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Don’t Mouse Around; Use Shortcut Keys

I really love shortcut keys and I hate having to use the mouse more than is necessary. The mouse is just plain slower, and in any kind of production work—including the clearing of revision marks and comments—taking my hand from the keyboard to use the mouse seems like a waste of time to me. But I realize that not everyone feels as strongly as I do.

Apparently some of those who disagree with me work in development at Microsoft. There is only one built-in shortcut for tracking: the Revision Marks toggle, Ctrl+Shift+E. So if you like shortcut keys, or if you do frequent revisions on long documents, it’s a good idea to build your own shortcuts by recording keyboard macros.

Recording a macro is similar to recording any other snippet:

  1. Press record.
  2. Arrange for a playback mechanism.
  3. Execute your task.
  4. Stop recording.

Then you use your specified keys to play back the result whenever you need it.

So here are the four macros I want to create, with their assigned keyboard shortcuts.

Number

Name

Shortcut

macro1

Next Revision

Alt+.

macro2

Previous Revision

Alt+,

macro3

Accept Change

Alt+A

macro4

Reject Change/Delete Comment

Alt+Z

Alas, macros are truly stupid critters. They mimic exactly the process you record. So if you 1) press record, 2) arrange for a playback mechanism, and 3) choose Next in the Revisions menu, but your document currently has no revisions, you’ll get an error message reminding you of that fact, and your macro will be ruined. As a result, I had to specify a slightly different setup for each macro. Let’s walk through the process. Start by opening a document that already has some text. Make sure that the Reviewing toolbar is displayed and revision marks are turned on (press Ctrl+Shift+E or choose Tools > Track Changes). Then follow this procedure, going through the process four times, once for each macro.

  1. Set up your macro. Depending on which macro you’re setting up, choose from these procedures:
    • macro1: Introduce a revision into the text. Place the cursor a few words before the revision. Then go to step 2.
    • macro2: Introduce a revision into text. Place cursor a few words after the revision. Then go to step 2.
    • macro3: Select a revision in the text. Then go to step 2.
    • macro4: Select a revision in the text.
  2. Choose Tools > Macro > Record New Macro to open the Record Macro dialog box. Type a name for your macro that has no blanks or other special characters (see Figure 7). I used these shortened versions:
    • macro1: NextRevMark
    • macro2: LastRevMark
    • macro3: AcceptChange
    • macro4: RejectChange
  3. Store the macro in all documents (Normal.dot).
  4. Click the keyboard icon (rather than OK) to launch the Customize Keyboard dialog box (see Figure 8).
  5. Click in the Press New Shortcut Key field and press your desired keyboard combination:
    • macro1: Press Alt+. (for next rev mark)
    • macro2: Press Alt+, (for last/previous rev mark)
    • macro3: Press Alt+A (to accept the change)
    • macro4: Press Alt+Z (to reject the change)
    Figure 7

    Figure 7 Type the macro name and click Keyboard.

    Figure 8

    Figure 8 Press the shortcut keys on your keyboard to register them in the text box.

  6. Click Assign and then click Close. The cursor will change from an arrow to a cassette to indicate that you’re now recording, and the (very small) Macro toolbar will appear near the upper-left corner of your document page.
  7. In the Revisions toolbar (see Figure 9), click one of the following tools:
    • macro1: Next
    • macro2: Previous
    • macro3: Accept Change
    • macro4: Reject Change
    Figure 9

    Figure 9 Click the appropriate tool.

  8. Click the Stop Recording button to complete the macro.

When you’re finished, you’ll have four keyboard macros that should cut your revision time per document in half. Just use your saved time wisely. Take a break. Find a window. Get your head out of the text.

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