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Launch a Shortkey Macro

While Macro Express runs, it watches everything you type looking for the keystrokes needed to activate a shortkey macro. As it watches, it needs to distinguish what is and what is not a shortkey so a shortkey is not activated when you do not expect it. For example, if you have a shortkey activated when you type hte to correct the common mistyping of the, you do not want it to activate when you type words such as fighter, daughter or brighten.

Macro Express has several options that allow you to customize how it detects a shortkey. With the Use prefix keys option you type something in front of the shortkey activation. With the Use suffix keys option you type something after the shortkey activation. And, if you choose the right types of shortkey activations, you may not need either a prefix or a suffix.


Use prefix keys



In the illustration above, the Prefix keys are set to //. The prefix must be typed before each shortkey. For example, if the shortkey activation is test you must type / / t e s t to activate the shortkey.

The Prefix keys may contain two keys, one key or may be blank. Leave it blank to activate shortkey macros by typing the shortkey macro without any prefix or suffix. Most, but not all, characters are allowed as Prefix keys. The few that are disallowed may be changed in the preferences. Click Options, Preferences, Activations and then the Shortkeys tab.

Solitary usage

The Solitary usage option indicates that a shortkey will be recognized only when the shortkey is preceded by Space, Enter or one of the Solitary usage separator characters.

Let's look at some examples to illustrate what this means. For these examples the Shortkey activation is red and macro is set to type A bright color.

Solitary usage: On

Type F r e d and the shortkey will not play back. Why? Because of the F. The replacement will not take place when we type Fred.

If we press Space and then type r e d the replacement text will be typed.

Solitary usage: Off

When the Solitary usage option is turned off, a shortkey macro will be recognized whenever the shortkey text is typed even if it is part of another word. When we type F r e d the shortkey activates and types out FA bright color.


Use suffix keys



To activate a shortkey macro when the Use suffix keys option is enabled, type the shortkey and then press either Space or Enter.

For example, if the shortkey is test, type t e s t followed by Space or Enter to activate the macro.

Solitary usage

The Solitary usage option indicates that a shortkey will be recognized only when the shortkey is preceded by Space, Enter or one of the Solitary usage separator characters.

Let's look at some examples to illustrate what this means. For these examples the shortkey activation is set to red and the macro is set to type A bright color.

Solitary usage: On

Type F r e d followed by Space or Enter and the shortkey macro will not play back. Why? Because of the F. The replacement will not take place when we type Fred.

If we press Space and then type r e d followed by Space or Enter the replacement text will be typed.

Solitary usage: Off

When the Solitary usage option is turned off, a shortkey will be recognized whenever the shortkey text is typed even if it is part of another word. When we type F r e d and then Space or Enter the shortkey activates and types out FA bright color.

Use punctuation characters

If the Use punctuation characters option is enabled, a punctuation key such as . , : ; ? ! and - may also be used as a suffix key. For example, if the shortkey contains test, you could type t e s t . or t e s t , or t e s t ?.


Should I choose the Use prefix keys or Use suffix keys option?


There is no right or wrong answer. This is more a matter of personal preference. But here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding.

Use prefix keys

If you select this option and choose not to assign any Prefix keys, you need to be careful what you use for a shortkey. Otherwise you may accidentally activate a shortkey macro when you do not intend to. Using prefix keys such as //, z, q or # will help minimize the risk of accidental shortkey macro playback.

You will also need to use some caution with the shortkey naming convention that you use. Suppose you assign shortkey activations of b1 through b9. Using the Use prefix keys option you would not be able to assign shortkeys to b10 or later. This is because as soon as you typed b1 and before you could type the 0, your b1 shortkey macro would run.

Use suffix keys

Make sure that the shortkey activations that you create are strings that you would not typically type. Otherwise the shortkey macros may play back when you do not expect. If using Macro Express to insert passwords, you may need to backspace one character when Use suffix keys is used.

If you are familiar with Word’s autocorrect feature, the Use suffix keys option works in a similar manner.


Specific Examples


Here are examples that demonstrate how to activate a shortkey macros with the different combinations of settings:

Use prefix keys with Prefix keys
Use prefix keys with Prefix keys and Solitary usage
Use prefix keys with blank Prefix keys
Use prefix keys with blank Prefix keys and Solitary usage
Use suffix keys
Use suffix keys and Use punctuation characters
Use suffix keys and Solitary usage
Use suffix keys, Solitary usage and Use punctuation characters


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