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Mayor / Maire

HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

I don't think the community has a guide yet for using macros to simplify posting routine content over and over.  You may or may not even be aware that such a feature currently exists.  Let me try to do a mini-guide.

 

 

First off, what are macros?

 

Macros in the PM community are a way to store some text so that you can insert that text into a reply (or a new thread) in a couple of clicks.  You can store some "boilerplate" info that you can insert easily into future postings without needing to retype, or copy and paste from somewhere else.

 

 

Why would I want to use one?

 

Do you find you often end up saying the same thing to people when trying to help?  Examples: 

  • instructions on how to PM the moderators
  • maybe you want to include a "signature" at the bottom of all your posts but the (automatic) signature feature is only available to oracles and not regular community members?

Macros make including text like this (I'm sure there are other scenarios too) easy to insert into your post, and unlikely to contain errors (once you've ironed out your macro contents).

 

Macros are available anywhere you are signed into the community--on your PC browser(s), your phone browser(s), etc.  They're available anytime you are posting a new thread or a reply.

 

 

How do I use a Macro I've defined?

 

Click Reply on an existing thread, or Start New Thread in a forum listing.  You can type up some stuff as usual, and when you want to insert your "boilerplate" text, like this:

 

Using Macros 1.png

 

Once you have at least one Macro defined, you will see a Macros dropdown.  Click it, and select the boilerplate text you want to insert into your message.  For example, here's my list.  i'm going to select the first one, which inserts my boilerplate info for contacting the moderator team:

 

 

Using Macros 2.png

 

Once you select the macro, the text is appended (inserted into) your message body:

 

Using Macros 3.png

 

Once it's there, you can tweak the contents if you need to, or type more stuff above or below it.  You could insert another boilerplate such a signature by clicking into the message body where you want it to go, and usng the Macro dropdown again to select an additional macro boilerplate, and so on.

 

Then, click the Post button to post your message as you normally would.  So easy!

 

 

How do I create/define Macros to use in posts?

 

You can create up to 9 macros.  They can be a little tricky, so let's walk you through this.  You can find macros in your community settings, by clicking on your avatar near the top of the Community pages, and clicking on My Settings:

 

Creating Macros 1.png

 

Next, click on the Macros tab text, and you will see a list of your macros.  Yours will all be blank if you haven't created any, but here you can see some of mine:

 

Creating Macros 2.png

 

The Title for each macro is just the label that shows in your Macros dropdown when posting.  Use something that's easy for you to identify.  Nobody else will see the titles.

 

If you don't want any formatting, then you can just type the text in and click the Save button at the bottom of the Macros list (after Macro 9).  If you're fine with plain text, then you can move on to the How do I test my new or updated Macro text? heading below.


If you want formatted text however, this is where it gets slightly tricky.  The macro editor doesn't give you the "rich text" editor that you see when posting (buttons for bold, italics, number and unnumbered lists, etc).  You have to insert HTML "markup" text into the macro body if you want formatted text.  For example, have a look at the <b> (for bold), <ul> (for unordered list>, and <li> (list item) tags visible in my Macro 1 body above.  Now, if you're familiar with HTML markup, go ahead and hand-write this text if you like.  On the other hand, if you're not comfortable with that, don't despair.  There's a workaround.

 

Open up a new tab in your browser, navigate to any forum list (Getting Started, Discussions, etc) and click the Start a Topic button.  Use the rich editor (with the formatting controls at the top) to write and format the text that you want to include in your macro body:

 

Creating Macros 3.png

 

Once you're happy with how that text looks, click the "HTML" tab above the formatting controls to see the HTML markup that creates that nicely formatted text:

 

Creating Macros 4.png

 

Now, highlight (select) all the HTML markup in the posting body, right-click anywhere in the text, and choose Copy to put the markup on your clipboard.  Next, importantly, click the Cancel button below the Post button, so you don't actually create this new posting.  We only wanted it long enough to put the HTML on your clipboard, we didn't want to actually post it.

 

Creating Macros 5.png

 

Now, go back to the tab with My Settings open, and paste the HTML from your clipboard into the Macro body that you want to create.  In my example, I'm using @Luddite's contacting moderators text to illustrate the process, and I'm creating it as Macro 5 since I already have 4 previous macros defined:

 

Creating Macros 6.png

 

This puts the HTML you copied into the macro body, as shown here:

 

Creating Macros 7.png

Finally, scroll down past Macro 9 and click the Save button:

 

Creating Macros 8.png

 

Your macro is now created!  You can always edit it to tweak things if you need to upon testing it, or down the road if you need to edit it.  Just follow the same steps to create the formatted version and copy the HTML to your clipboard.  

 

 

How do I test my new or updated Macro text?

 

Open up a new tab in your browser, navigate to any forum list (Getting Started, Discussions, etc) and click the Start a Topic button. In the message body, use the Macros dropdown to select your new macro and see what it inserts into your message:

 

Testing Macros 1.png

 

You will see your shiny new Macro test inserted into the body:

 

Testing Macros 2.png

 

Don't forget to click Cancel when you are done, to abandon this test posting, as it was just to test your Macro.

 

If all looks good, you are done, and can start using this Macro (as described near the top of this guide) whenever you want.  If you notice any issues, go back and revise the Macro text in your My Settings and re-test as needed until it looks right.  

 

 

End of Guide

 

This concludes the guide.  Let me know if you have any questions or anything you want added or clarified.  Cheers!

 

EDITED:  was missing a picutre


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Tags (2)
jp2
Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

Awesome thanks @srlawren

@mod_team please review and add to approved articles 

Oracle

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

 

 

@srlawren

Nice work.  Smiley Happy

 

That's actually how I was doing it, at least back when I was more active.  You've revealed the secret to our productivity.  LOL

Mayor / Maire

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

@SD08 LOL I'm an awful magician, but a good community member.  Smiley Wink 

 

In all sincerity, there's no reason everyone shouldn't be made aware of this feature, should they choose to use it.


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Oracle

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

@srlawren

You gave up your oracle position, yet you're still posting tutorials.  Props to you, good sir!  Umm...remind me again why you resigned?  Smiley Tongue

Town Hero / Héro de la Ville

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

Ask MOD to sticky it, awesome work @srlawren hats offd27425.jpg

 

Mayor / Maire

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text


@SD08 wrote:

@srlawren

Umm...remind me again why you resigned?  Smiley Tongue


@SD08 so I wouldn't have to keep posting tutorials like th....ah crud.  Hahahaha.  


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Deputy Mayor / Adjoint au Maire

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

@srlawren, awesome, thanks for sharing!

Mayor / Maire

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text

@jp2 @sheytoon @Wonder_why thanks for the kind words!

 

@SD08 suggestion:  maybe edit that one reply where you quoted my whole massive guide and remove the quoted text?  


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Oracle

Re: HOWTO: Create and use Macros for repetitive text


@srlawren wrote:

@jp2 @sheytoon @Wonder_why thanks for the kind words!

 

@SD08 suggestion:  maybe edit that one reply where you quoted my whole massive guide and remove the quoted text?  


Done


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