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Recording a Keyboard Macro

To set up text-formatting styles as keyboard macros, I begin by choosing Format, Styles and Formatting to display the list of styles in the task pane. (This step isn't essential, just extremely convenient.) After that, here's how I set up a macro to apply Body Text style in all the documents I create:

  1. Choose Tools, Macro, Record New Macro to display the Record Macro dialog box shown in Figure 1.

  2. Figure 1Figure 1 Type information in this dialog box to identify your new macro.


  3. Type a name for your macro. Don't use blanks or other special characters. I used BodyText as the name for my macro in Figure 1.

  4. TIP

    When you get the hang of macros, you may find yourself creating dozens of them. It's important to assign macro names that are memorable and help to clue you in to exactly what each macro does.

  5. To make this macro available in all your documents, choose All Documents (Normal.dot) from the Store Macro In drop-down list.

  6. Add a description, if you like. (I recommend it.)

  7. DO NOT click OK. We're creating a macro that will be triggered with a keyboard sequence, so we need to assign the keyboard sequence before recording the macro. Click the Keyboard button in the middle of the dialog box. The Customize Keyboard dialog box opens (see Figure 2).

  8. Figure 2Figure 2 In this dialog box, specify the keyboard combo that will trigger your macro.


  9. Click in the Press New Shortcut Key field. Then press the key combination on your keyboard that you want to use for your new keyboard macro. I used Alt+B for my BodyText macro, as shown in the figure.


    Avoid replacing existing keyboard shortcut combinations. For example, Ctrl+S is used in many programs (such as Word) for the save function. This rule is especially important if you're not the only person who uses Word on your computer. Don't give other users an unpleasant surprise by assigning common keyboard shortcuts to some other function.

  11. Click Assign and then click Close.

  12. A miniature image of a cassette is added to the mouse pointer to indicate that Word is "recording" each action you take. The small Stop Recording toolbar also appears. On this toolbar, the left, square button is Stop Recording and the right is Pause/Resume Recording (see Figure 3).

    Figure 3Figure 3 This toolbar is only visible while you're recording a macro.


  13. In the task pane, click Body Text to apply the style.

  14. On the macro toolbar, click the Stop Recording button to complete the macro.

With the macro recorded, in any document you can click in or highlight text and press Alt+B to apply the Body Text style.

When you choose a keyboard shortcut to apply to your macro, there are a few things to consider. One thing I like to check is how comfortable it is for me to apply a keyboard macro. If it involves some awkward reaching, any ergonomic benefit goes right out the window. I also try to select something easy to remember. For this reason, I tend to choose Alt+B for Body Text, Alt+1 for Heading 1, Alt+2 for Heading 2, etc. After twelve years of using these shortcuts, I find that I can remember them fairly well.

In earlier incarnations of Word, I used the Ctrl key more frequently, but in more recent versions most of the Ctrl sequences seem already to be in use. Happily, I find that the Alt key is actually more comfortable, because I can roll my thumb under to press Alt for many combinations.

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