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Weekly Computer Tip # 96
8 January 2005

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Assigning a macro to a button on your toolbar (Microsoft Office)

In tip # 92 (http://www.roem.co.uk/tip_92.html) we talked about automating repetitive tasks by creating macros. Learning to use macros is well worth the effort, as it will save you the time it would take to manually perform the same operations. (Let me know whether you automated any of your Tedious Tasks and how much time you feel you've saved doing so.) Well, as we've seen, Microsoft Office provides several methods for running macros (by either pressing the assigned shortcut key combination or using the Tools, Macro, Macros command) but as mentioned in tip # 92 there is an even nicer way to launch macros by customizing your toolbars and adding Macro buttons. Perhaps you even remember that was what Fiona, Carol, Malcolm and Davina were actually asking for and that I promised I'd save that for a later tip. Well, here it is ...

Let's say you want to add a button to your toolbar and assign last month's "print current page" Word macro to that button.

Here's how:

  1. Choose the Tools, Customize command to open the Customize dialog box.
  2. On the Commands tab of the Customize dialog box, select the Macros option in the Categories list.
  3. Find your macro in the Commands list, then press and hold down the mouse button and drag the new button to the immediate left of any button on the existing toolbars. (If you drag it to the far right of the toolbar, the mouse pointer will display an X and when you let go of the mouse button it won't add the new button.)

You now have a button with a wacky name such as "Normal.NewMacros.PrintCurrentPage". Here's how to rename it:

  1. Make sure you still have the Customize dialog box open. (If necessary choose the Tools, Customize command.) Right-click the macro button on your toolbar.
  2. Select the Name option on the shortcut menu that appears and type a new name. (For instance "Print Current Page".)

Next, why not get carried away a bit and assign an icon to your new button? Here's how:

  1. Select the Change Button Image option on the shortcut menu.
  2. Click any of the icons displayed.
  3. Click on the Close button to close the Customize dialog box.

Your macro button now has a descriptive name as well as an icon of your choice. And best of all, when you click it, it runs your macro!

As your macros grow in number, you may wish to create a special Macros toolbar from which all or a number of them can be accessed. But let's save that for some other time. (And as you can see ... I keep my promises!)

Until next week.

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January 2005