1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Using macros for writing

    Discussion in 'Software' started by marcusl, Sep 14, 2010.

    I hold a day job as a programmer. With programming, we have a lot of macros that we use to improve our efficiency. For example, if I wanted to type:

    if () {
    }

    All I need to do is type "if", then hit, let's say, Ctrl+Space, and the rest will be entered automatically.

    I was wondering if the same thing might be possible for writing. Let's use "they" as an example. Okay, so, "they", starts with "t" and ends with "y". "ty" isn't a word. So, maybe if you typed in "ty", then hit Ctrl+Space, you'll get "they" on the screen. Obviously, this isn't the traditional way of doing things, but efficiency never hurts, so I was just wondering what people thought of that. Maybe something like this already exists, but I simply don't know about it?

    Cheers.
     
  2. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    I remember having similar thoughts. After a decade programming your typing speed will be so high you probably won't use any shortcuts other than ctrl+arrows, ctrl+shift+arrows and copy/paste.

    For example, after a while one stops going back to change a letter, if it's several words back it's faster to delete the entire line and rewrite it.
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Is this an idea that might be useful in come cases? Sure. Putting down "sd" for 'said' would save a fair number of characters over the course of a book.

    On the other hand, if sd drags me out of the train of thought I'm following as I write a dialogue scene, then it has done more harm than good.

    I probably wouldn't use such shortcuts in my own writing, but that's just me. Writing is very different from programming in LaTex, BASIC, Matlab or Java (the only languages I've worked with), so it doesn't feel natural to me to use programming-esque shortcuts.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I heard Terry Pratchett has a macro for switching in and out of Death's font.

    But really, "they" is a four letter word, so you're not saving yourself much time. If you had a long character name or something like that... Or there was another word you found yourself using a lot that for some reason you either couldn't spell right on the hoof or just found annoying to type (there are some words that to this day even a life-time of typing can't help me get my fingers around them. :p)... Just think it's a bit silly to use shortcuts for words that you aren't saving any real time on. The commonest words are short for a reason. People are already lazy and years of language evolution has already saved you the trouble. :p
     
  5. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Yes, the hotkey for that macro is between Tab and Shift. :)
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Har har har. It's one of those all-caps fonts, or at least a setting to make his regular font all-caps, because it has capital letters within the all-caps font.
     
  7. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, Microsoft Word has a built-in function for replacing common misspellings (AutoCorrection, i think it's called). You can easily enter your own abbreviations and what you want them replaced with.
     
  8. Horizon Noise
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    Horizon Noise Member

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    Without being 'funny' I think you just need to learn to type faster. It would take me longer to type 'ty' CTRL-space than 'they'. Even for the longest of words, for which you wouldn't likely need a macro anyway as they're too infrequent, the difference should not be noticable.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Having worked with Word's "helpful" hand for many years, many of the cleverly helpful features get in the way too often, so I end up turning them off and good riddance. I don't need word capitalizing for me every time it thinks I wanted to start a sentence, for example. I can find the SHIFT key quite easily, especially given there are two of them, both oversized.

    There's another coinsideration. You will want to strip all the macros out of your manuscript before you send it out. Macros are also used to deliver viruses and other malware, so if your manuscript contains any, the prudent publisher may well discard the file unopened.
     

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