On the WordTips sites, I try to include a variety of tips which can help you improve how you use Word. Many of the tips I provide include suggestions on using macros to solve a problem or accomplish a task.
If you are not familiar with how to use macros, you may feel a little bit lost when the instructions or discussion moves toward macros. This is understandable, and it is doubtful that your disorientation will subside until you take the time to start learning how to work with macros, in general.
For absolute beginners, the best way to learn how to use macros is to either read a book or take a course. If you take the book approach, you'll want to look for a beginner's tutorial on the subject of macros. For example, here is one that I wrote:
You aren't limited to my book, however; there are many that are on the market. Here are a couple more that I picked, at random, from Amazon:
Note that one of those above specifically mentions Word 2007. Don't worry—if you are using a different version of Word, that book should still work for you. You see, the programming language used for macros is VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), and it has been essentially the same ever since the days of Word 97, and is still going strong today.
If you choose to go the route of taking an online course, I would humbly suggest my Beginning Word Macros Master Class. The doors to the course are not open all the time (I only accept students a couple of times each year), but I don't think your find a better course, for beginners, anywhere.
When you decide to start using macros with Word, there are two ways you can do it: You can either record a macro (using Word's built-in macro recorder) or you can create a macro from scratch. The following two tips will help you out with both of these approaches:
If you want to use any complete macros found on the WordTips sites, it is best to use the "from scratch" approach. You can tell if a macro is "complete" by whether or not it has the beginning "Sub" line and the ending "End Sub" line (in the case of a subroutine) or the beginning "Function" line and the ending "End Function" line (in the case of a function). For example, the following is a complete macro:
Sub AddParens() Selection.InsertBefore "(" Selection.InsertAfter ")" End Sub
To use such a macro, you would copy all the lines from the beginning "Sub" line through the ending "End Sub" line and paste it into the Visual Basic Editor.
If any of this still sounds confusing to you, then you really need to get ahold of a VBA tutorial (or a course) and start learning about macros. Remember—learning about macros takes time and patience, just like learning any other skill. Once you learn it, however, the way you use Word will never be the same again and you'll get much more out of the program.
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.
Visit the WordTips channel on YouTube
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."