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Shortkeys do work not reliable


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I may be one of the few who extensively use the shortkey activation to create autotextfunctionality. So those macros are always global and consists mainly of texttype commands. Sometimes i use TABs also for jumping to another textfield in emails etc.

 

However often nothing happens or just a part of the text is pasted. Results can be described as random. I waited long before posting this as i was searching for conditions when this happens. Unfortunatley i could not find any.

 

All i found out is that Text Type commands with "Simulate Keystrokes" are working much better than with "Use Clipboard". But those are not suitable for a longer text.

 

The attached example (Shortkey is shky) for a mail should paste an email adress in the To-field jump than to the subjectfield paste one there, than go to emailtext and paste it there. So you should start it in Outlook in the To-field of a new email. I already slowed the macro down with delay commands etc.

 

What actual happens is:

In Outlook only the emailadress and the subject is pasted. At least most of the time. In Word (for reference) everything works fine. If you try the example try it minimum 5 times. On my systems it works roughly 30%.

 

Has anybody made a similar experience? BTW i use Suffix Keys, so the macro starts when the space bar is pressed right after "shky".

 

Thank You

Alexandra

Shortkeytest_shky.mex

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I may be one of the few who extensively use the shortkey activation to create autotextfunctionality. So those macros are always global and consists mainly of texttype commands. Sometimes i use TABs also for jumping to another textfield in emails etc.

 

However often nothing happens or just a part of the text is pasted. Results can be described as random. I waited long before posting this as i was searching for conditions when this happens. Unfortunatley i could not find any.

 

All i found out is that Text Type commands with "Simulate Keystrokes" are working much better than with "Use Clipboard". But those are not suitable for a longer text.

 

The attached example (Shortkey is shky) for a mail should paste an email adress in the To-field jump than to the subjectfield paste one there, than go to emailtext and paste it there. So you should start it in Outlook in the To-field of a new email. I already slowed the macro down with delay commands etc.

 

What actual happens is:

In Outlook only the emailadress and the subject is pasted. At least most of the time. In Word (for reference) everything works fine. If you try the example try it minimum 5 times. On my systems it works roughly 30%.

 

Has anybody made a similar experience? BTW i use Suffix Keys, so the macro starts when the space bar is pressed right after "shky".

 

Thank You

Alexandra

 

I don't use Outlook so I can't test your macro, but as you may have seen from my recent posts such as

this one

I too get intermittent failure of (suffix type) shortkey-activated macros.

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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Had you been reading other folks posts you would have seen this subject has recently been raised:) Sorry, I just had to give you a hard time. But it does make the point that sometimes you learn not just by asking questions but by listening to the questions and responses of others. But I'm really stoked to see you post a sample macro. Good job! However I'm not going to try your macro because I know where this is going.

 

In MEP text typing commands are faster than ME3. Additionally clipboard commands are slower. I suspect there is more cleverness going on with MEPs function. Often that results in a ME3 user's macro suddenly not working when they make the leap. Additionally MS apps are famous for doing clever processes when you paste. EG it validates, converts text strings to date values, and all kinds of stuff all which take time. Again the faster MEP Text Type highlighted timing issues. I struggled with this and what I found is that one needs substantial delays after clipboard commands. At first I thought using the Text Type CTRL+V was the fix but the problem with Excel proved to still be a problem. I've written many macros recently that use web pages to enter thousands of records with dozens of fields each so this was a big problem for me. My solution was this:

  1. Do not use the clipboard for short strings. Instead type them out. How long depends on how long each process takes. IE 10 50ms text types is about one clipboard paste.
  2. Use the MEP Clipboard commands instead of text typing CTRL+V. The later is quicker but more prone to failures. However I have had a few instances when the later was more reliable.
  3. Enter and validate everything twice. Type it all in and go back and copy it all and compare that everything made it in the correct field. This also requires one have a recovery routine in case it isn't the same.
  4. In Java and other temperamental forms use mouse moves and clicks instead of tabbing between fields. Normally I avoid mouse moves but i have found that in a static environment they are more reliable than a tab that might not have been heard. Or a hybrid system of occasional mouse move > clicks. You see in a large form it's real easy to get lost positionally if a tab was missed.

However most of this is only important for large batch jobs but i find that in even the smallest macros it's a handy tactic if there is any chance of failure.

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What actual happens is:

In Outlook only the emailadress and the subject is pasted. At least most of the time. In Word (for reference) everything works fine. If you try the example try it minimum 5 times. On my systems it works roughly 30%.

 

Has anybody made a similar experience? BTW i use Suffix Keys, so the macro starts when the space bar is pressed right after "shky".

