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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2022 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Sep 2, 2009

PickList -- A multi-purpose macro -- Instantly type out symbols, words, or paragraphs; insert disk files; expand QuickWords; or play other macros -- all from a single menu "pick list"

Download PICKLIST.ZIP ( v1.02.02; 10/18/07; 29,691 bytes)

Compatible with WordPerfect 8 and later versions

WordPerfect 11 users: See important information about using macros in the first release of WP11 ( at the top of this page.

Downloading, Documentation, Modifications, and Support



PickList displays a list of user-created items (brief descriptions, abbreviations, text labels, or file names). Then, depending on how you set it up, a chosen item can

  • type (insert) words, paragraphs, or symbols
  • insert a disk file
  • insert and expand a QuickWord
  • play another previously saved macro.

Simply click a menu item, click OK, and the macro types (or inserts from disk) the assigned material at the current cursor location (or, if a macro, plays it immediately).

During the PickList's operation you can click outside the dialog menu at any time to relocate the cursor or edit your document's text. (On the menu, you can enable the box, "Redisplay list" to keep the menu on screen until you click Exit.)

This macro can be useful for filling in forms, typing often-used addresses, inserting large "boilerplate" sections, assembling documents, automating tasks, etc.

For example, the typed or inserted material can be a company name and address, an extended definition of a term, and expandable QuickWord (text and/or graphic), or even a file on disk. [Tip: A good companion to this macro is a custom vertical toolbar that can open favorite folders and/or documents. See the small PDF file, "How to create a vertical toolbar with text buttons to access your favorite folders, templates and files," here.]

PickList can also play other macros which you previously created and saved. If you have lots of custom macros, and have too many toolbar buttons or too many keys to remember to play them, then PickList might be able to simplify things by letting you set up a list of items that can be used to play your macros.

These different functions — insert text, insert a file, insert an explanded QuickWord, or play a macro — can be combined into a singe PickList macro. Alternatively, you can make copies of PickList for different purposes. (An option lets you define a custom "heading" on the macro's menu to help differentiate several copies of PickList. Of course, each copy of the macro should have a different filename, and like all macros, only one of them can play at any given time.)

There is a small "price" to be paid for all of these functions: You will need to enter your desired pick list items directly into the macro code. This is relatively easy:

Step 1. Download PickList.zip, and extract the macro and any other file inside the ZIP archive. Place the macro in your Default or Supplemental macro folder as shown in WordPerfect's Tools, Settings, Files, Merge/Macro.

Step 2. Open the macro for editing with Tools, Macro, Edit. You will see the name of the macro and some introductory comments at the top of the macro's code. After reading these, scroll down past this introductory material to the redlined User Modification Area. Carefully read the instructions there to create or modify the list of items you want to use for your own list when the macro is played. Here's how to do it:

First, think of the User Modification Area -- which is found in most of the macros on this site -- as a place to set up initial (or default) information or values that will be "fed" into a menu or into other parts of the macro code further down in the macro file. Most of this User Modification Area is made up of simple instructions in the form of macro comments (anything preceded by "//" marks and ending with a hard return). These are ignored by the macro when it is played. But some of this area contains macro commands that you will need to modify slightly. For these commands, examples and instructions are given. You can also use the examples as models for your own PickList choices when you play the macro. (More on this below.)

In this macro, each different function you want to use is similar in terms of the format of the User Modification Area commands: All four functions that the macro can perform -- insert text or symbols, insert a disk file, insert and expand a QuickWord, and play another macro -- use two "columns" of information (separated by a tab or indent) that you set up in the User Modification Area. (See the various samples there; the format should be obvious from them.)

For example, a typical command to insert a file into the current document might look something like this:

{"Introductory material";  "^F:\Boilerplate\Intro.wpd"};

Color is used here to indicate what you would need to change -- the text label (left-hand "column" above) that will appear in the PickList menu, and the path and filename (right-hand "column" above) of the disk file containing the material to insert into the current document.

[The {braces}, quote marks, leading character (here, a ^ is used to indicate that a file on disk is to be inserted), and semicolons are required (except for the last item in the list, where a semicolon should be omitted). You do not need to remember all of this at this point; specific instructions are given in the macro's User Modification Area at appropriate locations.]

