Macro Express @ Yale

What is Macro Express?

Macro Express is a licensed macro utility used to record, edit and play back mouse and keyboard macros. It is used in conjunction with Voyager in support of technical services processing. 

What is a Macro?

A macro is a set of commands that can be played back at will to perform a given task. These tasks can be something simple such as inserting your name and address into a word processor to something more complex such as launching a program, copying data from it, activating another program, pasting the data into it and repeating this several times. Tasks performed by macros are typically repetitive in nature allowing significant savings in time by executing the macro instead of manually repeating the commands.

Creating a Macro

There are several ways to create macros with Macro Express. One method is to capture (record) your keystrokes and mouse movements. Another method is to use the Quick Wizards. The Quick Wizards guide you through a series of questions and build the macro for you. Or you can build your own macros with the Scripting Editor or Direct Editor. YUL uses the Scripting and Direct Editor programs because the capture method is difficult to distribute over the network because of differences in workstation configurations. However, staff are free to use the capture method for unique or special processing needs. The tutorial provides examples of creating macros through each of these methods.

Playing Back a Macro

Macro Express offers several methods for executing macros. These include the use of Hot Keys, ShortKeys, Timed Macros, Window Activation, Mouse Clicks, Popup/Floating Menus and several others.

  1. A HotKey is a set of keys on the keyboard that are pressed to initiate the macro. This could include pressing CTRL+ALT+R or CTRL+F12 or any number of combinations. The HotKey is the primary means of executing macros at YUL.

  2. A ShortKey is a small string of characters. When a matching combination is keyed in from the keyboard, it is erased and the assigned macro executes. You could use the small string of #add to type out your address.

  3. A Scheduled Macro executes on a given time schedule. Scheduled Macros have not been utilized at YUL.

  4. For Window Activation, a macro runs when a specific window gains focus (appears) on your computer. At YUL, Window Activation is used at certain steps in complex macro strings.

  5. A macro may be triggered by clicking on a specific area of the screen with the left, right or middle Mouse button. This method is not recommended for mass distribution at YUL.

  6. A Popup Menu or Floating Menu is basically a list of defined macros. Once the list is displayed, click on the desired macro or press an associated number or letter to execute the macro. At YUL Popup Menus have been used as a substitute for memorizing multiple hotkey sequences, e.g. for diacritics and acquisitions macros. Floating Menus have not been used.

  7. A macro can be activated through a Batch File or Command Line. This option has not been used so far.

  8. Macros may also be activated through Windows API calls or Windows Explorer. Neither of these options have been used so far.

  9. Run a macro from the Macro Explorer by using the Run Macro Now option. This is sometimes used for disabled macros, again, to avoid memorizing keystrokes, but would not be considered a best practice.

Macro Scopes

Macro scopes allow you to place restrictions on your macros. You can assign macros to play back in all Windows programs, in one specific window or program, or in every program except the one you define.

Macro Express @ Yale is organized under 3 categories:

Documentation is used to maintain consistency of application and records standard keyboard assignments, expert user checklists, keypad maps, mapping of macros to function keys, training materials, and so on.

Using Macro Express is a list of basic tips and tricks.

Creating and Editing Macros is more advanced and gives step by step instructions for creating typical macros at YUL.

For further information, consult the Macro Express Help files, which provide detailed tutorials for creating and applying macros in Macro Express.

Effective Date: 
February 11, 2014