Macro Express News

July 7, 2011

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 Pro v ME Pro

Macro Express Pro v is now available from This release of Macro Express Pro contains several enhancements and bug fixes including:
  • Added the ability to edit a macro specified in a Macro Run command from the right-click menu of the script editor.
  • Added the 'Do not process embedded variables' option to many of the Variable Set String and Variable Modify String commands.
  • Revised and enhanced the External Script command.
  • Revised Run Macro In Variable command.
  • Added an option to close open macro files when another macro file is opened.
  • Added an option to prevent a user closing a floating menu.
  • Added an option to not close a popup menu after running a macro.
  • Fixed a bug rounding negative numbers.
  • Fixed a bug with the Clear Variables clear all variables command.
  • Made several changes to improve CPU utilization and to prevent lockups when running on Windows 7.
  • Fixed a bug where the menu builder would get confused about the menu's structure.
A complete list of changes is available on the version Release Notes or the Revision History pages.

Optimizations improve stability ME Pro

In our ongoing efforts to improve performance and stability we have made changes in Macro Express Pro to reduce CPU utilization and reduce freezes. We have had reports of a problem where Windows freezes or starts running very slowly when Macro Express Pro is running, particularly with the 64 bit version of Windows 7. We discovered several separate causes for this and are publishing these guidelines to correct the problem. These changes are recommended regardless of which version of Windows you are using.

  1. Upgrade to Macro Express Pro v (or later, when available). We fixed a problem that could cause high memory usage under certain circumstances and made several other changes to improve stability.

  2. Turn off the 'Clipboard Hook' by unchecking the 'Use the clipboard hook' option found in Options, Preferences, Activations. This option will now default off for fresh installs of Macro Express Pro.

    Clipboard macro commands such as clipboard copy and paste will still operate normally with the clipboard hook disabled. The clipboard hook is used when you create clipboard activated macros. If you create a new macro with a clipboard activation the program will suggest that you turn the 'Use the clipboard hook' option back on.

  3. Turn off the 'Keyboard Remapping' hook by clicking the 'Disable keyboard remapping' option found in Options, Preferences, General and the Misc tab. This option will now default on (disabling remapping) for fresh installs of Macro Express Pro.

    The Remap Hook is needed if you use the Remap Keyboard feature. If you remap the keyboard by clicking Tools, Remap Keyboard then the program will suggest that you re-enable the Remap Hook.

  4. Make sure that you have applied all the latest Windows patches from Microsoft. Some of these patches improve the stability of Windows, particularly the 64 bit version of Windows 7, when running Macro Express Pro.

  5. If Windows seems to freeze up when running macros designed for a specific application, make sure that both that application and Macro Express Pro are running at the same permission level. That is, if the application is running as an administrator (with elevated privileges) make sure that Macro Express Pro is running as an administrator also. And if the application is running with lowered privileges, make sure that Macro Express Pro is too.

These changes reduce CPU utilization, use less memory and improve the stability of Windows and Macro Express Pro.

Macro Express Video Tutorials ME - ME Pro

Do you need to get up to speed quickly using Macro Express or Macro Express Pro? Perhaps you have been using Macro Express for a while but would like to learn about functionality that you have not tried. Do you want to know what a Window Control is and how to access a Window Controls from a macro? What is a ShortKey macro and how is one created? Do you know how to process data from a file containing ASCII text or comma separated values? View step-by-step instructions to learn how.

Tutorial videos are available for both Macro Express and Macro Express Pro and cover subjects such as Using Variables, Recording a Macro, Scheduled Macros, Macro Scopes and Window Controls.

Watch to discover new ways to automate your life. Watch to learn more about your favorite automation tool. Watch to learn about a part of Macro Express you are not familiar with.

External Script Command Enhancements ME Pro

A powerful feature of Macro Express Pro is the ability to use HTA/HTML, JavaScript or VBScript in your macros. The External Script command allows you to combine the features of these script languages with Macro Express macros. The latest version of Macro Express Pro contains many enhancements to aid in writing scripts in other languages.

