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Noticing Newbies: March 08, 2023 Issue [#11850]

 This week: Macros
  Edited by: Jeff
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

"You never know what you can do until you try,
and very few try unless they have to."

-- C.S. Lewis

About The Editor: Greetings! My name is Jeff and I'm one of your regular editors for the Noticing Newbies Official Newsletter! I've been a member of Writing.com since 2003, and have edited more than 350 newsletters across the site during that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email or the handy feedback field at the bottom of this newsletter! *Smile*

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor


In computer science, macros are sequences of events (keystrokes, mouse clicks, etc.) that can be played back to help with repetitive tasks or replay sequences that are long or difficult to input. In short, they're like a saved set of instructions to help automate something and make it more efficient than it would be to input the same set of instructions over and over again.

Did you know that Writing.com gives you the ability to create WritingML macros?

That's right, you can program shortcut keys to paste a pre-formatted WritingML sequence into whatever dialog box you're using on the site. For example, if you prefer to use a font and/or text size other than the standard on the site, you can program a macro with that formatting so that you can drop it into whatever you're working on (forum post, newsfeed note or comment, etc.) by merely using the keyboard shortcut rather than using the {font:} and {size:} WritingML tags on everything you write.

Here's how:

         1. Go to My Account > Account Settings

         2. Under "Additional Account Settings" go to Manage Macro(s)

         3. Click Add New Macro

         4. Create a Name for the macro and assign it a Hotkey

         5. Input whatever WritingML you want automated

         6. Click Store Macro

That's all there is to it!

Let's say you prefer Verdana (size 4) font to the Writing.com standard of Arial (size 3). If you added the {font:verdana}{size:4} {/font}{/size} WritingML to a macro and assigned it the Hotkey of "Ctrl+1", then once it's saved you would be able to go to almost any text box on Writing.com and it would automatically drop that WritingML into whatever you're working on as soon as you pressed Ctrl+1, just as if you had copied and pasted it. This allows you to maintain that consistent formatting much more easily than having to remember to type it in each time!

This is a really handy feature, but what types of things could you use it for? Let's take a look at a few different options:

1. Formatting Shortcuts. As mentioned above, it's a great way to pre-program a type of formatting you prefer for your contributions here on Writing.com. In an article I wrote several years ago called "Effective Formatting, I talked about the importance of effective formatting in creating work that appeals to a reader. Consider a macro that customizes your preference in terms of font, font size, line spacing, etc. to ensure that your work is effectively formatted with minimal effort on your part.

2. Signatures. While Writing.com does give you the ability to create a signature that will be applied to all of your items (and Premium+ members can create more than one signature and customize them for particular forums or book items), if you're the kind of person that wants to more selectively include a signature in certain circumstances, you can create a macro with all the info and formatting you want contained in a signature that you can then drop into something with the click of a couple buttons.

3. Review Templates. If you've ever used review templates on the site and review more than one type of material, you know that creating templates can be a real challenge. Do you create separate templates for reviewing fiction (where you evaluate story, character, dialogue, etc.) and poetry (where you evaluate structure, imagery, etc.)? Or do you create one big review template with all the options in there, and then delete the pieces that you don't use? If you do reviews for multiple review activities, do you have to create multiple templates per activity? With macros you can create a generic review template, then easily drop in the categories/breakdown that you want to apply to that review.

4. Format Regular Contributions. Do you contribute regularly to an activity that has particular formatting or submission requirements? You can create a macro that contains all the information you need to make sure you don't have to remember time and again. For example, if you always forget to include your word count in items you write for the official contests, create an "official contests" macro that not only includes the WritingML formatting to get it exactly how you want, but also includes a prompt for the word count so you don't forget to enter it in when you're proofing your item. Or if you regularly participate in an activity like "The Soundtrack of Your Life, you can pre-format your blog entry so that they're all presented the same way, and have a place for you to fill in the day, the link to the song, etc. Macros can be a huge time-saver if you're interested in formatting regular contributions to an activity consistently.

