Macro Express News

June 2, 2014

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Macro Express Pro v

Macro Express Pro v is now available from This release of Macro Express Pro contains many enhancements and bug fixes including:

  • The Text Type command has been improved to make typing text more reliable.
  • It is now possible to set the starting folder used by the ‘Variable Set String Prompt for a foldername’ command by setting the destination variable to the starting folder.
  • Improved matching window titles when using wildcards in the Window Activate and other similar commands.
  • Added the option ‘Delete temporary external script file’. Turn this off to aid in debugging by keeping the temporary script file created when the External Script command runs.
  • Updated samples.mex to add Welcome to Macro Express dialog, add a macro to Disable or Enable the Menu of Sample Macros and other improvements.
  • Fixed a problem that occurred where if a macro file was temporarily unavailable when Macro Express Pro Explorer was loaded, a new file with 0 bytes was created.
  • Fixed a problem that caused the preferences and the list of macro files to be loaded to be corrupted after certain types of crashes.
  • Fixed an issue where the program would not completely shut down when certain types of crashes occurred. When this happened the only way to completely close the program was via Task Manager.
  • Fixed a problem that would occur if a timed Text Box Display command was automatically closed while a macro error dialog was displayed.
  • Attempting to drag a macro to the System Category will no longer cause a crash.
  • Fixed a crash that would occur if the keys were pressed when the Code Snippets were displayed.

A complete list of changes is available on the Revision History page.

Shared Macros - Type the Time, Swap Monitors and Activate or Launch Notepad

While macros that perform many complex steps can save a great deal of time and improve productivity, often simple, frequently used macros, can save just as much or more. Here are three examples of simple, useful macros submitted by Macro Express users that you might find yourself using many times per day.

Anthony Muller shares a macro to type a date/time stamp. He says “The simplicity of this Macro belies its usefulness. It types the time in the format yyyy-mm-dd in a chronologically and lexicographically consistent format. It is handy for stamping a time reference on notes or document edits, or for naming files or logs. When used consistently as either a prefix or a suffix to a filename, the resultant files will remain in chronological order even when you sort by filename.”

Download the macro Type the Time here.

David Taylor has shared two macros. He says “Long-time fan of Macro Express, and have been using Pro for quite a while. I have around 130 active macros that I’ve made to automate just about everything I do, and rave about it to anyone who asks, every chance I get!

“I figured it was about time to share a couple of my macros. Many of my macros are well over 40 lines, and extremely intricate, however they don’t lend themselves to sharing with others as they’re quite specialized for me personally. I’ve been a programmer for the past 32+ years, with experience in 15 programming and scripting languages in addition to Macro Express. I find programming (including scripting macros) relaxing and generally quite fun.

“That said, I’m sending you 2 of my macros, in the hopes of helping someone else out – and in the hopes of receiving a T-shirt.”

The macro Activate or Launch Blank (New) Notepad launches a new copy of Notepad, sets it to a specific size and centers it on your monitor. Download it here.

The Swap Monitors for Current Window macro (Macro Express Pro only) is useful for those who have multiple monitors. It moves the current window to the next monitor. Download it here.

David and Anthony will receive a Macro Express T-shirt for their submissions. Thank you, gentlemen, for sharing!

Debugging the External Script command

The External Script command is used to call scripts written in other languages such as Java Script (JScript), Visual Basic Script (VBScript) and HTML for Applications (HTA) from within a Macro Express Pro macro. This allows you to take advantage of features in those script languages.

When the External Script command runs, it creates a temporary file in your temp folder. This temporary file has a format of mxescr###.vbs or mxescr###.js where ### is a unique numeric value and the file extension is appropriate for the script language being used.

Macro Express Pro variables can be included in the External Script command. When the External Script command runs the values contained in the Macro Express variables are placed into the script.

When debugging scripts written in the External Script command it is useful to be able to see what is being passed to the script program. Macro Express Pro now has an option to choose whether or not to delete the temporary file created when the External Script command runs. To keep the file, disable “Delete temporary external script file” found in Options, Preferences, General on the Misc tab.

The knowledge base article “How do I debug the External Script command?” contains more information about debugging the External Script command.