20-Minute Macro Course

3479600071_e07268c21f_mFree 20-Minute Macro Course

by C.K. MacLeod

Do you have 20 minutes to learn something new?

Macros may seem scary at first, but they’re really not that difficult to use. And they can help you to see things in your writing that you’d not otherwise see.*

What You’ll Need

  • Microsoft Word—I use Word 2016, so instructions for other versions of Word may be different. Word 2008 cannot run macros: sorry Mac users.
  • 20 minutes
  • A can-do attitude

The Shortest Macro Course Ever

Here are the steps:

  1. Read Improve Your Writing with Macros to learn what macros are and what they can do for your writing. (4 minutes)
  2. Read Enable Word to Run Macros to be sure the Developer tab is showing in the ribbon. (4 minutes)
  3. Watch a video to learn how to add a macro. (1 minute)
  4. Watch a video to learn how to run a macro. (1 minute)
  5. Add and run a macro in Microsoft Word. Copy and paste the script from the NeedlessWords macro into Word’s VBA. Run the macro on your writing. Amazing, right? (10 minutes)
  6. Type the word “macro” into the search function on this blog for more macros that you can try. (free play!)

And that’s it. It’s not as scary as you think, is it? Feel free to let me know how it went.

If you’re having trouble getting macros to work, see Troubleshooting Word Macros, by Sarah Pike.

Want to learn more? Sign up for the Tool of the Month group. Also, see this site’s menu for more tips and learning opportunities.

Hat tip to my editing colleague, Cat London, who inspired me to write this short course for time-pressed editors (and writers).

Image by Derek Jensen

6 thoughts on “20-Minute Macro Course”

    1. You can run the macros from this blog in any version of Word, except for 2008. So, if you’re on a Mac and you have Word installed, you’re good to go.

  1. I’m still running Word 2003, but it suits my needs, I’m well familiar with it, and it runs even on my Win10 64 bit in a shell.
    Yet, ‘everybody’ seems to work with 2010 [or newer]. Looks like I have to make the jump, and finally go for a newer MS Word than the one I have for years. 🙁
    I handled newer [.docx] files with SoftMaker’s Office suite for years, and their Office Suite is 100 percent MS compatible when it comes to opening, editing, and saving files.
    The only downside is that your cool Word macros cannot be applied to their tools of course.
    Any recommendation about which newer MS Word version is recommendable with the exception of the cloud? I reject the cloud versions, regardless of MS or Adobe. 🙂
    Scrivener is my most used tool anyway, while Word is either used for polishing [my own] manuscripts or for business letters.

    1. Hans,
      I was a Word 2003 hold-out as well. It was a reliable and stable version, and I knew where everything was. 😉 But I eventually had to move on to 2010 so I could accomplish, with ease, more sophisticated editing tasks. I skipped 2007 (a good plan) and went directly to 2010. Much to my surprise, once I got my head around the ribbon interface, I found that I preferred 2010 to 2003. So, if you’re looking for a stable version of Word that you don’t have to subscribe to, you could try and acquire a copy of 2010. Stay away from 2013. It’s ridiculously buggy.

      I’m currently using 2016, but I don’t have to pay for the subscription. I have heard that you may be able to get a hard copy of 2016. It is, in my opinion, the best version of Word so far. But for most, it might be more than you need.

      If you’re simply writing, a copy of Word with a docx extension will do you fine. When you send your document to your editor, you won’t have too many translation problems (unless you’re on a Mac, but that’s another topic for another time). If your bread and butter is editing, you’ll want 2016.

      Best of luck,

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