Macclesfield were unsettled by injuries to Ricky Sappleton and Hamza Bencherif in the opening half hour, and they were still adjusting to those enforced changes when Rochdale took the lead. Chris O'Grady cut into the area from the right and his driven pass across the face of goal was converted by on-loan Hull youngster Will Atkinson with 30 minutes gone.
Jon Brain then pulled off a fine save to deny Kallum Higginbotham but the hosts doubled their advantage three minutes later when Colin Daniels cut out Higginbotham's pass to O'Grady, only for the ball to land invitingly for Scott Wiseman, who converted from 10 yards.
The visitors' best effort came from Daniels, when his curling attempt deflected inches wide of the upright with goalkeeper Tom Heaton beaten.
Rochdale added a third in time added on when Jason Taylor converted Atkinson's cross from close range.