Writing.com gives you the ability to save up to 20 different macros (Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+0, and Ctrl+Shift+1 through Ctrl+Shift+0), which is more than enough to create some really handy and varied shortcuts to the things you do on the site every day. Before you just resign yourself to typing in the same formatting WritingML every single time you create an item, post in a forum, etc., see if there's an opportunity to automate some of that tedious formatting work. It'll save you time in the long run, and allow you to spend that time focusing on what's really important; what you're actually saying with those nicely-formatted words. *Smile*

Until next time,

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If you're interested in checking out my work:
"New & Noteworthy Things | "Blogocentric Formulations

Editor's Picks

This month's official Writing.com writing contest is:

Short Shots: Official WDC Contest  [ASR]
Use the photo to inspire your creativity. Write a short story and win big prizes!
by Writing.Com Support

I also encourage you to check out the following items:

 Can Chess Be Considered A Sport?  [E]
Essay arguing whether or not chess is a sport.
by R.C. McClure

EXCERPT: Though many sports involve much physical exertion, there are also those that require less action and far more mental energy; chess being the latter. Chess is an abstract strategy board game between two players that involves no hidden information. It is played on a chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. At the start, each player controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights, and eight pawns. The player controlling the white pieces moves first, followed by the player controlling the black pieces. The object of the game is to checkmate your opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way for it to escape. There are also several ways for a game to end in a draw. Everyone agrees that chess is a game but there is much debate as to whether or not it is a sport.

 The Dream and The Rain  [E]
Meets a brother she never knew had left her with a lot of questions and emotions.
by Kimberly

EXCERPT: I was 15 years old when I had a dream. I found myself in a place I had heard about but had never been to. I was looking around when a guy stopped in front of me and asked for my name. I answered, "Kimberly." He then asked, "Kimberly what?" and I replied, "Bien-Aime, Kimberly Bien-Aime." He was surprised and immediately asked for my father's name. I answered, "Jeanty." He then asked, "And your mom's name is Rose-Manie, right?" I was surprised and asked, "How do you know my mother's name?"

The Curious Burial of a Beating Heart   [13+]
A young woman's journey of grieving life before it's over and finding hope.
by Em Catrin

EXCERPT: “If I had to give an estimate, I’d say you’re probably looking at anywhere between eight to ten months.” The words sent a bolt of ice through her veins, and she stared, unblinking, at the doctor in front of her. She knew he was still speaking, the sound of his voice surrounding her, but none of it made sense. Eight to ten months. The words ricocheted through her, and she felt pressure building behind her eyes. The ticking of the clock seemed to be growing louder and louder, the little metal hand inching along. At best she had 304 days, less than a year to live.

 The Vampire: Alucard  [E]
A brief intro to a new vampire character, Alcuard (which is Dracula backwards). Enjoy!
by Framlin

EXCERPT: Most were asleep.

Yet for the vampire, Alucard, the night was young. Those which had not found their slumber were meandering aimlessly about the streets. Most were too drunk to care about where their next step might take them. These were the foolish that were easy prey, boring prey.

 The Physical Body and One's True Essence  [E]
Exploring an alternative way to relate to our physicality and conceive of true self.
by Mark Mywords

EXCERPT: What I'm about to say may challenge the way you think about yourself. The rewards of this shift in perspective may bring a new understanding about who you are and why you might want to seek self-improvement. So - at least for the brief moment - open your mind to the following concept - after we're through, feel free to pick up the concept of self that carried you here, as you walk out the door.

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Ask & Answer

Feedback from "Noticing Newbies Newsletter (February 8, 2023) about gamification on Writing.com:

Interesting newsletter, Jeff. — Graywriter

I don't think one can be overly obsessed with trinkets. Certainly not me. That is sarcasm. I have spent hours hunting down hidden trinkets. Maybe my trinket making is also a little obsessive. Interested parties can find them in "Trinkets for Collection and on my newsfeed. Did you know that there is a nifty search bar above everyone's newsfeed? If you go to my newsfeed and type in "trinket," you will get a filtered version of my newsfeed with all the trinkets that I have posted along with the places where to collect them. — Annette

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