5/26/10

Using Macro Express to Fill In the Blanks

Many of us have repetitive tasks that we do each day. Whether it is entering standard cataloging data, research collection language, or updating client records data, many times the information has to be typed in by hand. I've been using a product called Macro Express for over ten years now to help with those projects that call for repetitive data entry.
Here's one example of a project I worked on recently where Macro Express cut my overall time to complete the project by about a factor of five.

We had a brand new practice group join us, and brought with them about 60,000 files that had to be entered into our records management system. The only thing we had to help us was a spreadsheet with the basic information on the files that the former firm graciously provided to us. As many of us know, the life cycle of client matters begins and ends in the Records Department. So, we had to open the matters, have the matters assigned a matter number, and then input the records information to begin the life cycle of the matter. It would be great if we could just dump the spreadsheet into the records system, but after evaluating the process, it was determined that there were too many issues and potential problems that came along with messing with the back-end of the records system. So, it was determined that the safest way of doing this was to enter the information, one at a time, by hand. We were looking at a two or three week project, and the potential for numerous hours of overtime to get the information loaded and the matters opened.

Enter Macro Express....

Macro Express allowed us to set up a "routine" of copying and pasting information directly from the spreadsheet into the records system. After tweaking the process a little, we were able to automate the process and speed up the data entry to about five times the normal process. The project was finished in a little over a week, using just one person and no overtime was needed. Because the process was automated it meant that error rates like typos or missed fields were cut to nearly zero. Occasionally we'd loose our network connection to the records system, but we put in a 'check' for that in Macro Express to stop until the connection was re-established.

I estimated that Macro Express saved about 80 hours of hourly employee time, and probably 20 hours of overtime. All for the total price of about $40.00 for the standard version. So, if you're looking for a product that can really have a positive return on investment, then Macro Express is the tool to look at. You can see some other features that Macro Express offers by viewing some of the video tutorials. There are a lot of advanced features that can also be created using Macro Express if you have a techie person on staff that likes to tinker around with Macros and has some basic programming knowledge. Even at the basic level, there are a number of things that Macro Express can help automate and streamline some of those repetitive processes that you or others in your department have to do.

Give Macro Express a try. There's a 30-day evaluation period where you can try it for free. This is one of those products where you will have wished you would have had on previous projects.


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