Result: When you play PickList, you should see (in this example) "Introductory material" (without quotes) in the menu list, among your other choices. Just click on it, click OK, and PickList will insert the Intro.wpd file (if that's what you specified) into the current document at the current cursor location. (PickList comes with several sample commands, so you can just play it immediately after downloading it to see how it actually works.)

Therefore: Simply add your own command lines observing the same format used for the example commands that are in the User Modification Area. (Be sure to note the slight differences in the format of the second part of each command for the various functions the macro can perform.) You can then delete the example command lines [or just add two slash marks (//) just before (in front of) the example lines; this turns the command lines into macro comments, which the macro will then ignore].

Step 3. After making changes the macro can be saved with the Save & Compile button on the macro toolbar that will be displayed during editing.

It's really pretty straightforward. To help you get started, and as mentioned above, the macro has several "dummy" pick list entries, so you can just play it to see how it works. Later, you can use them as models for your own entries, then delete them (or turn them into inert macro comments with two leading slash marks) from the User Modification Area.


  • Number of items. The macro was tested it in WP8-WPX3, with up to 200 items in a list, but there may be a limit to the number of items that can be coded into the pick list. Moreover, the list itself might become to long to be practical. (In any event, depending on your system it is possible that large numbers of items that contain large blocks of text might slow down the macro slightly.) When you create your list items, try entering 10-15 items at a time, then play it to see how the macro works for you.
  • Multiple PickList macros. You can make copies of the macro itself for different purposes, or to break up long lists of items. This would reduce scrolling in the pick list field, but it means running different macros at different times. (Only one copy of PickList -- or any macro, for that matter -- can be running at any given time.)
  • Easy play. For easy access, assign this macro to an available keystroke combination or create a toolbar button to play it. For more on these topics, see here. You might even create a special custom toolbar for several PickList variations.
  • Sorting menu items. In the User Modification Area (see there under "How to create or modify PickList's menu items") if you add the same characters — letters, numbers, or a symbol with <Ctrl+W> — to the beginning of a list item in the left-hand (text label) column, they will be sorted together. For example: "DIAG: allergies," "DIAG: stress," (or just "D allergies"), etc. The macro sorts the pick list in the menu alphabetically, so the leading "DIAG:" or "D" will group these items together.
    • If you use WordPerfect symbols at the beginning of item names, they will appear at the end of the pick list.
    • You can use symbols by themselves (as both the description and the item to insert) as a quick way to instantly insert them instead of using the traditional method (i.e., <Ctrl+W>, select the symbol set, choose the symbol, etc.) from the main document screen.
  • When modifying the macro . . . you can speed up creating your pick list in the User Modification Area by using copy-and-paste to duplicate similar line items. Then simply modify the copied line items. Suggestion: (1) Enter several items; (2) test the macro; (3) repeat until finished.
  • QuickWords made quicker. If you have already set up several QuickWords, you can -- as explained in the macro code -- have them inserted and expanded by PickList in the usual fashion of inserting the QuickWord into the document and immediately typing a space or character to expand it. An alternative is to have PickList play small macros to insert and expand them in one operation. The macros should each contain a command such as the following example (where "\2" presumably is a QuickWord you have previously set up):
    • AbbreviationExpand (AbbreviationName: "\2"; Template: QuickWords!)
  • PickList choices made quicker. If you enable the "Redisplay list" box on the PickList menu you can easily repeat the last menu item's action by pressing the <Spacebar> key or <Enter> key. (The default value for this checkbox option can be set in the User Modification Area of the macro's code.) This might be useful when you need to insert a symbol or other text multiple times, or when you need to play the same macro several times in a row.

Version history:

v1.0 - Initial release.
v1.01 - Added checkbox to allow redisplaying the menu after PickList performs an operation.
v1.01a - Revised some macro comments for clarity.
v1.02 - Added code to detect an attempt to play a second instance of PickList, and prevent it from happening (earlier versions allowed this, which caused unexpected results).
v1.02a/1.02.02 - Revised various instructions and comments.