AutoMac III

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On: 2020-04-07 07:03:09
Updated by: InkBlot
On: 2023-01-29 14:14:19
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What is AutoMac III?

Automatic Macro Maker

AutoMac III is a macro application (extension) for the Apple Macintosh. It enables you to "record" and "play back" your keystrokes, clicks, and mouse movements to make using other Macintosh applications such as Microsoft Word faster and easier.  It installs a tiny "A" menu to the left of the Apple menu icon.

As programs become laden with more features, the ability to easily per* form complex action sequences becomes vital. Some programs — such as Excel, WordPerfect, and most major telecommunications packages — offer such abilities. The action sequences are generally, but not always, called macros.

AutoMac III lets users create and use macros from within virtually every program. It's a small, well-designed, well-behaved INIT, which means you simply drag it into your System folder and restart your Mac to install it.

In that respect it's similar to Apple's MacroMaker (included with System Software Update 6.0.2) and Affinity Microsystems' Tempo II. Of the three, I found the AutoMac III interface the most intuitive. However, all are easy to use. If a program works with one of these macro applications, it most likely works with all of them.
You normally access AutoMac III's main control panel by clicking on a tiny A that is always in your menu bar to the mt of the Apple. Most macros are created using a very simple recording process. You assign a name, add (if you wish) a set of keystrokes that will play the macro, and turn on the macro recorder. Then do exactly what you want the macro to do. Finally, stop the recording. That's it. The excellent manual offers good advice on creating and fixing macros. Read it, especially if your macros don't behave the way you expect.

Unlike its competition, AutoMac III offers a powerful macro-editing feature. It's up to the user to decide whether to make the macro editor available (it consists of two files, and you'll save 35K by not installing it). You can use the macro editor to create a macro from scratch, correct or fine-tune existing macros, combine two or more macros, and design alert boxes without having to record them.

While that’s easy enough, your recorded macro might not work for many reasons. The macro may be designed to react to a particular environment, with, say, an icon in a specific place. If the environment is altered (the icon is moved), the macro might fail. Another example of how AutoMac III normally works and how that might not be the way you want it to work is the way it tracks the position of the mouse. The normal (default) method doesn't record the details of the path. Only the mouse's positions when it's clicked and when it’s released are recorded. This can speed up playback, as the macro simply moves the cursor from point A to point B via a straight line. And in most cases, the path simply doesn’t matter.

However, if you're using a macro to create, say, a graphic signature, the path followed by the mouse is what counts. And a normally recorded macro will just give you a straight line (not too unlike some people's signatures). To get your signature into a macro, turn on AutoMac III's Record Full Drag, AutoMac III isn't without some flaws — none of these macro programs are. It depends a little too much on the exact mouse position when recording a macro. This problem is particularly noticeable when your macro involves selecting items way down long menus or on submenus. There are two things you can do to minimize this problem. First, when recording macros, be as careful as possible to center your clicks on menu items and buttons. The second improvement requires that you get familiar with, and use, the built-in macro editor. It's powerful and not at all hard to use. Simply replace all menu-selections-by-mouse-position with direct menu and item calls.

The program generally works when MultiFinder is running, but there are some problems. Considering that Microsoft is distributing AutoMac III as a bonus to Word 3.Ox purchasers and will distribute it with Word 4.0, I was surprised when AutoMac III sometimes caused Word to quit.

I found AutoMac III slightly better than Tempo II and much better than MacroMaker. It's more accessible, has a nicer interface and a great macro editor, and is a bit easier to use. It works (almost always) and does things that no other type of program (including keyboard enhancers like QuicKeys) can do. If you already use Tempo II, there's no overwhelming reason to switch. But if you’re in the market for a macro program, AutoMac III deserves a good hard look.

Langston, John. (February 1989). AutoMac III. MacUser. (pg. 86).

Download AutoMac III for Mac

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Motorola 68K

Compatibility notes

  • Macintosh 512KE or later

Note:  Macintosh II friendly; some issues with MultiFinder

Emulating this? It could probably run under: Mini vMac

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