Marshall Adult Education




TECH TIP  -  Microsoft Word Macros

There are 4 features of Word that are rarely used.  They reside it the Status Bar at the bottom of the Microsoft Word screen.  We will cover one of these features here – Macros.


First of all, your Status Bar has to be showing.  Look at the bottom of the screen and you should see information about the document, such as:  Page #, Sec. #, paging information, cursor location, etc. 


If you don’t see this information, then your Status Bar is not showing.  To show your Status Bar, click on Tools, then click on Options.  Click on the View tab, then in the Show section, click on Status bar


OK – now that your Status Bar is showing, look there for 4 options – REC, TRK, EXT, and OVR (they are very light - dimmed).   If you double-click on these options, they will become active.  We will be using the REC option – which stands for Record Macro.


First of all what is a Macro?  Well, I typed in “macro” in my trusty Google search engine (define:macro):  “A set of keystrokes and instructions that are recorded, saved, and assigned to a short key code. When the key code is typed, the recorded keystrokes and instructions execute (play back). Macros can simplify day-to-day operations, which otherwise become tedious.”  (I couldn’t have said it better myself!).


So, you can make a macro to do a task with one keystroke (such as Alt-Z) that executes a series of keystrokes.  Example:  You can make a macro to strip out those little characters that you get when someone forwards you an email (>).   Or – you can type a signature block – your name, title, company, telephone number, etc, - assign it a keystroke – and use the assigned keystroke to execute the macro.  Cool!


So – here we go – we will make a macro.   Try this - you’ll have fun doing it and you might actually use it some day!  Follow these steps:


  1. Start a new Word file.
  2. Double-click on REC in the Status Bar.
  3. The Record Macro window opens.
  4. Give the macros a name if you want to – it’s optional.  If you plan to keep the macro permanently, than you will want to.  You give it a name in the Macro Name box.  For this practice exercise, let’s call it Test – type Test in the Macro Name box.
  5. Click on Keyboard (we will execute the macro from the keyboard.  Notice that you can also execute the macro from the Toolbar).
  6. Type in the shortcut keys you want to use to execute the macro.  Lets use Alt-Z  (Hold down the Alt key and press the Z key).  The keys will appear in the Press new shortcut key box.
  7. Click Close.
  8. Now a little box appears in the upper left hand side of your screen.  There are 2 buttons in the box:  a square – the Stop button, and a circle with 2 lines – the Pause Recording button.
  9. Now it’s time to type the keystrokes you want to use for your macro – let’s make a signature block.  So…
    Type your name (press enter)
    Type your address (press enter)
    Type you city, state, zip code (press enter)
    Type your telephone number (press enter)
    Type your email address (press enter)
  10. That’s it – click on the Stop button in the little macro control box.  The box disappears.  You have just completed your first macro – real cool!

 Now – try it out.  Just press the keys you assigned to the macro –  Alt-Z.  Presto!!!   The text you assigned to the macro appears instantly.


One last thing – you can delete macros that you no longer want by clicking Tools, then clicking on Macro, then select Macro (or use the shortcut key Alt-F8).  Click on the macro you want to delete and click on Delete.


You can add a macro that you created that uses a keyboard shortcut to the toolbar (Standard or Formatting).  Follow these steps:

  1. Click on the little down arrow at the end of the Standard Tool (or Formatting Toolbar).
  2. Point to Add or remove buttons.
  3. Click on Customize
  4. In the left box, scroll down until you see the word Macro – click on it. 
  5. The macros that you have created appear in the right boxDrag the macro you want to the toolbar (Standard or Formatting) – place it anywhere you want in the toolbar. 
  6. Click on Close

 Now you can use the Macro by clicking on it in the Toolbar.  Very Cool!


To remove it from the toolbar, repeat steps 1 through 4 above.  Then drag the macro in the toolbar back to the box on the right hand side of the window.