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November 21, 2007

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Contents
  1 - Macro Express v 3.7b
  2 - Writing portable macros
  3 - Reminder: Use variables anywhere!
  4 - From the discussion forum: Countdown macro
  5 - From the discussion forum: Choose the macro you wish to run
  6 - From the discussion forum: Cory's sample macros
  7 - I fixed Outlook's Save Attachment window with Macro Express
  8 - Past issues of the Macro Express News


1 - Macro Express v 3.7b
Macro Express 3 version 3.7b has been released and is now available for download from http://www.macros.com/download.htm. All licensed Macro Express 3 users can download and install this update without cost.

This update contains several new features and a number of bug fixes.

  - Added an option to enable/disable the keyboard remapping hook.
  - Fixed a bug where the "Resume Pause" system macro had no effect.
  - A variable can now be entered into the Move Mouse to System Tray command.

View a complete list of changes by visiting: http://www.macros.com/rev3_7b.htm


2 - Writing portable macros
If you have ever written a macro and tried to share it with someone else or use it on more than one computer, you are likely to have discovered the importance of writing portable macros. Many factors can cause a macro to fail on a different computer than the one it was written on. These factors may include, but are not limited to differences in your computer, Windows, your applications, personal settings, and language.

We are announcing a new series of Knowledgebase articles that will contain articles about writing portable macros. No single set of guidelines can prevent every compatibility issue. But these articles will attempt to outline several best practices that should go a long way towards creating portable macros.

Following these guidelines will not only allow your macro to run on more than one computer but they will help make sure that your macros will continue to work as upgrades cause your computer(s) to evolve and change. These changes could occur when you purchase a new computer, switch operating systems, update an application, or even when you upgrade Macro Express itself. In fact, upcoming changes to Macro Express make some of these considerations more important than ever.

Here is the first article of this series:

Preferences location
Macro Express stores its preferences in either the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE OR HKEY_CURRENT_USER areas of the registry. Currently the access rights for the user that is logged in and the 'All users use the same setting' option in the preferences determine where the preferences are stored. In the future there will be options to store the preferences somewhere else like on a USB drive or in .ini files that are part of roaming profiles.

Many cool macros either read or make changes to the Macro Express preferences. When accessing the preferences from a macro you should use the 'Set Variable to "Preferences Registry Key"' command found in the 'Variable Set From Misc' dialog. This will allow your macro to run more smoothly now and in the future.

View this article here: http://www.macros.com/faq//9.1.html

To view all of the writing portable macros topics in the knowledgebase simply enter "Portable Macros" in the search knowledgebase search box: http://www.macros.com/kb.htm. We appreciate any suggestions you may have about techniques that should be included in these articles.

Writing macros with portability in mind may take additional time. Only you can decide whether a specific macro you are writing is worth spending additional effort to ensure portability.


3 - Reminder: Use variables anywhere!
We frequently get feature requests to allow variables to be used in a specific macro command. This feature is already a part of Macro Express!

For convenience, some macro command dialogs show a list of variables and allow you to select one. Others just allow you to enter information in an input field. You may enter variables every place you can enter information. For example, you can set the variable %T1% to the window title and later in your macro use that variable in the 'Window Restore' command. Simply enter "%T1%" in the Window Title field.

You can combine things you type along with multiple variables. For example you might put %T1%\%T9%\myfile.txt in the 'Launch and Activate' command.

This works for all variable types: integer variables like %N1%, decimal variables like %D97% and string variables like %T43%.


4 - From the discussion forum: Countdown macro
Paul Thornett, Macro Express tester, frequent contributor on the Macro Express discussion forum and coauthor of PGM Functions Library posted a great macro on the forum. He says "Each morning I have a scheduled macro that runs a series of database extractions, ftp transfers and database updates. Sometimes it's not convenient to run this job at the scheduled time if I'm in the middle of something else.

"When my scheduled macro starts, it displays a dialog box and makes a sound each second for 10 seconds, showing that the job will start in n seconds (10...9...8, etc.). If I close this dialog box manually, the job never starts."
Read the rest of Paul's post and copy the macro by visiting: http://pgmacros.invisionzone.com/topic/2103-countdown/?hl=Countdown%20macro

Thank you, Paul, for this macro. Paul will receive a cool Macro Express T-shirt for his submission. Just in time for those upcoming summer days down under.


5 - From the discussion forum: Choose the macro you wish to run
The forum user blopib recently said "I'll try to give back some of the little I know, just so I can ask a question when ever I need help myself."

This attitude of helpfulness is what makes the discussion forum work so well. I contacted blopib and found out his name is Per-Inge Åberg. Thank you Per-Inge!

Per-Inge posted a cool macro on the discussion forum. He said "As I have trouble finding my own created macros and the right hotkey for them, I've created a macro that lets me choose in the multiple choice menu which macro I want to run. This way I just have to remember one hotkey: WIN+1. Then I jump down to the one macro I want to run, with the help of Arrow down, set with Space and then hitting Enter."

This suggestion appeals to me because I have been trying to figure out what I can do to remember all of my macros. This is a great suggestion.

Floyd, another frequent forum user, went on to add "There is another way to fire your macro besides a HotKey. Use the Mouse Activation. Simply pick a small area on the screen to click. I use a 3 x 3 area at the upper-left corner of my primary display. I shove the mouse over there, click, and a menu of macros pops up ... like yours."

This is another great suggestion. See the entire discussion topic, including Per-Inge's sample macro here: http://pgmacros.invisionzone.com/topic/2569-macro-tip-choose-the-macro-you-wish-to-run/

Per-Inge Åberg will receive a T-shirt for his submission.


6 - From the discussion forum: Cory's sample macros
Cory Jackson is another frequent contributor on the discussion forum. He has helped answer many questions for other users and has created several sample macros to share. His sample macros, along with additional explanations, are posted on a special Macro Express section on his website.

You can read about and download his macros from this web page: http://bluepointdesign.com/macros/

Cory will receive a cool T-shirt for his postings.


7 - I fixed Outlook's Save Attachment window with Macro Express
The other day I started having some trouble with Outlook, the email client I use. After some clean up and some Googling for a solution, I got it working again. There was, however, a residual side effect.

Every time I tried to save a file attachment to my hard drive from within Outlook, the Save Attachment dialog was maximized to the full screen. I could not fix the problem because the Save Attachment dialog does not have the typical minimize, maximize and restore buttons in its title bar.

Since I do not save file attachments all that often and since this was a cosmetic annoyance only, I lived with the problem for several days. Then I discovered the save dialogs on other MS Office programs were maximized as well.

I am sure that there is a registry setting somewhere that controls this and I could have searched the web for a solution or uninstalled and reinstalled MS Office but I thought I would try Macro Express first.

Running a one line macro fixed the problem for all the MS Office applications and it has stayed fixed ever since. This proved to me once again that Macro Express is an indispensable tool that I could never do without.

Oh, the macro? All it contained was:
    Window Restore: "Save Attachment"


8 - Past issues of the Macro Express News
Are you a new subscriber to the Macro Express News email newsletter? Did you miss an issue? Past newsletters are available online at www.macros.com/newsletters/MENews.htm.


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The Macro Express Development Team

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