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Create a Looping Macro 100/200LX

System Macros let you automate keystrokes you can press a couple of keys to enter a string of commands or characters. One of the more interesting things you can do with macros is to create a loop.

For example, lets say you've programmed a macro, Fn+F8. To create a loop, you put a command at the end of the Fn+F8 macro to run itself. Now, if you press Fn+F8, the macro runs and then executes Fn+F8 again, which in turn runs and executes Fn+F8 again, and so on. You create an endless loop that will go on forever, or until you stop it by pressing (CTRL)-(MENU).

For example, lets say that you work in sales and have 20-30 contacts at the Hardy Company. Hardy decides to change its central phone number from (515) 123-4567 to (515) 123-0987. You could go through your PhoneBook entry by entry and change the phone number, but that can take a lot of time. Creating a macro and looping it back on itself may be the answer. Here's how: For this example well use the macro Fn+F8. Well assume that there is only one phone number for the Hardy Company, stored in the Business Phone field of your PhoneBook, e.g., (515) 123-4567 x123. (Each number may or may not have an extension entered after it, it doesn't matter).

Well program the macro to look for Hardy Company entries and change the phone number. With Phone-Book open, follow these steps:

  1. 1. Press (Shift)-(Fn) (F8) to start recording your macro.
  2. 2. Press (F4), key in Hardy Company, and press (F4) again.
  3. 3. Press (ENTER) (ALT)-(B) to go to the Business Phone field.
  4. 4. Key in the new phone number (e.g., (515) 123-0987). (We have put the area code in parenthesis here for easier Search and Subset capabilities later, but you can do it however you want.)
  5. 5. Press (F10) to save the change.
  6. 6. Press (Shift)-(Fn) (F8) to stop recording your macro.
The next step is to chain the macro to itself so it will loop. To do this, first press (&...) (AppManager) (M) (System Macros) and then:

  1. 1. Tab down to Fn+F8 and press (F2) (Edit).
  2. 2. Press (TAB) to move to the Contents field where the actual keystrokes are stored.
  3. 3. Press (Fn)-(RightArrow) to move to the end of the macro.
  4. 4. Press (F7) to chain this macro to another.
  5. 5. Use the DownArrow key to highlight Fn+F8 and press (F10) twice.
The macro is now chained to itself in a loop.

Put your cursor at the top of your Phone list and press (Fn)-(F8). The macro will find entries from the Hardy company and change the Business phone number. The macro will continue to run, even after its at the bottom of the list and has nothing further to change. When you start getting a bunch of beeps, you know you're at the bottom of the list. Press (CTRL)-(MENU) to stop the looping macro.

Important Note: Its easy to mess up a looping macro and delete a bunch of important data. Always back up your files before you attempt this or something like it.

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