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What is a Macro Editor?

M. McGee
M. McGee

A macro is a script that, when executed, will perform a series of tasks automatically. These scripts are made using specialized programs called macro editors. Using a macro editor, a user may write or record a series of actions and commands. When the script is finished, it is compiled into a single command or icon. Whenever the user runs that command or clicks the icon, the macro will execute the series programed into it. These editors come in a wide range of types, from ones that work with the entire operating system down to ones that work within a single program.

The main use of a macro editor is simplifying tedious computer work. By using an editor, a user may create a series of commands that need to run repeatedly. If the user were directly entering these commands, errors would crop up due to loss of focus or simply random chance. With the macro, each command is executed properly and in the correct manner.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

There are two common ways of entering information into a macro editor. The first is through a scripting interface. The user writes scripts using a special kind of computer code, which is often proprietary to the macro program. These macros may be extremely complex, allowing the opening and closing of programs, user interaction and multiple threads of activity.

The other common method of making a macro is through recording. This type of macro editor simply records the keystrokes, mouse clicks and program usage for a certain period. It will then re-execute that sequence in the exact same way. These programs are typically easy to use, but the macros are rudimentary at best.

Some macro editors have no set operating environment. These programs contain generic code that will allow any information sequence. This type of macro editor is often used on an operating system level, executing commands and loading programs at specific times.

Other editors are designed to work within a certain program. These macro editors have specific types of scripts that allow access to functions within their parent program. The complexity of the macros made by programs such as these is nearly as great as the parent program it runs within.

This kind of macro editor is very common in the world of online games. Often these games will have a built-in editor that allows the creation of combined commands such as ‘execute this ability, and then attack the selected target.’ Many of these games also have external editors available that allow people to create script run-characters. Game manufacturers almost universally ban the second type of editor.

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