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  • Best macro tool

    Home Forums Tools Best macro tool

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      • #2381397
        itstudent2015uk
        AskWoody Lounger

        Hi all,

        There are so many macro recording apps for Windows 10.

        Can you recommend the easiest to use + most powerful one?

        So:

        1. I can learn it very fast; no techie expertise at all needed
        2. It works well and also can do nifty things that other apps may not be able to

        It would be nice to be able to save that macro & even open it on another PC as well.

        Appreciate in advance. DB

      • #2381443
        georgea
        AskWoody Lounger

        http://www.spacetornado.com/DoItAgain/ is old (2007) and low-tech, but records keyboard and mouse actions in real-time, minimal learning curve, gets simple linear no logic jobs done.  Not sure if mouse-clicks work right if you move things to another PC. Maybe with same screen resolution.

      • #2381474
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        the easiest to use + most powerful one

        Mutually incompatible.

        That beast has not yet been invented. 🙂

        • #2381535
          itstudent2015uk
          AskWoody Lounger

          Looking for the closest option the “beast”!!

          The nearest we can get. Take care.

      • #2381627
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        I had never heard of Do It Again but it looked interesting so I downloaded it to my Windows 10 laptop. (Note: The website shows it as version 1.6. It’s not, it’s 1.5.)

        Just be aware that the first screen of the Setup Wizard shows quite a restrictive agreement. I can’t even include a screenshot here because that would be against its agreement. (It also means that strictly speaking you cannot copy the installer to another PC as this constitutes ‘duplication’.)

        Note also that it’s provided as an MSI file, i.e. it has to be installed rather then portable (and is dependent on .NET Framework). Another tiny niggle, the installer didn’t offer to create a desktop shortcut.

        The first time I ran it, it scared the heck out of me. Quite bizarrely the author has included a musical jingle… and as my speaker volume was set at 100% I nearly leapt out of my skin.

        A .NET security warning also appeared:

        dot_net_warning

        I quit Do It Again and re-ran it. Again the jingle played but the .Net warning didn’t appear. (I discovered later that this startup tune can be turned off. BTW, the jingle is a seperate .WAV file and more than 3 times the size of the program’s executable file.)

        As a test I created a new Do It Again task of resizing an image in Paint Shop Pro 7. That’s when I realised I couldn’t stop Do It Again recording… ‘cos my laptop doesn’t have a Scroll Lock key. Using the program’s ‘Help’ I found the option to change the ‘Stop recording’ key from Scroll Lock to F12.

        (Surely it would have been easier during setup for the program installer to query the device’s chassis type – it’s a very simple WMI query – and, if a laptop, change the ‘Stop’ key to F12 automatically?)

        The problem here is that on my Dell Latitude E7450 laptop, F12 is already assigned by default to ‘screen brightness’… so I have to remember to press the Fn key then F12.

        So, I started over with a new Do It Again task, recorded the actions to resize and image in PSP7… and then found that I couldn’t save the task. For some bizarre reason Do It Again defaults to saving tasks (as .dia scripts) in C:\Program Files (x86)\Do It Again… which, by default, doesn’t allow access (for security), even though I’m logged on as a member of the Administrators group. Why the program doesn’t store its tasks in a folder that by default is user-accessible – like Documents – is beyond me. The author explains (in ‘Help’) that this is for ‘simplicity’… meaning simple for the author, not the program’s users.

        So, I gave my user account ‘Full control’ of the Do It Again folder and created a new task. This time I was able to save the task without any problem. However, when I double-clicked on the task name to run it an error appeared saying:

        There was a problem running the task ‘Resize_image_to_501_width’. The error message was:

        Value cannot be null.
        Parameter name: value

        Try deleting the task, recreating it, and running it again. Check for proper file permissions also.

        So I checked the file permissions of the saved .dia script and they appeared to be fine (the only permission not ticked as ‘Allow’ was ‘Special permissions’). I deleted the task and recreated it… same error. I created an even simpler task that just ran Notepad… same error. I just could not get it to successfully run a saved task.

        I opened the saved Dia script and couldn’t see a reason for the error. I did however realise an issue. The recording captures screen co-ordinates for the mouse actions… so if you copied the .dia script to another device then the chances are the task will fail unless the screen resolution is identical and the apps you want to automate appear in *exactly* the same position. Even on the device you recorded the task, if you move an app’s window then the script will fail… because the screen co-ordinates have changed.

