By Jennifer Yankopolus
Initially, my favorite macros were the analysis ones: ProperNounAlyse, HyphenAlyse, and WordPairAlyse. As a new macro user, they were the easiest for me to understand and seemed to offer the biggest discernible benefits, helping me to identify inconsistencies.
After a few months of using analysis macros, I was hungry for more, grateful that they were making me more confident in my work. Where else could they enhance my editing? I tried out different types, but it wasn’t until I discovered GoogleFetch that I began to truly understand what was possible. That one macro, along with MerriamFetch, convinced me that it was worth learning how to assign—and remember—keyboard shortcuts and take the necessary time to adapt my way of doing things. (For country-specific Google and dictionary macros, consult the Macro Menu.)
While the analysis macros were easy to adopt, I confess that I had been hesitant about using macros while I was actively editing. It seemed like it would be disruptive, and I wasn’t particularly keen on having to adjust my editing routine. Since you run analysis macros only once on a document as a pre-check before you start editing, I didn’t have to use a keyboard shortcut to run them, and I didn’t have to remember to deploy them while I was in the flow of editing.
But then as I was editing, I began to notice all the small, repetitive text and punctuation edits I was making that could be carried out by macros. The inefficiency of making these edits manually suddenly became clear, and the number of macros I installed expanded as quickly as I could memorize them and their shortcuts. Gone was my reluctance to rework my process.
My current favorites take care of everyday punctuation and capitalization edits and even deleting text—small edits that my fingers are happy to transfer to the macros:
Comma: changes the punctuation mark after the current word to a comma or adds one
FullPoint: changes the punctuation mark after the current word to a full stop/period and capitalizes the next word. (Bonus feature: If there is an “and”, select it and the macro will delete that too.)
PunctuationToHyphen: changes a dash or space to a closed-up hyphen
PunctuationOff: deletes the next upcoming punctuation mark
DeleteOneWord: deletes the current word
DeleteRestOfSentence: deletes text from the cursor to the end of the sentence
CaseThisWord: changes the capitalization of the current word
I am especially aware of how much these macros, and others, have reduced the strain on my hands and wrists from gripping the mouse to select the text and precisely place the cursor. I only wish I could use them when writing emails and in Slack and other messaging apps.
Next on the horizon? To learn how to move the cursor using shortcuts. While this doesn’t involve macros (Word has preset shortcuts that will do this), it will make using these speed-editing macros more efficient and lessen the strain even more.
Jennifer Yankopolus is an editor and macro trainer in the US, and author of the Macro of the Month newsletter.