One of the many excellent session at this year's CIEP's conference was 'Macros for beginners', presented by Karen Cox, in which Karen introduced a selection of Paul Beverley's macros. Kate Sotejeff-Wilson reviews the session in this blog post and I know that the session inspired many people to see if using macros could help them, even though for many people this step can be daunting.
I'm a huge fan of macros and I use several of the macros described in the session and many of Paul's other macros (along with a few written by other people). When I encourage people to take the plunge into the world of macros (which, as my local CIEP group will tell you, is quite a frequent occurrence) I usually suggest starting off by trying a very simple macro of the kind that, once installed (see here for how to install a macro) and allocated to a keyboard shortcut, is used in the same way as more familiar keyboard shortcuts (such as CTRL-C and CTRL-V), and, importantly, can be undone using CTRL-Z! These small macros can perform functions such as toggling the case of the next word, swapping letters/characters or words, or typing frequently used words, eg 'that'. (If you use Paul's macros, these macros are called: CaseNextWord, SwapCharacters, SwapWords, TypeThat; other macros are available.)
Additionally, you can use Word's 'Record Macro' function (on the Developer tab) to create your own macros to help you with those repetitive tasks that crop up in your own work, but you can't find a macro to help with.
Recording your own macro sounds terrifying … but can be quite easy … and anything you create is easy to delete if it doesn't work. Sometimes, you can even edit them, but that doesn't always go too well!
One of the journals that I edit for requires all author names in the text to appear in small caps, so I recorded my own macro to change the selected text (ie the author name) to small caps. It's a silly little macro, but it saves me a couple of mouse clicks each time I use it. (I use it in combination with PerfectIt's* 'Phrases to look out for' where I have listed 'et al.' and 'colleagues' to help me find the author names).
If I accidentally select another word, I can undo what the macro has done using CTRL-Z. Undoing what a macro has done may well take a couple more clicks that you imagine as even simple macros often involve a couple of steps that your computer does so quickly that you don't notice them, but the important thing is that you can undo the macro's effects very quickly.
For the same journal, I recorded another macro to change '[disease name] patients' to 'patients with [disease name]' once I have I have selected the disease name in question The macro merely cuts the selected text, moves it forward one word, types 'with' and pastes the selected text. Again, it’s a trivial macro (all of seven lines long including titles etc), but it saves me a bit of typing every time I use it.
I will show you how I recorded this macro in the next post in the series: Macro baby steps part ii.
*PerfectIt is a Word Add-in made by the team at Intelligent Editing. It is one of my favourite Word tools – everyone should have it – and I will talk about it in a later post.
Andrea at Yours Truleigh Editing