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WriteRoom for Microsoft Word

by Dan Rahmel

Macro that converts Microsoft Word into the WriteRoom interface.

WriteRoom for Word screenshotA few days ago, I stumbled across a really great application called WriteRoom by Hog Bay Software. It's a free writing program that shows only an empty black screen onto which you type green-on-black text. The idea is that you mentally step into a writing room with no distractions of flashing toolbars or anything else so you can concentrate on the writing itself.

Wow! That's really great. I found it extremely useful except for one problem -- it only runs on Macintosh OS X. Since I work on both Macintosh and Windows, that limited its usefulness.

I figured I could write a macro in Microsoft Word that would simulate essentially the same thing. Here it is.

Below you'll find the download for WriteRoom for Word as both a Document and a Macro Text File of the macro code.

I made the Document a read-only file that can be used as a blank document template. Since it is read-only, when you select the Save option, Word will prompt you for a new filename. I added the short-cut key of CTRL-ALT-W to toggle between WriteRoom mode and normal mode.

If you want to load the macro yourself (to add it to your Normal.dot template), you can paste the text found in the Macro Text File into a module in the VBA environment (hit Alt-F11 to access it).

Enjoy!

Problems with Macro Security

If the macro doesn't run, you may have macro security set too high for Word to execute it. The Tools > Options menu will display the Options dialogue box. Under the Security tab, click on the Macro Security button. Setting security to Medium will let you choose to run the macro when the document is loaded. I would NOT recommend setting the security to Low.

Assigning a New Keyboard Shortcut

To assign a keyboard shortcut, go to the Tools > Customize option. At the bottom of the dialogue box that will be displayed, click on the button labeled Keyboard.... In the Categories list, scroll down and select the Macros item. You should see the WriteRoomForWord option appear in the Macros list (if it doesn't you probably don't have the macro located in the file that is selected in the Save Changes In combo just below).

Select the Press New Shortcut Key text box and enter the macro key you desire. Click the Assign button in the lower right corner to assign the key to the macro.

Notes

This macro sets the WriteRoom view to web layout mode and the font of the current document's Normal stylesheet text to Bold Courier New. When the macro is run again, it sets the Normal font to plain Times New Roman. If your Normal style has a different font, change the macro to suit your settings.

Another modification that you may want to make is changing the right margin setting. In Web Layout mode, Word doesn't honor any Page Layout margins. Therefore, so the text doesn't stretch across the entire screen, the macro sets the RightIndent to 4 inches. That keeps the page to a reasonable width on my screen. If you have a wide screen, you may have to increase this value to prevent a too-wide typing area.

Downloads

WriteRoom for Word Document (33K)

WriteRoom for Word Macro Text File (2K)