A Macro for Combining Characters

If you frequently find the need to create combination characters such as À or î, you may find WordPerfect for Linux's usual method of doing so awkward -- you must normally select the Symbols dialog box (by choosing Insert - > Symbol or < Ctrl-W > ) and pick the symbol you want from that dialog. This procedure can be awkward if you need to do it very often. Fortunately, Bas Jordans has created a very handy macro to help make life easier.

Installing the Macro

You can download the macro by clicking on any of its links on this page. It's called ctrl2.wcm, and it's a binary WordPerfect macro file. (I've put it on the server as a zip file both to save download bandwidth and because Netscape in Windows corrupts the file if this isn't done.) Once you've got the file, you should install it in a suitable macro directory. On a typical WordPerfect for Linux installation, one suitable directory is the wpmacros subdirectory of the main WordPerfect installation tree (such as /opt/wp8/wpmacros or /usr/WordPerfect/wpmacros). You'll normally need to have root access to install this file in this way.

An alternative method of installing the file is to put it in a directory owned by you as a user, such as the ~/.wprc directory in which your configuration files reside. You must then ensure that the ~/.wprc directory appears on your WordPerfect macro path. You do this from the Preferences dialog box (choose Preferences from the WordPerfect control window). Click the Files button to get the Files Preferences dialog box, then click the Macros/Toolbar/Keyboard radio button and enter "~/.wprc" in the Default Directory field.

Using the Macro

To use the macro, type < Ctrl-2 > . This action produces a small dialog box in which you type the two characters you want to combine. For instance, to produce î you would type "i^" (without the quote marks). The macro doesn't actually create overstruck characters; instead, it uses the two characters you type as an index into WordPerfect's extended character set, and inserts the character you might have selected from the Symbol dialog box if you'd done it that way. Therefore, not all character combinations are legal. Many are, however, including those most frequently needed in many European languages.

If by chance you happen to have a macro assigned to < Ctrl-2 > already, you can rename the macro to something else, such as ctrl3.wcm, and call it in another way ( < Ctrl-3 > in this example).

Modifying the Macro

If there's a combination character or some other special keystroke you'd like to add, you can do so using WordPerfect's macro editor. You must have a copy of the macro available in a directory to which you have write access, and it must have permissions that allow you to write to it. Choose Tools - > Macro - > Edit to specify the filename. You can either type it in directly or click the folder icon to use a file selector dialog box. You can then edit the macro much as you would any other WordPerfect document. Each recognized string uses four lines in the macro file. For instance:

	if (_ConvString = "A^")
		TypeChar(1; 28)
		CorrectString := true

This sequence replaces the string (typed into the macro's dialog box when it's run) "A^" with character 28 from character set 1 ("multinational"). To find the code you want, open the Symbols dialog box and select the character you want. The code appears in the field labeled "Number" at the top right of the dialog box. When you're done with your modifications, click the Save & Compile button in the macro editor's button bar. (For some reason, my system sometimes gives spurious error messages about missing endif statements with this macro file. Deleting the blank line preceding the allegedly missing endif fixes the problem.)

You can create sequences of both more and less than two characters, if you like; the macro isn't restricted to two-character entries.

If you extend the macro in a way you think may be useful to others, please notify the macro's author, Bas Jordans (jorsoft@wxs.nl) and me (rodsmith@rodsbooks.com). Please tell us what your extension is and include the macro. I can make extensions available on this web page. Note, however, that I didn't write the macro, so if you've questions about its operation, you should probably ask Bas.

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Copyright © 1999 by Rod Smith, rodsmith@rodsbooks.com