Difference between Macro and Subroutine

Macros and subroutines are two important concepts in computer programming.

The main difference is that macros are used to perform tasks quickly and efficiently while subroutines are used to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable parts.

Before we move to the differences, let’s understand what are Macro and Subroutine:

  • Macro: A macro is a set of instructions that are stored in a computer program and can be executed with a single command. It is used to perform a series of actions automatically, saving time and effort for the programmer.
  • Subroutine: A subroutine is a smaller section of a larger program that performs a specific task. It can be called upon by the main program whenever it is needed, making it easier to organize and manage the code.

Macro vs Subroutine

Now, let’s move to Macro vs Subroutine:

Major differences between Macro and Subroutine

Macro Subroutine
Macros are usually written in the same programming language as the main program. Subroutines can be written in a different language.
Macros are executed directly by the computer. Subroutines must be called upon by the main program.
Macros are typically used for simple tasks. Subroutines are used for more complex tasks.
Macros are defined within the main program. Subroutines are defined in a separate location.
Macros are expanded at compile time. Subroutines are executed at runtime.


That’s it.

Note that sometimes, the question might also be asked as “distinguish between Macro and Subroutine”.

Also see:

Final words

Macros and subroutines are both important tools in computer programming, but they serve different purposes. Macros are used for quick and efficient tasks, while subroutines are used to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable parts.

Understanding the differences between these two concepts can help programmers write more efficient and effective code.

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