The easiest way to write a macro is not to write it from scratch but to let UltraEdit do most of the work for you. One of UltraEdit's trademark features is the ability to use powerful macros.
The macro menu includes a feature called quick record which can write most of your macro for you if you understand how it works. The quick record function records what you are doing until you tell it to stop.
When writing a macro, using quickrecord, the idea is to manipulate the text/data as much as possible using the keyboard, UltraEdit's native functions, Templates, and even other macros so quickrecord can record your steps. After you stop quickrecord, you can then go back and edit the macro by hand.
For instance, you can go back through your macros and add loops, conditional statements, regular expressions, etc.
We have used this method MANY times in creating very complex macros which have saved us hours and hours of work. It's just another example of the power of UltraEdit!
For the following example, we will take a pipe delimited data file (containing mailing addresses) and format the addresses into a standard format. Furthermore, we want the macro to run through the entire file, formatting each record.
The sample file which we are using looks like this:
We understand that this may not be the exact macro you are looking to create, but pay attention to the methods used to create your own macro.
Open the data file and first think through what you are starting with and what you need to end up with.
It's easiest to take a single record and determine what needs to be done with it, and worry about repeating the macro later.
For my example, this is what we are starting with:
Kevin Smith|109 Red Oak Dr.|Waukesha|WI|53189|USA
and this is what we would like to end up:
109 Red Oak Dr.
Waukesha, WI 53189
Step through how you will format the data using only the keyboard.
Keep in mind, if you are planning on using loops (covered later) you will want to think through how you are incrementing to satisfy the loop condition.
You don't necessarily need to do this, but I try to run through the steps one time before using the quick record to make sure I know how to get the results I need.
Go to Macro : Quick Record (CTRL SHIFT R)
For the above example, I did a Find on '|'. This placed my cursor at the pipe symbol every time I hit F3 (or Find Next).
Then, I hit ENTER, SPACEBAR, and ',' where appropriate to format the data as needed and ended with this:
Now that the single record is formatted as desired, stop quick recording in the Macro menu.
To edit the macro you've recorded, go to Macro : Edit Macro. You will then see the Edit/Create Macro dialog.
Modify the Macro properties
I like to start by naming the macro, and assigning it a Hot Key. Click on the "Modify" button on the edit macro dialog.
The "Modify Macro" dialog will open and allow you to rename the macro and assign a Hot Key:
Editing the macro
Depending on what you want the macro to do, there are many functions listed in the command section. You can move them over using the arrow or type them in by hand. For further information regarding the functionality of the commands available please see the help.
You will do your editing, as you may have guessed, in the text area:
For my example, I want to run through the entire file and format each record. This is known as a loop.
Loop the macro
This is where some programming experience comes in handy as you can add loops, conditional statements, etc. Loops and conditional statements are not covered in the scope of this powertip as it assumes some prior knowledge of this.
Keep in mind, not every macro will require loops; however for my example I will use a loop to run through all of the data until the end of the file.
The idea of the loop is to continue doing some action(s) until a condition is satisfied, at which point the loop will stop. When using a loop, you MUST ensure that the condition will be satisfied in order to stop the loop, otherwise the loop will run indefinitely.
For our example the loop condition to be satisfied is the end of the file. The basic logic of the loop is: 'if the cursor is at the end of the file, exit the loop; otherwise, keep running these steps'. ie:
When recording my keyboard actions, after running through all of my formatting, I intentionally placed the cursor at the begginning of the next line. I am therefore 'incrementing' the position of the cursor so with each loop, I am moving the cursor towards the end of the file. If I didn't do this, the loop would spin indefinitely on the first record creating an 'infinite loop'.
Now, where to place the loop to do the appropriate actions. In the edit macro dialog, my macro looks like this:
The main action I want accomplished is everything below "StartSelect". So I edited my macro to look like this:
To help you understand where the loop/conditional statements flow, please see the following:
To save the macro you have created you can either switch to a different Macro (in the drop down) or close the macro. You will then be prompted to update the macro. Answer 'yes'. This will update the macro and then return you to the edit window.
You can save now save the macro (for later use) by going to Macro : Save All.
Finally, to play the macro, go to Macro : Play Any Multiple Times.
Take a look at the result of running the macro:
Please note, it is always a good idea to first test the macro on sample data, to ensure it is performing as you intend it to.
Have fun writing macros!