The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
"Not responding" ... do you sometimes see this message at the top of a Word window when it’s running a long macro? If so, you don’t need to panic.
When a macro is running, if it’s taking rather a long time (according to Microsoft), Word displays a warning message in the title bar of the window – "Not responding" – and the screen display freezes. Actually, the macro hasn’t stopped working; it’s just that the macro is using up so much processing time that the computer’s operating system decides it hasn’t got time to update the screen display – well, not until the macro finishes.
The user’s natural response at this point is to click on the screen – just to check if Word is still working. Definitely don’t do that! By clicking on the screen you’re trying to force Word to update the screen display, and that takes up even more processor time. This can then cause Word to crash altogether. [You did save that file before running the macro, didn’t you?!]
So what should you do? Be patient. Make a cup of tea. Take the dog for a walk.
Good news ...
But there’s some good news, especially for users of my macros. I’ve discovered a new (to me) command (DoEvents) that I can put in my programs; it makes the macro stop for a fraction of a second and this allows the computer to update the screen.
I won’t say that “Not responding" will be a thing of the past, but if you use the latest (8 November or later) versions of my macros you’ll still be able to see onscreen that something is still going on. More importantly, you will be able to see the prompts that the macro puts on the status bar down at the bottom of the window to show its progress.
A final tip ...
One final bit of advice still remains. For running macros that use lots of computer time, do try the macro out first with a more modest-sized document – a few thousand words – and not on your magnum opus 150,000-word book.
Get the improved versions ...
Improved versions of FRedit, HyphenAlyse, DocAlyse, ProperNounAlyse, SpellingToolkit, WordPairAlyse, etc. are available by downloading my free macro book here:
Paul Beverley has over 25 years’ experience as a technical author, publisher, proofreader and editor, and has the highest available editing qualification: LCGI (editing skills). Paul is passionate about macros and has used his programming ability to complement his writing and editing skills. Through his series of Macro Chat posts, he aims to share his knowledge and open up a dialogue about the benefits of macros to anyone working with words. Comments and questions are always welcome so please do join the discussion. No question is too basic!
Visit his business website at Archive Publications, and access his free book at Macros for Writers and Editors.
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