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January 31, 2007

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Contents
  1 - Macro Express v 3.6
  2 - Macro Express website updated
  3 - Macro Express and Internet Explorer 7
  4 - Macro Express and Windows Vista
  5 - Tip: Temporarily Suspend Macro Express
  6 - Tip: Attach Thread Input in Window Activation
  7 - Tip: Browser navigation
  8 - User Submitted Macros: RGB Color Evaluator
  9 - User Submitted Macros: Timers
 10 - Sample Macro: Move to System Tray icon when System Tray is collapsed
 11 - Sample Macro: Get CPU information
 12 - Past issues of the Macro Express News


1 - Macro Express v 3.6

Macro Express 3 version 3.6 has been released and is now available for download from www.macros.com/download.htm. All licensed Macro Express 3 users can download and install this update without cost. This version contains several new features and many bug fixes. This version is more stable than previous versions. We recommend that you install this update. Changes include:
  • Added Windows Vista to the If OS Version command.
  • Added support for latest versions of Cisco VPN equipment.
  • The installer has been updated and revised to optimize default installs.
  • Change the default option for network mode to "on".
  • If File Locking of Macro Files is disabled and the macro file is on a network drive, then File Locking of Macro Files gets automatically enabled.
  • Enhanced the ASCII File Begin Process command to list the record and field number if a syntax error is found.
View a complete list of changes here by visiting www.macros.com/rev3_6.htm.


2 - Macro Express website updated

The Macro Express website has been redesigned and updated. Our main priorities were to simplify the site to make it easier to navigate and find information, to update the design with a more a modern look and feel, but without resource intensive features such as Shockwave or Flash. A new sitemap page has been added making it easier to find web pages within the site.

We welcome comments and suggestions about our web sites, Macro Express and our other products.


3 - Macro Express and Internet Explorer 7

Your macros may need to be updated to work with Internet Explorer 7.

One customer reports "IE 7 changed from saying 'Microsoft Internet Explorer' to 'Windows Internet Explorer' in the title bar, so I had to change my Wait for Window Title commands. Thanks to this customer for pointing this out.

Another change you need to make to your macros is to add a delay after certain keystrokes such as TAB and Enter. The knowledgebase article www.macros.com/faq//3.45.html describes this in more detail and has other suggested solutions.

Because of a new security feature in Internet Explorer 7 when running on Windows Vista, Macro Express will not run without turning off the protected mode in IE7. To do this click on Tools, Internet Options, Security tab in IE7. There should be a check box to turn the protected mode on or off. With this feature enabled, all keyboard hooks are blocked in IE7. Macro Express uses the keyboard hooks to monitor and send keystrokes. You need to restart IE7 for the change to take effect.


4 - Macro Express and Windows Vista

The 'If OS Version' command has been modified to include Windows Vista. You may need to modify any macros that use the 'If OS Version' command.

Windows Vista introduces many new security features. One of these is User Account Protection or UAP. UAP prevents one program from interfering with another program. From a security standpoint, this is a good thing. According to Microsoft, "Windows Vista is the most secure and trustworthy Windows operating system yet." This security comes at a cost, however.

When UAP is enabled additional dialogs pop up when programs run. Another thing that UAP does is to prevent a program getting certain information about other programs that are running on Vista. This affects certain Macro Express commands. For example, when you want to set the Scope for a macro, there is a button that lists the programs that are running. This allows the user to select one of the programs to limit the Scope of a macro to that program. When UAP is enabled, not all running programs are listed because Vista hides them.

We are exploring ways to get around this and other issues with Windows Vista.


5 - Tip: Temporarily Suspend Macro Express

This tip comes from our Technical Support Department at Insight Software Solutions. A customer writes "There should be a keystroke that tells Macro Express NOT to perform the macro associated with the keystroke immediately clicked. Sometimes a program requires a keystroke that you have a macro assigned to."

There are three ways to temporarily prevent the activation of macros.

The first method uses the mouse. Right-click on the Macro Express icon in the system tray and click 'Suspend Macro Express'. Later, right-click on the Macro Express icon in the system tray and click 'Resume Macro Express'.

The second method uses a HotKey. Pressing Ctrl-Alt-Shift-U will suspend or resume Macro Express. You can change the HotKey assigned to this, and other System macros, by right-clicking on 'Suspend / Resume Macro Express' in the Macro Explorer window and clicking properties.

The third method takes advantage of the fact that Macro Express 3 will only run one macro at a time. If Macro Express 3 is busy running a macro it will not respond to a keystroke that activates a different macro. So, you could create a macro that simply puts up a Text Box or a Message Box that says something like 'Macro Express is busy'. Then, after pressing the keystroke in your application, you can close the Text or Message Box.

You can contact our friendly technical support people by email at info@wintools.com.


6 - Tip: Attach Thread Input in Window Activation

Here is another tip from the Technical Support Department files. One customer wrote that "Macro Express loses focus while using [popup or floating] menus." Another wrote "Using the Activate Window command with a partial title results in the window title bar becoming active, but the window itself is not the top window displayed."

Both of these users found that the 'Attach Thread Input in Window Activation' option fixed the problems they were experiencing.

