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  1. #1
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    Helpful macros for Word 2010 and 2013 wanted

    Hey folks,

    This is likely the perfect community to ask this of:

    I am working on a project for a class, Word Tips for Technical Writers, and want to compile a list of helpful macros for 2010 and 2013. My audience is tech writers (which Wikipedia defines as "a professional writer who engages in technical writing and produces technical documentation for technical, business, and consumer audiences") so anything particularly helpful to them would be great.

    I've googled the topic (Macros for Word 2010 or 2013) and have mainly found tutorials on creating macros, which isn't really what I'm looking for.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Also, what';s the success rate of using 2010 macros in 2013? I'll need to specify if 2010 macros don't work in 2013. Thanks.

  4. #3
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    What most tech writers need when they come to using Word is training in the use of Style, especially. As for macros, the potential area is very wide and many of the ones you'll find here and on other boards have been written to fulfil one-off needs and/or niche areas (e.g. exporting data from a folder full of Word documents to an Excel workbook, building lists of key terms in a document, or using an Excel workbook to hold Find/Replace strings for updating Word documents).

    A book your budding Technical Writers might find useful is The Secret Life of Word: A Professional Writer's Guide to Microsoft Word Automation, by R Delwood, published by XML Press in 2011(http://xmlpress.net/publications/word-secrets/). I contributed content for and did much of the technical review of this book. This isn't a programming book as such (though it does have some programming in it) and doesn't profess to teach you how to program. Rather, it shows how to combine Word's various tools to achieve whatever the desired result might be. Another that I contributed to (and has much more programming in it) is Word Hacks, by A Savikas, published by O'Reilly Media in 2005 (http://shop.oreilly.com/product/9780596004934.do). I contributed content for this book also. Although it pre-dates Office 2007, much of the content is still relevant.

    Almost any macro written for Word 2007 or later will run unmodified in Word 2013. There are exceptions of course and some that do run behave differently. Macros written for Word 2003 & earlier are more likely to have problems, due to the changed interface, document formats and the deprecation of some methods, but most of those will have been put out to pasture by now. Most macros written for Word 2013 will work in the earlier versions also, but there's always the risk that code written for Word 2013 will take advantage of new methods & properties that aren't available to the earlier versions. Such code will fail. Likewise, automation code that uses early binding and was written for Office 2013 will need recompiling before it will run on Word 2010 & earlier; going the other way isn't an issue, though.

    Beyond macro programming Word has another obscure programming language - field codes. You'll find a number of tutorials I've written on this arcane subject as Sticky threads at the top of this forum.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

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  6. #4
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    You can find many useful utility macros on the MVP website.

    I concur with Paul that learning to use Styles is the most important skill for a person writing Word documents for others to use. Two concepts are key: You can assign a different style for the next paragraph in a paragraph style, you should link outline numbering or bullets to styles. You should also look into AutoText (building blocks) and AutoCorrect. Especially with fields, these can cover much of what you may be thinking macros would do. I know of no better resource on Fields than Paul's posts here. I would recommend that each of your fellow students download the attachments to those posts. They contain a multitude of sample fields ready-to-use.

    Three fields especially come to mind as underused:



    Finally, your writers need a good handle on Word Templates (which act as a holder for macros, Styles and Building Blocks as well as QAT and Ribbon modifications). A well-designed template will start any new project off almost half done. Those templates may be prepared with built-in features such as headers and footers (utilizing the StyleRef field) a Table of Contents, and numbering already tied to styles.

    Templates in Microsoft Word
    Outline Numbering with Styles by Shauna Kelly
    AutoText, AutoCorrect and Building Blocks

    I have found that most (although not all) macros written for Word 97 work in Word 2013. It depends to some extent on complexity. I have a book written about vba in Word that was written for Word 97 and still use it.
    Last edited by Charles Kenyon; 2014-04-11 at 09:52.
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

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    Charles and Paul--- thank you very much! Really, I very grateful for your fantastic advice. I'm researching it now.

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    Hi Benjo

    I am not sure if you would call what I do technical writing, I do a lot of work on business cases, requirements documents, process documentation and the like. They are typically strongly structured, often with audience-specific vocabulary and make extensive use of bullet points and tables to record facts.

    A few years ago I was also looking for useful macros; things I could use every day for this kind of content. I couldnt find much - so I worked on a set of tools that I've now started publishing.

    I've just finished a set of tools that I use to improve the management of tables, eg inserting and deleting rows, managing different number/renumber methods, moving and reordering content, and some automated punctuation. I'll now start a series on the use of abbreviations to reduce the typing load in structured documents. After that, I'll focus on automated punctuation correction and annotate-in-place functions.

    You can download them all or cut specific code from the release notes.

    As Paul says, many published macros solve one-off needs. I've tried to focus on tools for daily text editing use, which I suspect is something that you have asked for. I hope you get some ideas of what I've done.

    The content can be found here

    I'd like to pick up Kenyon's theme of focusing on templates and styles. The best efficiency tool I have found is a simple document template with a fairly narrow set of well structured styles that you can apply with shortcut keys.

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  11. #7
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    Hey Martin

    Thank you!

    Would I have your permission to discuss your macros on the site I am creating?
    I would credit them to you and provide a link to your site for download.

    Thanks again for your reply

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    Hi Benjo

    You are most welcome to use the content on your site - I hope it is helpful.

  13. #9
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    Hi Martin,

    Thank you! I will credit you and send you the link when the site is live.

    Many many thanks.

  14. #10
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    There are several places to look for macros to help manage onerous document tasks or just large documents.

    I use both free and paid for macros from the Editorium.com, run by Jack Lyon. My favorite from the Editor's Toolkit is smart title case. --Ever wonder why Word's grammar checker knows that "Of" is wrong but the title case feature does it anyway?-- Jack's macros have been around for a while; they are reliable and work in W2010 and W2013. I have used Megareplacer, an expanded find and replace tool, and some of his other paid ones for years.

    A relative newcomer is Paul Beverly, who offers his 400 and growing macros in Macros for Writers and Editors for free. His most popular one is FRedit also an expanded find and replace tool. He is working on another macro that will search for several terms at "once" and stop at the next one in the text stream. (I used word processing software that did this many years ago. It was very useful.)

    Among the paid software is PerfectIt, a consistency checker (for such things as different presentations of the same word, say, caps and initial caps, treatment of numbers, placement of or missing captions). It is also a pretty good collector of acronyms (but so far in my evaluation, AcroWizard (very nearly dead software but it still works & is still for sale) finds more). On the other hand, fixing problems—acronym introduced more than once, not defined on first use, spell out used after it is introduced, and such—is very easy in PerfectIt but a manual process with AcroWizard.

    There are likely very many more. These are ones whose macros I've used.
    Last edited by PamCaswell; 2014-04-18 at 10:19.
    Pam Caswell

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  16. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin@DocProd View Post
    The best efficiency tool I have found is a simple document template with a fairly narrow set of well structured styles that you can apply with shortcut keys.
    I totally agree! Moreover, if you use a structured approach, semi-automated tools like macros are far more dependable. I've always felt that if someone is trying to use Word without taking advantage of styles and templates, they may as well save their $ and just use free alternatives like WordPad instead.

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