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MS Office macros to boost productivity
Thread poster: Friedrich Reinold

Friedrich Reinold
United States
Local time: 11:02
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Nov 20, 2005

When talking to colleagues, I noticed that very little is known about the more advanced features of Microsoft Office such as macros to automate tedious, repetitive work. For my part, I enjoy writing Word, Excel, Access and Outlook macros and see them perform boring routine actions that I loathed but had to do manually before, not to mention the benfits from the boost in productivity.
To make things short, I’m collecting input from other translators about what they would like to see automated in their daily work using Microsoft Office, including interaction with the Trados tools. I’m gathering ideas I might implement in a group of common translation productivity macros and distribute them for free.
So let me know anything you are currently doing over and over again in MS Office that you would like to see automated.


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Ian M-H
United States
Local time: 14:02
German to English
+ ...
A couple of ideas Nov 20, 2005

Hi Tom

These aren't new ideas, and they're not especially difficult to solve, either, but they might still get the ball rolling:

1. Changing the language of *all* text in a Powerpoint or Word file to a particular language - doing this manually is cumbersome (Powerpoint) or doesn't always work (Word).

2. Going through an entire document and changing "plain" quotation marks and apostrophes for the rounded variety. "Find and replace" works, of course, but is boring...

I'm sure there'll be dozens more here within a few hours!

Ian


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:02
German to English
+ ...
more suggestions Nov 20, 2005

I second Ian's suggestion of a macro to change the language setting of all slides of a PP presentation in one go.

Equally useful would be:
- a macro to change the language setting of all text boxes in a Word document
- a macro to generate a total word & character count for all text boxes in a Word document

And if you're feeling extra super ambitious, how about writing a document comparison tool for Word documents that actually works with real documents, to replace the pathetic, hopeless, and infuriating tool MS provides under misleading name 'Compare Documents'?



[Edited at 2005-11-20 15:09]

[Edited at 2005-11-20 15:28]


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Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:02
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
great idea, thanks! Nov 20, 2005

Tom Reinold wrote:

(...) I’m gathering ideas I might implement in a group of common translation productivity macros and distribute them for free.


Great idea Tom, will you be writing an anrticle for the Knowledgebase? I'm sure it will be much appreciated!

DZ


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Insert as plain text Nov 20, 2005

I added an icon to my Word tool bar to insert the content of the clipboard without formatting. I could not do without it.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:02
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I also like macros Nov 21, 2005

Tom Reinold wrote:
When talking to colleagues, I noticed that very little is known about the more advanced features of Microsoft Office such as macros to automate tedious, repetitive work.


Same here. But until recently, I was a member of that group. It takes quite a bit of computer literacy to understand macros. At the moment I'm still on the level of merely recording macros, and not actually writing them from scratch. Advanced Find/Replace and an understanding of the MS Word regex is also helpful. I think if you want to teach people to use macros, you should start by teaching them Find/Replace, and once they're comfortable with that, then move on to recording macros.

I rarely create macros which I use every day (I usually create them once off for large, complex text processing tasks). The only one I really use, is for changing uppercase TUs in Wordfast to sentence case. Owing to the nature of some of the texts I translate, I often add TUs to the TM in uppercase, and later I need them fed back to me in sentence case. I now use Alt+num5 to do this: move the cursor one character ahead, highlight until the end of the line, back up one character (so that I don't change the delimiter), then go Shift+F3. The num5 is close to num2 (which is used on WF for "next segment", so this is very useful to me.


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Friedrich Reinold
United States
Local time: 11:02
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your ideas Nov 21, 2005

Thank you all for the macro ideas so far. They’ll make good components of a collection of translation-related macros that I am contemplating to build. However, to create a better document compare feature would be indeed a daunting undertaking…

To Samuel:
I actually haven’t thought of teaching how to create macros, because there is already ample documentation for it. However, some best practice hints may be useful. For example, I also make heavy use of the “record macro" feature using the find function. Short-lived macros I usually name “Joker” overwriting any existing macros with that name. Using the Customize function I have created a new button with the standard card-face icon and have assigned it the Joker macro. That allows me to repeatedly fire that macro, whatever it currently does, by just clicking that button.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 20:02
French to English
Ian, how do you do this? Nov 21, 2005

Ian Harknett wrote:


2. Going through an entire document and changing "plain" quotation marks and apostrophes for the rounded variety. "Find and replace" works, of course, but is boring...



Ian


Ian, sometimes I have trouble with this. I do find/replace, but still find some of the "plain" quotes left over afterwards. Is it because all of my document is not *really* in the target language even though I have selected all and changed to the target language? Or am I not doing something right when I do the find/replace in Word?

I thought I was the only one to find this a pain, so I am glad that you mentioned it.

Are there any special tips or tricks for making this work better?

Thanks!

Sara


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Ian M-H
United States
Local time: 14:02
German to English
+ ...
Find and replace Nov 21, 2005

To answer Sara's question:

Yes, I think that occasional problems with this are connected with Word not always setting the entire contents of a file to the target language on request. With language pairs that use different punctuation marks to signal quotations this leads to problems (I use SDLX and the Word file created has plain rather than 'curly' quotes).

Microsoft's instructions usually work:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/assistance/HP051901241033.aspx

Ensure that you have selected to replace "straight" quotes with "smart" ones under "replace as you type" (Tools, AutoCorrect, AutoFormat As You Type in English versions of Word).

Search and replace operations are then treated in the same way as typing operations and a "replace all" command with the " symbol in both boxes (i.e. replace " with ") will do the job.

Usually...


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 20:02
French to English
Thanks, Ian. Nov 21, 2005

I will play around with this setting to see if it helps, but if the underlying problem is that Word is not detecting the right language, then maybe I'll continue to have problems...Don't you just love Word?

Sara


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