What does JFK have to do with using macros on MSWORD? Nothing really. But I read recently that to make your blog posts fun and interesting you need pictures, if not infographics or videos. Well short of shooting a video of myself making a macro ( Hey, there’s an idea!) I thought I’d put up these photos I found recently in my deceased father’s slides that he took the day John Kennedy died. They also provide a bit of foreshadowing of my next post, possibly called, What I found in My Father’s Slides.
But for now, about macros. Yes I looked at the Macros button in the View menu for years, telling myself I had no use for it, and no idea what it did. It sounded hard. Out of my league. Too hard for me.
I don’t remember what finally demystified Macros for me, but I’m here to do the same for you.
You know that list of “bad” words writers keep. All of the “to be” verbs: are, is, were, etc. All of the words that take you out of a deep point of view: thought, wondered, knew etc. And then there are your own private problem words. (A couple of my worst are “really” and “just”.)
Yes you could enter them each separately in Find and Replace, (which I will go into in a moment) and highlight each one separately every time you reach that stage of editing, or you could take the same amount of time as doing it once, and make a macro. Think of a macro as a short cut – two or three keystrokes that do the work of countless. Sound good? Let’s do it then. Just follow along.
Making Editing Macros in MSWORD
1/ Have your list of words to find ready and your manuscript open at the beginning. I put different kinds of problem words in different macros.
2/ Make sure your highlighting function is on in the colour you want. (Alt h, i, then pick a colour) You could pick a different colour for each macro if you want to get fancy. I just pick yellow.
3/ Go to View, click on Macros, then Record Macro.
4/ Name the macro. I use Edit 1, Edit2, etc. You don’t need to assign a button or key for something you only do once per ms. In the description box you can put the words in your first list if you wish.
5/ When you click ok, you are recording your macro, so go through the steps of whatever you want the macro to do when activated. In this case: (Here is the Find and Replace function.)
• Control f to open Find. Type in your word, say there
• Alt p to open Replace function
• In the Replace line type in the same word, because you only want to find it, not really replace it. Be careful not to add extra spaces before or after or you will get extra spaces you don’t want in your ms.
• With the cursor on the Replace line, click on More, then Format, then Highlight, then I also click on bold.
• Then click Alt a, for Replace All, and it will run through your manuscript and replace “there” with “there” bold and highlighted in yellow in every case. (If it turns out wrong, turn off the Macro, use Ctrl z to undo the whole thing, and start again typing in the right word this time. I’ve done it myself.)
• Now you can replace the word in your Find line with the next word in your list, it is. Put it is (no italics) in the Replace line, push Alt a, and they will all be highlighted and bold.
• Repeat with each of your other words.
• When you are finished your list, click Macro, then Stop Macro. Now your first macro is ready.
To use it,
• Open a document you want to edit
• Go to View, Macros, View macros, click on your macro (Edit1) and Run. It should run through your manuscript highlighting and bolding your whole list of words in just a few seconds.
• All of the Find rules apply. For example, to find ‘in’ as a single word, not every time the two letters appear inside another word, type space in space, in the Find and Replace lines.
Try it. It’s easy and will save you time with every MS.
If you think of other ways to use macros, please let me know.
Until next time.