Macros, macros everywhere

Since July 18, I have been taking an online class in which I have been learning and studying the art of MS Word macros.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with macros, they are keyboard shortcuts that an editor can use in order to make their work go faster and more efficiently. Since my macros class has been going on, I have learned to download and run a great number of macros.

Some are speed-editing macros, which provide me with a way to perform common editing steps in less than a second. For example, a macro called CapperMax allows me to highlight a sentence, then press Alt+Shift+X, and voila! The sentence is capitalized in headline style. (I can undo this by running another macro, CapperMin [Alt+Shift+N], which lowercases words in the headline to put it in sentence style.) Another macro, NumberToText (Ctrl+Alt+N), will change a numeral to a text number, while TextToNumber (Ctrl+Alt+T) will change a text number to a numeral. These are very handy for a scientific editor like me. There are dozens more speed-editing macros, but I can’t possibly talk about all of them now.

There are also internet macros, which I love even more than the speed-editing macros. GoogleFetch allows me to put my cursor anywhere in a word, press Ctrl+Alt+G, and boom, a Google search page pops up on my screen with links for a search on that word. Similarly, MerriamFetch allows me to do the same thing with the Merriam-Webster free site by pressing Ctrl+Alt+M with my cursor inside the word that I want defined. In an optional intermediate class lesson, I created a macro called ChicagoFetch, which sends me right to the site for The Chicago Manual of Style (although I’m still working the kink out of that one, which is that once I reach the Chicago site, I am not logged in yet).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that all of the Word macros—thousands of them—were written and programmed by a gentleman in the UK named Paul Beverley, who gave our teacher, Jennifer Yankopulus, permission to use them in the class. I think that Mr. Beverley is an absolute genius and that Ms. Yankopulus is a great teacher.

This coming week (Week 3 in a six-week class), we will learn how to back up our macros. I am greatly looking forward to this lesson because I know from the class discussion forum that some students lost their macros when their computers updated, and so they had to reinstall them. How frustrating!

If you are an editor, do you use macros? What are your favorite ones?

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