        Do It Again appears much simpler to use than things like AutoHotkey and AutoIt, which both have steep learning curves for newcomers (and don’t include macro recorders).

        However, I hesitate to recommend Do It Again based on my experience. YMMV. If it works for you then great.

        Perhaps have a read of 9 Best Macro Recorders to Automate Your Tasks but be aware that its information is not always accurate.

        Hope this helps…

      • #2381631
        georgea
        AskWoody Lounger

        It was designed during the low security XP era, and seems to have been abandoned in terms of updates.  I haven’t tried on Win8 or 10, just 7 a few years ago.  While it says it runs on 10, as you note that security model requires extra steps… and yes, if you want to run a macro on a diff PC, it needs the same video res.  It is simple tho and should be able to do anything you can do with a keyboard and mouse.  I don’t recall issues with moving windows causing it to fail, but that is certainly possible given its simple model.  Maybe I always used it full screen.

      • #2381644
        PKCano
        Manager

        Perhaps running it in compatibility mode for XP might work? Or running it as Admin (although this might be a security risk if you are not 100% sure it’s not malicious).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2381648
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        The Dia script to resize an image looks like this:

        1 0
        Pause 263 [2]
        MouseLDown 133 32 [3]
        Pause 13 [4]
        MouseLUp 133 32 [5]
        Pause 90 [6]
        MouseLDown 164 159 [7]
        Pause 17 [8]
        MouseLUp 164 159 [9]
        Pause 183 [10]
        MouseLDown 760 218 [11]
        Pause 43 [12]
        MouseLUp 700 218 [13]
        Pause 153 [14]
        KeyDown 53 [15]
        KeyUp 53 [16]
        Pause 107 [17]
        KeyDown 48 [18]
        Pause 12 [19]
        KeyDown 49 [20]
        KeyUp 48 [21]
        KeyUp 49 [22]
        Pause 283 [23]
        MouseLDown 618 555 [24]
        Pause 11 [25]
        MouseLUp 618 555 [26]

        The problem is, if I move the Paint Shop Pro window then the screen co-ordinates for mouse clicks will be different. As you mention, the only method would be to always use Paint Shop Pro maximised.

        I compared this to the same resize action using AutoHotkey:

        #q::
        WinActivate, Jasc Paint Shop Pro ; Swap to Jasc Paint Shop Pro
        Send ^v ; SEND CTRL+V to Paste as New Image
        Send +s ; SEND SHIFT+S to invoke Resize dialog
        Send {TAB} ; SEND TAB to move to height box
        Send 501 ; SEND 501 to amend height
        Sleep 200
        Send {ENTER} ; SEND ENTER to close Resize dialog
        Sleep 300
        Send ^c ; SEND CTRL+C to copy image to clipboard
        Sleep 200
        Send ^c ; SEND CTRL+C to copy image to clipboard
        Sleep 200
        Send !f ; SEND ALT+F to open File menu
        Sleep 200
        Send c ; SEND C to close file
        Sleep 200
        Send {TAB} ; SEND TAB to move to NO button
        Send {ENTER} ; SEND ENTER to close dialog
        Return

        As you can see, it doesn’t use screen coordinates at all… so it doesn’t matter where the Paint Shop Pro app window is placed.

        It’s a shame… ‘cos Do It Again has a nice simple user interface and is far easier to use than AutoHotkey. However, if AutoHotkey had a built-in macro recorder then IMO this would be a better solution for the OP. I’m going to give Pulover’s Macro Creator a go and see how good a job it does of automating the scripting process.

      • #2381651
        Rick Corbett
        AskWoody_MVP

        Perhaps running it in compatibility mode for XP might work? Or running it as Admin (although this might be a security risk if you are not 100% sure it’s not malicious).

        Thank you PKCano… that worked. I don’t why I didn’t think of this before.

        I created a shortcut, changed its properties to use ‘Run as administrator’ AND to use ‘Windows 7 compatibility mode’… and both the Dia scripts I had created worked as expected.

        • #2381656
          PKCano
          Manager

          Thank you PKCano… that worked. I don’t why I didn’t think of this before.

          It was too obvious? Something about not seeing the forest for the trees? 🙂

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