Howard’s Technical Writing Blog

A technical writer’s miscellany

Using other people’s Word macros

Posted by Howard Silcock on 1 April 2010

  1. Put the template into a folder on your computer. You’re going to make this template available to you within Word—either permanently or just as and when you need it—even if you’re working on a document based on some other template.
  2. If you’re using Office 2007, you first need to check that a tab called Developer is visible on your Ribbon. If it isn’t, you can find out how to display it here. Follow that link, if you need to,  and carry out the steps described, then come back and resume from step 3 below. (If you’re not using Word 2007, ignore this step.)
  3. Depending on which version of Word you have, carry out one of the following steps:
    • (Word 2007) Click on the Developer tab on the Ribbon and then click the Document Template button.
    • (Word 2003) Select Templates and Add-ins… from the Tools menu.
  4. Templates and Add-in dialog boxIn the dialog box, click the Add button. A second dialog box appears, allowing you to browse to the folder into which you placed the template and then select that template.
  5. Click OK to close the dialog box. The name of the template now appears in the panel to the left of the Add button, with a tick beside it.

The macros (and styles and Autotext, and so on) are now available on your computer. Next time you start it the template’s name will again appear in this panel in the Templates and Add-ins dialog box, but the tick won’t be there. Click to restore the tick whenever you want to use the macros again. If you want it always to be ticked, just put the template into the Word Startup folder.

To see where your Startup folder is, look in the File Locations table:

  • (Word 2007) Click the Office button, then Word Options. Click Advanced, then scroll down and click the File Locations button in the General section.
  • (Word 2003) Select Options on the Tools menu and click the File Locations tab.

OK, we’re getting there. But how do you actually use the macros? That depends on how the author has set them up. If it’s a Word 2003 template, the author may have put buttons on a toolbar or commands on a menu. If it’s a Word 2007 template, the author may have put controls somewhere on the Ribbon (it’s a bit hard to do this, but not impossible). Presumably the author must have told you something about how the macros were configured. But if you see no controls anywhere, do one of the following to display a dialog box like the one on the right:

  • (Word 2007) Click the Developer tab and then the Macros button.
  • (Word 2003) Go to the Tools menu and select Macros… from the Macros submenu.

In the drop-down labelled Macros in select the name of the template with which we’ve been working. The list box above now displays the names of all the macros in that template that you can run. To run a macro, select its name in the list and click Run.

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