Use this Word macro to paste unformatted text quickly and easily

Are you looking for a better way to perform a series of keystrokes or mouse-clicks in Word? A macro may be just the answer. Here's a quick lesson on building a macro that can save you time and effort.

As community editor for the Support Republic, I spend a fair amount of my time preparing contributor submissions for publication. This part of my job requires me to repeatedly cut and paste unformatted text into Microsoft Word. Performing this special paste function takes at least four mouse-clicks. That may not sound like much, unless you have to repeat the task 50 times a day.

To speed up this process, I have created a custom macro with its own button and added it to my toolbar. Now I can paste unformatted text quickly and easily with the click of a button. This article will walk you through the macro creation process using Office 2000.

Map out your actions first
Regardless of your macro’s purpose, you’ll want to ensure you have each step mapped out before you begin. To create my macro for pasting unformatted text, I knew that it would require four specific mouse-clicks: Edit | Paste Special | Unformatted Text | OK. Figure A shows these mouse-clicks in order.

Figure A
A macro will consolidate these four steps into one click.

Recording the macro
After you have determined the steps you need to take, it’s time to record your macro. From within Word, click Tools | Macro | Record New Macro to display the Record Macro dialog box shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Next, enter the name of your macro (for example, Paste_Unformatted) and click OK. The Stop Recording toolbar will appear, and the cursor will change to an arrow and cassette (see Figure C).

Figure C

Now, click through each step in your process just as you normally would. When finished, click the Stop button from the Stop Recording toolbar. Your macro has been recorded.

Test your new macro
Now that your macro is recorded, you can access it by clicking on Tools | Macro | Macros or pressing [Alt][F8]. This displays the Macros dialog box shown in Figure D. From here, you can control your macros. It’s a good idea to run your new creation from this window a few times, making sure it works, before taking the time to place it on a toolbar.

Figure D

Add your macro to the toolbar
With your testing finished, let’s add your brand-new macro to the Standard Word toolbar.

Although you can add macros to any toolbar, I prefer placing them next to buttons with similar functions. In this case, I’ll be placing our new macro next to the regular Paste button on the Standard toolbar.

Open the toolbar customization tool by clicking on View | Toolbars | Customize. From the Customize dialog box, shown in Figure E, you can control the layout of all your Word toolbars.

Figure E

Now, click the Commands tab and select Macros from the Categories list. Your new macro should now appear in the left column of the dialog box under Commands. Click on and drag the new macro from the Commands column on to the Standard toolbar (see Figure F).

Figure F

You can see that I am going to place the button for our new macro to the right of the regular Paste button. Figure G shows the new macro’s button on the toolbar ready to use.

Figure G

Until next time…
Although our new button works just fine, it looks a little out of place in its current form. Word, however, allows you to customize your toolbar buttons. You can display only their text title, display only their image, or display both the title and image. You can even change the button’s image by choosing from a list of included graphics or designing a new one from scratch. In my next article, I’ll teach you how this process can give your new macro’s button a personal touch.
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Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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