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Lisa's Macros

(They're not actually macros any more; the system is now a full-fledged application written in a programming language. But the name appears to have stuck.)


H&A is a consulting engineering firm. Their entire product is the written word: proposals, letters, reports, etc. Consequently, document production is central to the staff's work and vital to the company's profitability.

The company strives to give all documents a consistent appearance, as though the same person created them. Consistency of format is very important; nonstandard documents are Highly Frowned Upon. Yet in 1993, standard operating procedure was that each user had to format their own documents manually, every time they created a document. Although a Document Standards Manual was provided, the standards are complex, and errors were common; documents had to be checked rigorously for correct formatting before being sent. Clearly all this formatting and reviewing was not a good use of staff time or company money.

To address the problem, I created a few simple, informal macros (in WordPerfect at the time) to automate the creation and formatting of certain types of standard documents. In 1994, the company declared Lisa's Macros official; I distributed them to all offices. Over the years, the macros have grown, as these things will. I added more tools, and more standard document types.

In late 1998, when we migrated to Word, I started from scratch and developed a whole new environment in Word using VBA. This gave me a chance to replace the haphazardly-grown macro system with an actual program, coherently designed from the ground up. It is a vast improvement over its predecessor.

Lisa's Macros have become ingrained in the fabric of the company.

About the Tools

The heart of Lisa's Macros is a Word toolbar:

Lisa's Macros Toolbar

Regardless of what kind of document the user wants to create, they click the same button:

The rest of the buttons are tools that make frequently-repeated or complex tasks easier. Using the links below, you can read a bit about a few of the tools:

To help the users get the most out of the macros, I wrote and distributed a Quick Reference (Acrobat; 32 KB) that describes each tool and what it does.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa Nelson. Last Modified: 9 March 2002 Back to Top