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Shortkey macros may or may not execute

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I am experiencing some strangeness with shortkey macros that I can't seem to track down. For example, I have a simple text-typing macro called "khggml" that types out my email address. Works fine. I have another called "kgnbml" that does not work. It used to but in the last few days it has stopped, along with many others. My preferences are set to use prefix keys but I don't specify any keys, so the shortkey macros (when they run) automatically replace the text. I also have Solitary usage turned on with the following keys specified as separators: ~)|}]:


It appears something is preventing the macro from activating but I can't for the life of me see what it could be. I'm not doing anything fancy with my macros, as I'm definitely NOT a coder. The main reason I got Macro Express rather than shortkeys is to allow me to do some prompting for input on some macros, and to provide for password protecting some of the ones I use for logging into a couple of support sites. I work in tech support and have way too many sites and apps I have to log into, so every little bit helps. 


Can anyone suggest a way to track down what's happening to prevent the macros from triggering? I tried using the debug commands to create a log file but since the macros don't ever activate I can't get a log. I'm confused and confunded! I've attached the two macros I'm referring too; as you'll see they both attempt to do the same thing. 


Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!


I am running Windows 10 Enterprise 2016 LTSB 64-bit and Macro Express


bank.mex gmail.mex

Edited by Ken Granger
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Hi Ken,


Puzzling indeed that this has arisen out of the blue. Can you recall anything of possible relevance that you changed?


In addition to Cory's suggestion could you temporarily change your global settings to use a prefix. Ideally '=', so that my own hundred or so shortkey-activated macros are unaffected if I try to reproduce.




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  • 5 months later...

Terry and Cory, my apologies for not getting back to you on this. I got waylaid into a large conversion project and got away from trying to work on this. I got a new computer at work in December and the problem has not recurred, so I don't know anything at this point. Thanks for your suggestions and your willingness to help.

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I've taught introductory courses on Macro Express. One of the difficulties my students have had with ShortKeys is wrapping their minds around the fact that the prefix is set in "Preferences..." and is not included as part of the "Activation."


For example, let's say the prefix is ##. If a ShortKey macro is set to be activated by pressing "xxx", one doesn't include the prefix when specifying the activation in the script. In other words, the activation reads as "xxx", not "##xxx".


But to run the macro, you type the prefix followed immediately by the "activation" as it appears in the script, so:





If you go into "Preferences..." and change the prefix to something else -- let's say the letter "q" -- you don't edit the script. Instead, once the prefix has been modified, you type this:



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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, WardXmodem said:

I found a pair of semicolons work well as a prefix for shortkeys. 

This is because this combination does not seem to occur in any common context, from programming languages to lines of characters to draw attention to a particular things like a line of ########## would do, etc.

Using ";;" as a prefix is brilliant; it's so much easier than the default, and it really should minimize conflicts.


Several years ago, a company brought me in for a project, and to my surprise, Macro Express was installed on hundreds of computers. Someone had created dozens of prefix ShortKey macros. The prefix was two hashtags: ##. For example, if the macro's nickname was abc, activate it by typing "##abc".


I asked several employees about their use of the macros. Not a single employee knew what I was talking about! I showed some how the macros worked, and their eyes glazed over. One employee was a one-finger typist (due to disability). She used the Windows "Sticky Keys" feature to deal with modifier keys -- Shift, Ctrl, Alt, etc. -- so the key sequence to activate this macro was this:


Shift - Shift - 3 - 3 - Shift - a - b - c


What this key sequence does:


[Latch Sticky Keys] - [Lock Sticky Keys] - # - # - [Unlock Sticky Keys] - a - b - c


Way too much physical and cognitive effort!


When I work with one-handed typists (which is a common disability in my practice) and I am recommending the use of Macro Express (which I do regularly), I set the prefix for ShortKey macros to a single comma for people who use their right hand, and a single Q for people who use their left hand. I've been doing this for over 20 years, and although there are occasional conflicts, the conflicts are exceedingly rare. 

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I got up to around 50 or so macros using the prefix '='. Soon regretted it when the conflict in Excel became apparent, but never got around to changing it.


I see that I'm up to 217 now and might well switch to the better choice of ';;'.


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Edit: Oops, I inserted the following response in the wrong thread. My posting would have been more appropriate here:



I change folders in a similar manner (although your original description seems to have vanished).


The method is to type a shortkey macro into the "File Name" field of the "Save As" and "Open" dialog boxes, and in Address bars in File Explorer.


I don't have a lot of paths to visit. Only three. So I have three ShortKey macros that output the full paths that I need most often, e.g.,


  Text Type (Simulate Keystrokes): C:\Users\Alan\Documents\Pictures\2021


The nickname for this is one is "pix" and the comma is my prefix of choice.


So when I type ,pix in the field, it automatically expands into the full path. I press Enter, and I've arrived.


But since developing the "Save As" macro described earlier in this challenge, I have started using it more often, at least within Microsoft Word.

Edited by acantor
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