trying to woo more large business customers.

Macro support comes as part of a larger set of updates, which also include new chart types and support for more varied print formatting.

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