The External Script command dialog is now resizable. It has improved syntax highlighting for each script language used. We have added the ability to search and replace. And it is easier to pass Macro Express variables to the called external script. All combine to make it easier to edit and use JavaScript, VBScript and HTA/HTML scripts from within Macro Express Pro.

We have created a collection of sample macros that demonstrate using each supported script language. To see what the External Script command can offer, download the External Scripts macro file, save it to your hard drive and load it into Macro Express Pro.

Multiple Input Forms ME Pro

Macro Express Pro has Variable Set commands to prompt the user to input a string, integer or decimal value. This works great for most macros. But what do you do if you need to have the macro request multiple values at one time? In 2004, Floyd P. Watergil of Macros LLC created a sample macro that does just that for Macro Express 3.

As part of our testing of the External Script command improvements, we rewrote Floyd's macro for Macro Express Pro. This macro demonstrates how to use the External Script and Load Macro Text File commands, HTA script, VBScript and how to create a playable macro.

To see the Multiple Inputs macro in action, download the Multiple Inputs macro file, save it to your hard drive and load it into Macro Express Pro.

Shared Macros that use the External Script Command ME Pro

Willy Vanhaelen sent a collection of three macros. Says he, "These 3 macros were originally created in Macro Express 3 but since I recently upgraded to Pro, I took advantage of the newly introduced External Script command to make an even more performant Pro version." These macros demonstrate how to use an environment variable to pass a text variable from Macro Express to VB script. Thank you for the excellent technique Willy!

Proper Case
It's quite easy to make an UPPER CASE or lower case macro since Macro Express provides the appropriate commands. This macro will convert a string to Proper Case where the first letter of each word is capitalized.

I sometimes have to reply to emails that contain a bunch of >> characters in front of each line of multiple cited messages which makes it rather unreadable. This macro gets rid of those annoying indents.

Title Widener
Sometimes I need to make a title, especially a short one, more prominent. This macro does it by inserting a space between each letter and making it upper case.

For more information and to download Willy's macros visit the Willy's Helpers page.

  Because we featured his macros in this newsletter we will send Willy a Macro Express T-shirt.
Thanks for sharing!

Run Macro In Variable ME Pro

The Run Macro in Variable command allows the contents of a variable to be loaded during the playback of a macro and executed as part of the macro. This can be used to change the behavior of your macro as it runs. When creating a macro that will run in a variable it needs to be written in ASCII format.

In the Script Editor, macro commands are displayed in an easily recognized and understood format. To achieve this simplicity, some of the details about each command are only displayed in the edit dialog for the macro command. In the Direct Editor, all details about each macro command are visible. When describing these two ways of viewing macros, we refer to them as the Script and ASCII representations.

Normally commands that deal with variables substitute the contents of a variable for the variable name. For example, %FirstName% will be changed to something like George. When using the Run Macro in Variable command, often the name of a variable is needed instead of the content of the variable. Up until now, the automatic substitution with the content of a variable has made it awkward to use the Run Macro in Variable command.

The option 'Do not process embedded variables' has been added to many of the Variable Set String and Variable Modify String commands. This makes it easier to create a variable that contains variable names for use in the Run Macro in Variable command.

We have added another method of specifying a variable name. If you surround the variable name with {%} then the content of the variable will not be used. Instead the name of the variable will be passed to the Run Macro in Variable command. If you include {%}FirstName{%} it will be changed to %FirstName% in the Run Macro in Variable command. If you include %FirstName%, the content of the variable will be passed to the Run Macro in Variable command.

Tip: Typing Unicode Characters ME Pro

In the November 2, 2010 edition of the Macro Express News the Rich Text feature was introduced. The Paste Rich Text option found in the Text Type command also allows you to play back Unicode characters.

To make this work, copy the Unicode characters from another application, paste them into the Text Type edit field with the Paste Rich Text option selected and save the change. When the macro runs, the Unicode characters are pasted into the receiving application.

Use this feature to paste Asian or Slavic language characters, symbols or other characters not part of the standard ANSII character set.

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