When a macro tries to set focus to a specific window, Macro Express sends a message to Windows requesting that the window be activated. Sometimes Windows does it properly and sometimes it does not. There may be several reasons for this but one main reason is that Microsoft tries to avoid the case where you are working on one window and unexpectedly another window pops up. This can be very distracting and, depending on the application, destructive. Of course, if a macro is trying to activate a different Window, you most likely want to allow it. The difficulty for Windows is knowing when it should be allowed and when it should be prevented.

There are two Macro Express features that can help Windows know that it should allow a window to be activated and consequently, allow macros to run more reliably. These are the 'Attach Thread Input in Window Activation' and 'Sent HotKey in Window Activation'. Click Options, Preferences, Miscellaneous to enable or disable these options.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict whether either of these features should be enabled. It all depends on how Windows is configured, the speed of your computer, and to some extent, how the application you are automating is written.

If the Window Activate commands in your macros are working properly, then we recommend that you leave these options disabled. If, however, you are having trouble, you may try enabling one or the other of them.

Additional information about these options can be found in the Knowledgebase article www.macros.com/faq//3.29.html.


7 - Tip: Browser navigation

We maintain an extensive database of feature requests and bug reports. Each request is read and evaluated. Not all features are implemented. But often, as is the case in the following example, we are able to provide an alternate way of accomplishing what is requested.

A customer writes "Somewhere in the Internet Explorer category, can you add a feature to click 'Back', 'Forward', 'Refresh', 'Stop', etc?"

We investigated and considered this request extensively. On one hand we understand how convenient commands like this would be. On the other hand, if we add special commands for Internet Explorer then we would have requests to add special commands for Firefox, Netscape, Opera, and all the other browsers. And, we may have to implement different commands for different versions of each browser. And then, requests would be made for special sets of commands for other applications.

One of the strengths of Macro Express is that it contains dozens of general purpose commands that can be combined to accomplish nearly any task. So, considering this, how can we accomplish what the user asks?

It turns out that Internet Explorer already responds to a variety of keys to perform special functions. Macro Express's Text Type command can be used to send these keystrokes and thus perform things like 'Back', 'Forward', 'Refresh', etc.

Here is a partial list of shortcuts that work in Internet Explorer and Firefox:
  Back - Alt+Left Arrow or Backspace
  Forward - Alt+Right Arrow
  Refresh - F5 or Ctrl+R
  Stop - ESC

Most applications, including other browsers, have similar shortcuts. To find what shortcuts are available in a specific application you should search the program's documentation or the web (Google is your friend!) for 'shortcuts', 'keyboard shortcuts', or 'shortcut keys'.

We welcome feature requests. All requests are considered. The best way to request a feature is via our 'Request a Feature' web page found at www.macros.com/requestfeature.htm.

This tip can be found in Knowledgebase article www.macros.com/faq//6.13.html.


8 - User Submitted Macros: RGB Color Evaluator

Nathan Kelson says "Since you don't have a pixel color naming macro, I made one and I would like to submit it to the user submission page.

"This macro allows you to evaluate a pixel color based off of the color name rather than an integer value that may change."

Read a more detailed description of the macro and download them from this web page: www.macros.com/usermacs/umrgbcolorevaluator.htm.

Nathan wins a Macro Express T-shirt for his submission.


9 - User Submitted Macros: Timers

"This macro set," says Edward K. Downing, "is my current use of Macro Express to pop timers for doctor appointments, blood donation, streamed radio shows, home maintenance, background program execution, webcam capture on a fixed interval, that is to say, any event for which I can schedule the time. Several of the timers pop TextPad on timers.txt and search for a string in that file. Use your favorite text editor and adjust the search command. I offer these as examples, make your own set."

Read a more detailed description of the macro and download them from this web page: www.macros.com/usermacs/umtimers.htm.

Edward wins a Macro Express T-shirt for his submission.


10 - Sample Macro: Move to System Tray icon when System Tray is collapsed

Every now and then someone writes or calls our Technical Support department about the Mouse Move to Tray icon command. The problem is that the tray is collapsed. I wrote a macro that has the ability to expand the tray before moving the mouse to a specific Tray Icon. This is a great macro that solves a common problem. Thanks to Jason for sharing it. You can download this macro from www.macros.com/usermacs/umtrayicon.htm.


11 - Sample Macro: Get CPU information

A customer requested 'A command to detect 64-bit systems'. After some research we found that Windows stores information about the CPU in the Windows Registry. This macro retrieves a description of up to 4 CPU(s).

Download umdisplaycpuinformation from: www.macros.com/usermacs/umdisplaycpuinformation.htm.


12 - Past issues of the Macro Express News

Are you a new subscriber to the Macro Express News email newsletter? Did you miss an issue? Past newsletters are available online at www.macros.com/newsletters/MENews.htm.


Comments and Suggestions

We welcome customer feedback. Let us know what you like and dislike about Macro Express. Send questions, comments and suggestions:

Insight Software Solutions Home Page:
  www.wintools.com

Macro Express Home Page:
  www.macros.com

Email:
  info@wintools.com

Mail:
  Insight Software Solutions, Inc.
  PO Box 106
  Kaysville, Utah 84037-0106

Thank you,
The Macro Express Development Team

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