Macro Recorder: Your Guide to a Free Tool to Automate Keyboard And Mouse Actions

macro recorder free tool automate mouse actions

Macros date back to the 1950s, and their essential purpose hasn’t changed since: save time by using programmable patterns to return preset outputs for specified inputs.

Though macros originated in the earliest days of computing, most users are likely familiar with them due to their popularity in programs like Microsoft Excel. The simplest macros enable users to automatically substitute text and insert shortcuts. Some of the more complex macros are key tools for programming in languages like Lisp.

UiPath offers a free macro recorder. The UiPath macro recorder can take care of your macro recording needs while also providing you an on-ramp into the rest of the UiPath platform, which you can use for graphic user interface (GUI), mainframe, and desktop automation.

How does a macro recorder work?

A macro recorder works in three steps: you record the process you wish to automate, edit the recorded process as necessary, and then playback the macro whenever you need it.

  • Record: after starting a recording, the macro recorder captures a series of mouse and key actions you complete.

  • Edit: once you’ve recorded the macro, you can edit its properties, values, and sequence.

  • Playback: macros are saved in your recorder so that you can use them later.

These three basic steps—record, edit, and playback—form the basic actions for every macro recording. With the UiPath macro recorder, you can do all three.

What can you record with a macro recorder?

A macro recorder can record all manner of mouse events and keyboard actions. Basically, you can replace any process you complete via scrolling, clicking, and typing with a macro.

There are three main types of macros:
  • Basic and desktop macros: these macros are the most common type. You use them to record most actions and processes in desktop applications.

  • Web macros: these macros are useful for recording and extracting data on web forms. The UiPath macro recorder is designed for all the requirements browsers and web apps have.

  • Citrix and other virtualized environments: these macros, which many macro recorders don’t support, are useful for recording actions and processes in virtual machines (VMs), virtual network computing (VNC), and Citrix environments.

Use cases for macro recording range from basic keying to exception-flagging:

  • Keying or screen scraping: with macros, you can automatically capture key actions and on-screen elements.

  • Starting or closing cases: with macros, you can start or close a case in a program like Salesforce, enabling sales employees to move faster.

  • Exception-flagging: with macros, you can automatically identify an exception to a process and flag it for review.

  • Making business rule-based decisions: though macros don’t incorporate artificial intelligence (AI), they can still make automatic decisions and complete automatic actions if business rules are clear and logically enforced.

  • Updating status field in a system: programs like Salesforce and SAP often require the filling in of a lot of data fields. But with macros, you can fill in and update status fields automatically.

Macros are a great on-ramp to more advanced automation use cases. If the automatic abilities of macros sound appealing, check out use cases for robotic process automation (RPA), which take advantage of technologies like optical character recognition (OCR) to capture and automate data and actions that macros can’t handle.

Macro recorder reviews

On G2, a popular site for software reviews, UiPath averages 4.5 stars out of 5 across more than 5,000 reviews. The free macro recorder feature comes up in many reviews.

  • Kabir A, a Tech Lead, writes in a 5-star review of UiPath that “the data handling and execution is faster as compared to application-specific macros.” Kabir A points to one of the major benefits of using the UiPath macro recorder: rather than being limited to what one recorder can do in one application, you can use the free UiPath macro recorder across different applications and environments.

  • Joana M, a Content Specialist, writes in a 4.5-star review of UiPath that it’s “very useful for several tasks that you must do every single day, and way more powerful than simple excel macros.” The free UiPath macro recorder is not only more powerful than most other macro recorders available, but it connects to a whole suite of other UiPath features and tools that make even the most complex automation easy to accomplish.

  • Fabio S, an IT Analyst, writes in a 5-star review of UiPath that “with UiPath RPA we develop several types of macros for mouse, keyboard, shortcuts, recordings, forms, matrices, and other structures. The tool optimizes time and improves [our] productivity.” Fabio S isn’t the only one reporting improved productivity. Paramount Residential Mortgage Group (PRMG), for instance, saved 40 hours of manual labor time each day by automating loan request processing and data entry.

  • Nikendra S, a Senior Developer, writes in a 4.5-star review of UiPath that “UiPath [has] Macro Recorders, a feature that will get you up to speed in process mapping.” Processes often get more complex than macros can handle. Editor's note: once you reach the limit of macros and macro recording, UiPath offers tools like UiPath Task Capture to aid in process mapping.

  • An insurance consultant writes in a 5-star review of UiPath that “I’ve always liked the macro recorder in Office, here I have the same for the whole system. It’s a good solution that saves a lot of time.”

Macro recorders are a great way to start with automation. And once you get used to it, you can use the UiPath platform to automate even more.

The reviews are in: the free UiPath macro recorder is a powerful, useful tool that can handle simple and complex situations, as well as give you a start on more complex RPA use cases.

How to record a macro

Recording a macro with the UiPath macro recorder is simple. All you need to do is start the recording, which brings up the macro recorder wizard, and use the macro recorder wizard to decide which actions to capture.

This video demonstrates how easy it is to record a macro.

A few highlights from the macro recorder tutorial:

  • The UiPath recorder wizard makes it simple to record an existing app, record a web app, or record an unopened app.

  • The UiPath macro recorder highlights actions that it can record.

  • You can edit the properties and values of your macro from inside the macro recorder.

  • You can test and debug the automation after you edit it.

As you can see, the UiPath macro recorder can do all the macro recording you need and is easy to learn and use.

A free macro recorder that has it all

The UiPath macro recorder can handle your simplest and most complex macro recording needs, and when you want to scale your automation, the UiPath Platform is there to help.

Want to try UiPath for yourself? Try UiPath for free.

Want to see UiPath in action? Contact our sales team to schedule a demo.

Bogdan Florea headshot
Bogdan Florea

Program Manager Learning Alliances, UiPath

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