 

Thank You

Alexandra

 

I tested your macro on my PC (AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core 6400+) with Outlook 2007. It ran the first time but failed every time after that. Then as I slowed things WAY DOWN and watch, I noticed what Outlook was doing. In the "TO:" field it added the mock email address and may have been trying to verify it against my Outlook Contact list (I'm not sure). But then it added the ';' and looked like it was waiting for an additional email address. I then added a second <TAB> to your line #5. So now the first <Tab> tells Outlook 'No more addresses' and the second <Tab> tells Outlook to jump to the next field [CC:].

 

After that, it working 100% of the time for me.

 

Hope this helps

Shortkeytest_shky.mex

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I've had this same problem, and it's not with your shortkey. It's not a Macro Express problem at all.

 

When Outlook recognizes an email address, it has an auto-complete feature that says: "Hey, I already know this email address, since you used it before. Here, let me auto-complete it!"

 

And by auto-completing, Outlook completely defeats your macro. Your <TAB> merely "confirms" the auto-complete instead of taking you to the next line like it is supposed to.

 

You could ad a second <TAB>, but then the macro won't work if it's a new email address.

 

What you'll probably need to do is use a single <TAB>, then a <SHIFT><HOME>, <Clipboard Copy>, and check if there is anything in the clipboard.

 

If yes, then <TAB> 2 times to the Subject line.

If no, then you are in the CC field, so <TAB> 1 time to the Subject line.

 

It's irritating, but like Cory said, MS apps are clever and that is usually not a good thing when working with Macro Express.

 

Here it is, tweaked for successful use. Works 100% of the time on my machine (I've changed the name to avoid confusion):

Fixed_Shortkey.mex

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You need to learn some control..................................

Windows controls that is:) Alexis I think you would really benefit from learning to use Windows Controls. It takes about a half an hour to learn and once you start using them I'll bet you will slap yourself in the forehead and exclaim "Ausgezeichnet!" There are a few concepts you must wrap your noodle (brain) around but once you have that "ah-ha" moment you will realize it's quite intuitive. And when you realize you can send text to, click on, and retrieve info from controls that aren't even visible macros become very simple.

 

One comment on Steve's response. Auto-complete behavior varies on what version of Outlook, whether you use Word as the editor and whether you have the preference enabled. I found after about a year worth of use it's a bad thing to leave enabled. Not only that but I disable it for all my users as well. The problem is if you make a typo once or a person changes their email you can keep hitting that bad email even though you changed your contacts. And OL will auto-check on send or even before. For instance I could type "Steve S" and if there is only one email address for Steve it will quietly complete it. If there are multiple it will prompt. Additionally one can use the Check Names hot key CTRL+K. In practice I find it only marginally slower and way less prone to mistakes.

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The things I learn by listening to Cory.................................

You need to learn some control..................................

Windows controls that is:)

This is interesting. I had never thought of using Controls for emails. Of course, I rarely think of using Controls, since I generally spend more time frustrated, trying to make controls work on applications that only partially support them than the Controls end up being worth in the end, but it is definitely nice to know when there are Controls that actually exist and work.

 

Outlook (at least Outlook 2007) appears to be one of them.

 

A caveat, however: Sending text directly to the control you set as the body of the email will possibly crash Outlook. At the very least, it will simply not put the information into the email.

 

Oh, and it sends the email automatically as it is attempting to send the text directly to the Control.

 

At least that was my experience.

 

So it is probably better to simply set focus to that control and then Text Type the message.

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  • 4 weeks later...

True, Outlook is special due to it´s autocomplete function.

 

Maybe it wasn´t a good example. But i experience problems in many other areas too. Right now while i type this text none of my 20 shortkeys-macros works. Another time it works just fine. And nobody here seems to know when and why. I don´t want to mess with controls but expect from commands that they do what they are supposed to do.

 

Anything else is a bug, which is ok for such a complex piece of software. Which is a less ok that it´s not communicated. So i and other members of keep banging their heads against the wall.

 

Remember the window-order issue, Cory?

 

I guess what we really need is a list of current bugs. So we know what works and what not and can discuss work-arounds. So Insight knows where to focus at.

 

Due to my bad reputation (asking to much) and the fact i´m not a native speaker can you Cory (or somebody else) start the thread and we fill out the rest.

 

Thanks

Alexandra

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Right now while i type this text none of my 20 shortkeys-macros works. Another time it works just fine.

To Alexis, Terry and all others who are reporting that their shortkey do not always work:

 

What shortkeys settings are you using? 'Use Prefix' or 'Use Suffix'?

 

When one of your shortkey macros doesn't work, take a moment to think about what you did immediately before trying the shortkey. See if changing what you do allows the shortkey macro to work. This moment of thought followed by your description of what happened can help us find and fix any problems.

 

Macro Express Pro needs to separate out the 'shortkey' from all the other typing that is going on. It uses one set of rules to do this for the 'Use Prefix' option and another set of rules for the 'Use Suffix' option. This can be complicated.

