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Recording Macros.

What is a Macro? A macro is a number of actions pre-recorded that can be triggered at will.

For instance, let's say that you want several lines of the text to be in italics, underlined, and change the language. You can go to the first section. Select it, apply italics, underline it, change the language, start again for the next section, and continue until it is done.

But in a macro, you can record all these actions, and trigger them all together, so that all you would have to do would be to go to the section, and trigger the macro. A macro is fundamentally just a recorded sequence of actions that you can trigger with a keyboard shortcut or a toolbar icon.

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Before you record a macro, you must determine what the macro should do, exactly. Then, you need to determine how this would normally be done, if possible, with shortcuts, as mouse motions are more ambiguous and may not always give the expected result.

In the previous example, we needed a macro that would select a line, put the selection in italics, underline it and change the language. I suggest you do it as you read.

Take a bogus document, with 5 or 6 lines. To work out how it is done with shortcuts, do it. (The following is based on the default shortcuts of Word 2002 in English version)

Put the cursor at the beginning of the first line. Do Shift + end to highlight the sentence, press Ctrl + i (to apply italics), press Ctrl + u (to underline), then Alt + t, l, l (to call the “Tools” menu, select the “language” sub-menu and “Set language”). With the up and down arrows, select the language you want to apply, then click Enter.

That’s it. That’s the exact sequence of shortcuts needed to do the job. Shift+end; Ctrl+I; Ctrl+u; Alt+t,l,l; arrows; Enter.

Now, we are ready to record that sequence of action. Position your cursor at the beginning of the first line. Go to Tools/Macros/Record new macro (English version, Alt+t, m, r).

The macro dialog appears:

Enter the name of the macro you want – test, for example – and assign it to the keyboard or the toolbar by clicking on the appropriate button. (For more information on that, see the article “customize it” of this web site.) Decide if the macro should be available in all documents or only in the current document. Enter a short description if you want to, and click on OK. For the purpose of our test, assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut, Alt + w.

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