Making Macros Readily Available

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 19, 2012)

Many users have several macros to which they would like to assign shortcut keys. However, as you acquire more macros, it becomes difficult to remember the shortcut keys. It would be nice to have a list of macros with their shortcut keys readily available. It would be even nicer to have such a list and have the option of clicking the shortcut key to run the macro.

The solution is a two-step process. First, create a Macros menu, and second add a dozen or so of your most commonly used macros. If done with some foresight, you can type three keys to run any commonly used macro.

For simplicity, suppose you have the following macros, many of which have appeared in other issues of WordTips: AddParens, AddQuotes, EmailCleanup, and TwoSpaces. Make sure that the template containing your macros is loaded into Word, and then create a Macros menu, as follows.

  1. Double-click a blank spot on a toolbar or choose Customize from the Tools menu. Either way, Word displays the Customize dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Commands tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Commands tab of the Customize dialog box

  4. In the Categories list, choose the New Menu option. (This should be the last option in the Categories list.)
  5. In the Commands list you will see one option: New Menu. Drag this option to the existing Word menu bar and drop it where you want the new menu to appear. A good spot is right next to the Tools menu, but anywhere on the menu bar will work.
  6. Right-click the new menu, on the menu bar. Word displays a Context menu that shows the properties of this particular menu.
  7. Change the information in the Name box to "&Macros", without the quotes. The use of the ampersand (&) allows you to specify what Word should use as the hot key for the menu. In this case, you can later access the menu by using the Alt+M key combination.

You now have a Macros menu, and you could end your customizations. It won't do you much good, however, because your Macros menu, while available on the menu bar, is empty. To put the macros mentioned above on the menu, do the following with the Customize dialog box still visible:

  1. In the Categories list, choose the Macros option. All your macros appear on the right side of the dialog box, in the Commands list.
  2. Drag the macros, one at a time, to your new Macros menu. When you do, the new menu drops down and you can move the mouse to specify where the macro should appear on the menu. Release the mouse button when you are satisfied with the position of the macro on the menu. When completed, all of the macros are on the menu.
  3. Right-click each of the macros, in turn, and change the Name property to something more descriptive. For instance, you could use Add&Parens, Add&Quotes, &EmailCleanup, and &TwoSpaces for the macros mentioned at the beginning of this tip. (Remember that the ampersand specifies the hot key to activate the macro from the menu.)
  4. Click on Close in the Customize dialog box.

Now you have several benefits. By typing Alt+M, the Macros menu opens. At that point, you can look to see the name of any macro and the letter that will activate it. The letter after the ampersand (step 3, above) is underlined and activates the macro. You also have the option of using the arrow keys to select a menu option, or clicking on the menu option as you would with any other menu.

If you decide to solely use the keyboard shortcuts, within a short time you will remember that typing Alt+M, P runs the AddParens macro; Alt+M, Q runs the AddQuotes macro; Alt+M, E runs the EmailCleanup macro, and Alt+M, T runs the TwoSpaces macro.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (812) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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