Macros and Productivity

May 16, 2011

There was a discussion a couple of weeks back about whether a question should be answered with detailed steps on how to accomplish a task or whether a link to a macro that did the steps automatically was sufficient.

As a trainer, my goal is to make a user more productive in the software. My time is also limited, as is the time of most users. If a macro automates 5-10 steps, I can understand that it is nice to list the steps to accomplish the task manually. Often a macro will automate so many steps that it is unrealistic to provide the steps. That’s assuming the task can even be done manually. Some macros allow you to do things that just aren’t possible without the macro.

Just yesterday someone asked me if my CorelDRAW X5 Unleashed Multimedia Training would provide detailed information on creating a rhinestone template. It does provide instructions for all of the tools need to create such a template. The rest of the steps involve a user taking that knowledge and applying it to the specific process. Creating a single template manually would be a very tedious process that could take hours. Or the user could take advantage of the rStones Rhinestone Designer Suite I discussed last week to accomplish the same task in minutes. When I see every the macro does, I wouldn’t even want to attempt to document all of the steps involved.

I could certainly list many more examples like this. I’m all for educating users as that is my business. But many times the best education is directing a user to a macro that allows them to be much more productive than doing the steps manually. Yes, the macro could have a cost associated with it. For users who truly need the features offered by a specific macro, they will quickly recoup the cost because they will be producing more jobs in a lot less time.

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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