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How Do You Use Macro Express


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First, I much prefer this forum format.


Second, I've been a Macro Express user for quite a while, but I don't use if as much as I thought I would. Part of the problem is difficulty of programming macros. Even though I have written programs since they were on punch cards, I have lost my patience for debugging. A couple of macros I wrote worked okay for a while, but now that I have 3 monitors on my computer, the macros started to hiccup and it just hasn't been worth it to try to fix them.


I also have limited patience for remembering shortcut keys. I would really love to have a voice interface to my macros. I use Microsoft Voice Command on my IPAQ and it's amazing how well it works. Why can't my far more powerful desktop computer do the same things?


The question is, does anyone else have similar thoughts, and how do you use macros?





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Hey Richard,


You had the luxury of using punch cards when you learned to program? Cool! I hadda use paper tape... and program in 'machlang' -- machine language -- because it was too painful to use an assembler that punched out a symbol table, read that tape back in, punch out object code, read that back in to run your program, hehe.


Re shortcut keys, how about remembering one key which fires up a Macro Express menu? You can still have hotkeys for your various macros, but if you forget any of them just bring up the menu and get to them that way. I created a two-level menu which groups things in categories that are easy to remember. So if I want to summon my beetle (hehe don't ask), I press Ctrl+X for the menu, then B for the beetle submenu, then S for summon. Works great! No carbs too! :)


As far as voice triggering goes, I don't use it myself but I find it hard to believe that a quick search of the net wouldn't yield a few solutions for you. If you can get voice software that responds to your daughter's melodious "Hi Dad" by forcing a keypress or opening a program, you should then be able to easily get ME (as in Macro Express, not 'me', I have my own daughter ;)) to open your check register and transfer some money into her account.




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Hey Richard,


When I am writing Macros. I always first plan out everything I want to accomplish. I then do testing of pieces of code to see if Macro Express can actually do what I need it to do before implimenting all this work into the scripts.


Next while I am writing the macros I break it into several scripts. Instead of writing 1 huge script that would be 250 lines, I will do 5 seperate scripts that contain 50 lines.


Finally, if you put remarks throughout your coding it will help keep yourself organized, and then you can remember what you were doing.


I hardly ever use shortcut keys. I will generaly have one per macro file that just shows a menu.


Anyway, this is a few things I picked up from programming not only in Macro Express, but Javascript, and PHP.

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Hello Richard!


Your reasonings behind not using macros for many things is true throughout the industry. They are not difficult to make, but can be time consuming. And planning for maintenance in the future also takes time. It is "the" major objection to overcome when talking with a potential client about a macro project. Yes, they see the potential. Yes, they see the automation. Yes, the ROI is excellent, ... but.


But these objections are no different than those received from work targeted to be written in another language ... like Visual FoxPro. Macro Express has grown in its capabilities. Business wise, we treat it the same as any other high-end language. This comes across as a good thing to the potential client.


It is easier for companies to justify a large macro project than a small macro project. This too, is no different than justifying projects in other languages. Companies just seem to work that way. They can see the forest, but they cannot see the trees.


So, how do we use macros? We conscientiously began Professional Grade Macros by building standard, callable, universal, black-box functions. Sort of a library of external functions that can be used as built-in functions. These are used as building blocks to other, larger functions, which in turn are combined into fully functional macros. It's like a builder. They use the same 8x8x16 cement block in every building built. However, how those same blocks get strung together is the reason why the buildings all look different. This building-block approach is how we use macros. These same blocks of code can be used to build a single family home, or the world's tallest building. They can be used as effectively in small, single-task macros as well as large, multi-task projects.


I won't waste your time by listing all the different types of macro projects that we have worked on. But the diversity of Macro Express needs to be pointed out. It is a magical software package that is not limited to a particular software application, computer, task, or purpose. It is free to do what you want to do. To control what you want to control. To gather data from two different applications and wrap it up with a bow for you to look at while it goes off and does the next thing. Because Macro Express controls applications from the outside in the same manner as you control applications, the potential uses for this magical software package is limited only by what we fail to imagine.


Controlling a computer system by talking to it is fun and exciting. We've come a long way from those belt attached devices that cost thousands of dollars and recognized maybe 200 words ... on a good day (voice recognition devices have been used in the auto industry for years). I wish that I had the time to devote to creating a voice interface to control Macro Express. To build macro libraries. To debug. To test. I know that the software is available today. Right now. And I know it is inexpensive. That is what is so frustrating. When I do get a few moments to experiment, I use IBM's ViaVoice.


Enough of my ramblings ... everybody get back to work ... go out and build a macro ;)

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I progressed from paper tape to punched cards and then 8" floppies to write programs in assembly language. We have sure come a long way since then.


I too have limited patience remembering hotkeys. My solution is to dedicate a single hotkey to handle most of my macros. I happen to use F2. Using the Scope properties and 'If Window' commands, I can have F2 do specific things for each window in a given program. And F2 can do completely different things for other programs.


I also use F3 to enter passwords. So whenever I need to enter a password I just press the F3 key. Macro Express figures out which macro to run and that macro figures out which window is displayed. Then the password is entered.


I echo the advice from the other posters. I create a lot of 'No Activation' macros and use these inside my more complex macros. And I use the remark command to put comments in my macros including a comment box at the top of each macro that describes what it does and which variables are used and what they are used for. As my 'libarary' of macro functions increase, it gets easier to create complex macros.


About a year and a half ago I experimented with voice recognition with the idea of adding voice recognition to Macro Express. I was using a 1.7 GHz computer. I decided that the computer just didn't have quite enough power and I set the project aside. Now that I have a 3 GHz computer, I may try again.


There are several Macro Express customers who already use voice recognition software with Macro Express. It isn't as integrated as they would like but it is possible. Their advice? Use a high quality microphone in a quiet environment on a very powerful computer.

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Thanks to all.


I appreciate all the comments, which essentially reminded me of the discipline of programming. I am generally an extremely disciplined guy -- I built all four of my current computers.


As for the voice interface, I would have also expected the need for "a high quality microphone in a quiet environment on a very powerful computer." However, you all need to see Microsoft Voice Command at work. While driving my noisy truck with the radio on I can say a proper name to my Pocket PC and 95 times out of 100 it will pull up the correct record for the person I want to contact. That's with no training of the computer. The microphone is crap, the environment is the opposite of quiet and the computer decidedly unpowerful.


The fact that my high-end computer can't even come close to that is disappointing, but probably no more disappointing than the fact that it can't do the same thing as a TIVO I bought three years ago.


I'm not trying to complain. Just wondered if I was missing something out there.


Thanks again,





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  • 8 months later...
I hardly ever use shortcut keys. I will generaly have one per macro file that just shows a menu.

Macro menus;


I have not used these; but is this what most people do? - isn't it a bit bothersome?

Shortcut keys for me are used so often and so few in day to day work that I don't easily forget them?



PS - I missed kevin's note in this thread; I would have to re-organise everything to do that, but sounds worthwhile?

kevin's note

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