Macro baby steps part iRead Now
One of the many excellent sessions at 2020 CIEP 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 than 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]'. I start by selecting the disease name in question and then I run the macro, which 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.
You're welcome, Karen.
This post made me realize I already use macros to some extent. It's those big scary ones I've steered away from like PronounAlyse and so on. But I have created my own macros in the past to quickly change italic to roman, for example. Looking forward to your next post!
Thanks, Amy! You are definitely a macro user! Now, you just need to keep an eye out for those jobs that feel repetitive and wonder if there might be something out there that can help, or if you can record something yourself.
Looking forward to future posts! Do you have a way to sign up for alerts to new posts?
Hi, Amy! I'd encourage you to give ProperNounAlyse a go (and other -Alyse macros). As the names imply, they don't actually change anything, just analyse your text and produce a report. I had a job for an academic author with dyslexia, and ProperNounAlyse threw up inconsistencies like Macdonald/MacDonald/McDonald, all of whom were the same person, along with Darley/Darnely/Darnley, and so on.
Thanks, Karen. I don't tend to work with a lot of names, but I'll keep this one in mind if I do. :)
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Andrea at Yours Truleigh Editing