 

I have typically used the 'Use Prefix' option. After reading posts in this forum where people report having trouble with shortkey macros I switched to 'Use Suffix'.

 

After several days of use one of my shortkey macros did not activate. I stopped and thought for a moment about what I did immediately prior to typing the shortkey macro and realized I had just typed one of the Arrow keys. If you type an arrow key immediately prior to the shortkey activation then the shortkey will not work. This has been fixed and will be available in the next release of Macro Express Pro.

 

The next time your shortkey fails, try typing the shortkey again but with a space in front of it. For example, if you type <Arrow key>'aBc' and your macro does not work try typing <Arrow key>' aBc'. If this works then you are experiencing the same issue we have discovered and fixed.

 

If that does not explain what you are experiencing then please, just after a shortkey macro fails to activate, take a moment to think about what you were doing and see if you can repeat the problem. Then report the results to us.

 

Here is one more thing to try. When a shortkey macro fails to activate, press and release the Ctrl (or Control) key and try typing your macro again. Pressing the Ctrl key tells Macro Express to empty the shortkey buffer. This 'kick in the pants' helps Macro Express Pro determine when a shortkey is being typed.

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I don't use shortkeys much.

........................................

At one point I realized there were these things called ShortKeys back in the early ME3 discovery days. I used hotkeys for almost everything and though I might be missing out on something. I experimented for awhile and had some problems much like that being described. As Kevin suggested it was often due to special circumstances and these were prevalent enough to make them a bad choice for distributed macros. I decided that I should only ever use ShortKeys as the creators had intended and it seemed to me the intent was to use it as a form of auto text. IE to be used inline while typing using predominantly the text type command. I’m not much help to this thread because of this but I would I would also like to point out that I do not have problems with ShortKey activations and I think it’s because I have limited their application to their intended use. IE if you use a hammer to drive a wood screw you’re bound to have more problems. So for these alternate applications you might consider hotkeys adn popups instead.

 

Disclaimer: I have never confirmed with ISS that this was the design intent.

 

I used to be a rebel and now I’m a conformist and find life a lot easier if I go with the flow.

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Thanks Kevin for taking the time.

 

The next time your shortkey fails, try typing the shortkey again but with a space in front of it.

 

I noticed that it works better with a space before the shortkeys. I use Suffix Keys (Spacebar). Does other Shortkeypreferences work better? Shortkey are a useful feature and i´m really interested in figuring out how to use best.

 

Wow, the CTRL-Key trick made all my shortkeys work. Didn´t know that. :rolleyes:

 

Thanks a lot

Alexandra

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I noticed that it works better with a space before the shortkeys. I use Suffix Keys (Spacebar). Does other Shortkeypreferences work better? Shortkey are a useful feature and i´m really interested in figuring out how to use best.

What were you typing before the shortkey before you tried the technique of typing a space before the shortkey? This is the critical piece of information for us. If you type 'zuaBc ' and your shortkey macro doesn't activate, that is an unknown bug and we want to know. If you type '<Arrow Down>aBc ' and it doesn't work then that is what we already know about and have fixed. If you type something else before the 'aBc ' and it doesn't work then we want to know.

 

Wow, the CTRL-Key trick made all my shortkeys work. Didn´t know that. :rolleyes:
Perhaps because you never contacted support to ask about shortkey issues? ;)
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First a bit of a recap. Ideally I'd like to have continued using the prefix method, because for me it's more intuitive. My preferred thought process is: "I want to enter a shortkey. So first I'll type my special prefix. Then, ME Pro will recognise what I type next and as soon as I've entered a known combination it will run my intended macro." In my case this prefix was ## (which is lower case on my UK KB, easy to type, not a combination I otherwise use - and not used by my applications).

 

But it has serious limitations which I raised in this thread 5 months ago. To overcome the major one I made a feature request. I suggested that a short delay be introduced between shortkey characters typed. So that, having assigned my at an early stage, as I developed more and more shortkey-activated macros I could add mya, myb, myx etc. At present that doesn't work, because ME Pro can't distinguish between them. Immediately the 'y' of any of these is typed, it runs the first macro. The delay would make it wait a user-settable time, say half a second after each character, before consulting its table of shortkeys, instead of grabbing the first thing it found. That seems to be the way other macro programs do it.

 

I assume this has not been progressed as I've heard nothing more from ISS.

 

Meanwhile, in that same thread, Stan convinced me that the suffix method, with some tailoring, would do what I wanted. I've been using that since. Even though I find it less intuitive, it allows any combination to be used. But I progressively lost confidence in it because of the unreliability, whatever the cause(s). So recently, I've switched to using Stiletto for these, as reported in this post. I've also been changing those shortkey macros that are not simple text/phrase replacements to menu-based instead. (In that sense I'm leaning in Cory's direction.)

 

That's probably how I'll continue, at least until I see either a more flexible prefix method or more robust suffix shortkeys.

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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