The definition of the term macro is multi-layered. It is mainly used in connection with the development of software and the automation of certain - previously defined - sequences of commands of application programs. In both cases, a macro is generally understood to be a defined sequence of program or keyboard code. The word "macro" itself is derived from the Greek and means something like "wide" or "large".
In the development of programs one understands by a macro with a special name provided program pieces, which can be inserted as code sequences remaining the same arbitrarily often by "call" into a program. At the place of the macro call (= insertion point) only the name as well as possible parameters of the program piece to be inserted are indicated. The translator program makes with the help of a macro processor (also called preprocessor) a copy of the macro sequence, which exists as definition original (macro body) in a certain memory area, and integrates this at the intended place into the generated program. Macros are very important in assembler or C++rogramming, for example. They are less useful in object-oriented languages such as C++ and generally not possible in Java due to the lack of a preprocessor.
For the use of macros the shorter programs and the smaller error susceptibility speak, since the macro sequence is written only once. Disadvantageous is however by the code expansion the not efficient use of the memory requirement of a program with frequent use of the macro. Macros should be used also therefore only if they are indispensable.
In order to facilitate or also accelerate recurring work, the technology of the macros is used in connection with application programs such as the word processing, the spreadsheet or also from data base software. In the context of Microsoft Windows, the automation of the interface is called a macro. In this case, by means of the programming language Visual Basic for Applications( VBA), repeatedly occurring sequences of commands and operating steps are mapped in the form of interpretable program sequences.
And finally, the term "macro" is used in the application of CAD programs. It is used to describe a functionality that enables repetitive mechanical parts to be added to the drawing in a prefabricated form from a library.