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February 1, 2010

This is the online edition of the Macro Express News email newsletter. You can have future editions delivered directly to your email inbox. Visit the Macro Express News page to subscribe or to view past issues.


Macro Express v 3.8 ME
Macro Express v 3.8 is now available from http://www.macros.com/download.htm. We encourage everyone to use the latest version of Macro Express.

This version contains a number of changes including these major enhancements:

  • Improved support for Windows 7 and Windows 2008.
  • Support for 64 bit versions of Windows.
  • New backup options.
  • Restore Macro File menu option.
  • Added a 'Window Move and Size' command that will move and size a window in a single command.

A complete list of changes is available on the version 3.8 Release Notes or the Revision History pages.


Macro Express Pro v 4.1.5.1 ME Pro
Macro Express Pro v 4.1.5.1 is now available from http://www.macros.com/download.htm. We encourage everyone to use the latest version of Macro Express Pro.

This maintenance release of Macro Express Pro fixes a number of bugs including:

  • Fixed a crash that occurred when using the Logoff/Shutdown/Reboot commands with an automatic backup that displayed the backup status.
  • Fixed a bug on x64 systems where the window title activation was not reliable with 64-bit processes.
  • Fixed a bug in the 'ASCII File Begin Process' where the last line of the file was frequently skipped.
  • Fixed a conversion error in the 'If Variable' command that occurred when the 'Ignore Case' option was checked.
  • Fixed a lockup that occurred when displaying a dialog after using the 'Variable Set String: Prompt for Filename' command.
  • Fixed a crash when selecting a system macro that has no assigned hotkey.
  • Fixed a bug in the 'Repeat with Variable' command where a variable construct such as %T[%N[1]%]% was not processed correctly.
  • Fixed a bug in the 'If Variable' command where a variable construct such as %T[%N[1]%]% was not processed correctly.

A complete list of changes is available on the version 4.1.5.1 Release Notes or the Revision History pages.


Tip: Another way to launch Device Manager ME - ME Pro
After reading the Tip: Use Windows Shortcuts in your macros in the January 5, 2010 newsletter Gary Britt sent us another way to have a macro load Device Manager. He writes:

  Better than your suggestion on how to launch device manager run the program/file:

    C:\WINDOWS\system32\devmgmt.msc

You can do this with the Macro Express Program Launch command and tell it to launch the program:

    C:\WINDOWS\system32\devmgmt.msc.

Gary Britt
Macro Express user since version 2 and about 1999

This technique uses a component of the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). According to the MMC help file, it "hosts administrative tools that you can use to administer networks, computers, services, and other system components."

I was able to launch Device Manager on both Windows XP and Windows 7 using the shorter pathname of 'devmgmt.msc'. This technique can be used to launch other useful and interesting Windows tools.

  To open this Run this
  Computer Management compmgmt.msc
  Device Manager devmgmt.msc
  Disk Management diskmgmt.msc
  Event Viewer eventvwr.msc
  Shared Folders fsmgmt.msc
  Local Users and Groups lusrmgr.msc
  Services services.msc

Because we used Gary's tip, we will send him a Macro Express T-shirt.


Shared Macro: Define Word Take 5 ME - ME Pro
Once again we received a revision to the ever useful and popular Define Word macro. Originally submitted by Mark Bender in 2001 others have revised it in 2003, 2006, 2007 and now, in 2010.

Of the latest version, submitter Marshall Gatten says:

  "Previous versions were great, but they replaced the contents of your clipboard with the word you are looking up. This version keeps your clipboard intact by copying its contents to a variable before overwriting it, and then restoring the contents of that variable back to the clipboard when the Macro is finished. This version also uses a slightly different - and, in my opinion, slightly better - list of reference sites."

As I was checking Marshall's version of this macro I wondered if it could be improved even further. In 2001, when the Define Word macro was first published, Internet Explorer was used by the vast majority of Internet users. The only other mainstream browser was Netscape and its use was in decline. These days at least 5 browsers can be considered mainstream and many people are switching away from Internet Explorer and trying the alternatives.

I have five different browsers installed on my computers. They are used to check how our web pages look in each and also to make sure our programs run well with them. This made me wonder if the 'Define Word' macro could be revised to support any browser that is set as the default.

The biggest challenge was to come up with a reliable way to determine which browser was set as the default. There are many published techniques and we have even used some of them in our macros. However, many of the discovery methods stopped working with Windows Vista. The newly revised Defined Word macro contains a section that can detect the default browser for Windows 9x, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Even if you do not need this macro, you may want to look at how it detects the default browser.

Each submitter included their favorite list of online dictionaries. This new version of Define Word now includes 9 different sites to look up a word. You certainly do not need all 9 so I made it easy to choose which to use by simply disabling a line in the macro.

But, the best result for me, is that it is now much faster, at least when I am using Firefox. It turns out that the different browsers all differ in how quickly they will accept new page requests. Firefox and Chrome do not require any delay between page requests. Other browsers do. The details are in the macro itself.

For more information and to download this new, revised macro, visit the Define Word Take 5 page.

Marshall will receive a Macro Express T-shirt for his contribution.


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