Do it faster, save time, store useful and important sequences of computer actions – all these are good reasons for using a macro recorder to record your actions and reproduce them at any time in the future. You can find macro recorders integrated with different applications or as standalone products, and with varying degrees of functionality. Whatever actions you want to record, the a good first tip is to define the result you want; write it down if your macro looks like being a long or complicated one, and plan out the sequence of actions. By breaking it up into manageable chunks, you can then start with the first chunk, add to it, add more to it and so on, checking each time that what you just did also works (work iteratively). This will let you get the most out of the following points below.
Take Stock of the Different Tools You Have Available
Whether you’re working in office automation applications or others, remember that a macro recorder should have functionality that allows you to record keyboard strokes, and mouse clicks and actions. It should also be able to display the macro you’re building and the possibility to play your macro back all at once, up to a certain point or line by line to check proper working – in other words, have sufficient debugging capability. However, some macro recorders go further than others; for example, a macro recorder such as the one from Automation Anywhere that handles objects, server routines and Flash image recognition, as well as all the functions just mentioned. Extended yet easy to use capabilities like this can lighten your workload if you want a macro recorder to handle interactions with an SQL database for example.
Tweak to Get Going Fast
Use your macro recorder to record a sequence of actions that you make manually using your keyboard and mouse. Then use the edit function to inspect, tweak or extend what you just recorded. It’s often easier and faster to improve a macro that exists rather than build one completely from scratch. And remember that you can also speed up initiation by assigning a hot key (‘Ctrl 6’ for example) to call up a macro, and boost its speed of execution by decreasing the delay in between the different steps you just recorded.
Be Smart About Starting and Finishing with a Macro Recorder
If you want to record a sequence of actions in a robust way (a sequence that won’t break easily when you replay the macro), concentrate on using keyboard actions where possible, rather than mouse actions. Start your macro by moving the screen cursor to a specific location, from which you then develop the rest of the macro actions. An example is to use the Ctrl + HOME to get the cursor to the beginning of a document. Good practice also includes making sure that the cursor also ends up in a suitable place when the macro finishes, especially if you plan on sequencing macros one after another. You may be able to get further tips by looking at how people use macros in other contexts.
Avoiding Macro Recorder Mouse Traps
While recording mouse actions, be wary of situations where the macro won’t be able to reproduce the effect you wanted. An example is clicking on an icon in an application screen to initiate an action. If another window has been called up in the meantime, your recorded mouse click may end up in a different place to the one you planned, and cause a different action to occur. For many mouse-initiated actions such as closing a window, keyboard sequences also exist (Alt F4 in this case) and may be surer.
There are few limits if any to what you can do with a macro recorder. You can even use it to rapidly build a script of actions to serve as a model for programming in other languages, translating the commands as you go. And the more time you save using a macro recorder, the more time you’ll have for other worthwhile activities like helping to plant trees for the future.
If you’d like to know how Automation Anywhere, the automation software with extensive easy-to-use macro recorder functionality, can help you save time and boost IT task performance, try a free trial to see what it can do for you.