March 6, 2020

Working with Frames in Chrome and Edge

Filed under: Automation,Scripting,Web/Tech — Marcus Tettmar @ 1:28 pm

The new Chrome and Edge functions in Macro Scheduler 15 make it possible to locate frames and iframes and then manipulate elements within them.

Switching Frames

The ChromeSwitchFrame and EdgeSwitchFrame functions allow you to specify a frame or iframe element, by index or element reference, to switch the “browsing context” to.

What this means is that any subsequent interactions will take place against elements within that frame. So a subsequent ChromeFindElements call will attempt to locate the specific element within the frame, rather than the parent page, and ChromeElementAction will act against the given element within that frame.

//Find the frame using xpath

//switch browsing context to this frame

If xpath doesn’t mean anything to you see my recent post Using Macro Scheduler 15’s Chrome Functions which includes an explanation of using Chrome’s Developer Tools to identify elements.

At some point you may need to switch the browsing context back to the parent frame. To do this you call ChromeSwitchFrame/EdgeSwitchFrame again with a null index. Subsequent calls to the Chrome/Edge functions will then act against the parent frame.


Traversing Frames

Since each time you switch frames you change the context to that frame, calling ChromeSwitchFrame or EdgeSwitchFrame again (on a valid frame element within) will switch the context down another level.

//Find the frame using xpath

//Switch to the next frame down *within the current frame*

Differences between Edge and Chrome

The Edge and Chrome functions work in the same way and are almost identical. There’s one major difference when it comes to switching frames. When specifying an element (rather than index) ChromeSwitchFrame requires the element ID, whereas EdgeSwitchFrame requires the full element object. As well as an array of element IDs, EdgeFindElements returns a second array of the objects:


This returns two arrays prefixed with the name passed as the return var (TheElements): FrameElements_1 … FrameElements_n and FrameElements_objects_1 … FrameElements_objects_n. For EdgeSwitchFrame use the second _objects array:

//switch to the frame

More Help

View the Chrome Functions and Edge Functions topics in the Macro Scheduler Manual.

Full Example:


//start a Chrome session

//navigate to

//Find the frame

//switch to the first frame (the one with the fields)

//now anything we do is inside that frame so we should be able to get the name field and enter something
ChromeSetElementValue>session_id,inputs_1,john doe

//Switch context back to parent

February 28, 2020

MacroScript SDK and Workflow Designer Updated for MacroScript v15

Filed under: Announcements — Marcus Tettmar @ 2:31 pm

A quick note for those of you using the Macro Scheduler Pro Enterprise pack and/or the MacroScript SDK. Workflow Designer and the SDK have now been updated with the latest 15.0.06 MacroScript engine and can be downloaded from the registered user area.

February 27, 2020

Using Macro Scheduler 15’s Chrome Automation Functions

Filed under: Automation,Scripting,Web/Tech — Marcus Tettmar @ 6:48 pm

Macro Scheduler 15 now has native Chrome and Edge functions. You may be wondering how they work. There are a couple of sample scripts included with v15 but if you’re not sure how to get things set up or how to identify elements in the page this article is for you.

I wanted an example that wasn’t too involved but juicy enough to offer a few hurdles and demonstrate some features like xpath. I’ve set upon using Yahoo Finance to pull out the value of a stock symbol. Bear in mind that websites have a habit of changing so I can’t guarantee that the code in this article will work 6 months from now. But that shouldn’t matter much – it’s the principles of how to do this that matters most.

Before we begin make sure you are running Macro Scheduler 15.0.06 or above.


Before we can use the new Chrome functions we need to download the win32 version of ChromeDriver from:

The zip file contains a single file: chromedriver.exe. Save this somewhere.

We need to tell the script where chromedriver.exe is. In my examples below I’ve got it in the root of drive C. So the first line of my script needs to be:


Start a Chrome Session

Now, we can start a Chrome session. To do this we use the ChromeStart function and give it a variable name that we want the session ID stored in. I’m using session_id. We’ll need this for the rest of the commands:


Run your script and if your script is correctly pointing at ChromeDriver.exe you should see an empty Chrome window appear.


To navigate to Yahoo add the ChromeNavigate command, passing the session_id to it:


Close the Chrome browser window (you don’t have to but running your script is going to start another) and run your script again.  This time you should see it navigate to Yahoo and show something like this:

Using Developer Tools

So the first thing we need to do is get past that “I agree” button. This is where Chrome’s Developer Tools comes in to help us find the element and the attributes we can use to identify it.

Right click on the “I agree” button and select “Inspect” at the bottom of the popup menu.  Chrome’s Developer Tools should appear. Usually at the bottom, but if you’ve used it before you may have changed the layout. It should appear in ‘Elements’ view and the highlighted element should be the “I agree” button:

Sometimes, I’ve found that the first time I select “Inspect”, if Developer Tools wasn’t already open, the element I want isn’t the highlighted one. Usually right clicking on the element and selecting Inspect a second time does the trick.

Another way to identify the element once Developer Tools is already open is to click the element selector button which you see at top left in the screenshot above. Then move the mouse to the “I agree” button and click.

Once you’ve got the right element selected look for an attribute which we could use to identify it:

<button type="submit" class="btn primary" name="agree" value="agree">I agree</button>

Ideally we want something unique.That isn’t always possible and I’ll talk about what we can do in those cases later. Here we’re in luck. The element has a name – “agree”. We can use this to get a reference to the element so that we can then ‘click’ it:


Notice how we’re passing the session ID again (we want to make sure we’re referring to the Chrome window we started). The second parameter is the “Strategy” we want to use to identify the element. ‘Name’ is an available strategy – find the element by name. The third parameter is the strategy value. For ‘Name’ it’s the name itself which in this case is “agree”. Finally we give the command a variable name we’d like to store the located element IDs in.

Valid ‘strategies’ you can use are:

id, name, class name, css selector, link text, partial link text, tag name, xpath

Clicking on the Element

ChromeFindElements returns an array of matching elements. In this case the array should have only one item because there’s only one matching element. So the item we want is the first one: agree_elements_1.

Let’s use that to click on the button using the ChromeElementAction command:


The script so far:


Close your browser window and re-run the script. Hopefully you’ll sail right through that I agree box.

ChromeDriver should wait for events to complete and pages to load before firing new events, but if you have any issues you may need to slow things down a touch. E.g. stick a Wait>1 before the click.

Sending the Stock Symbol

We now need to find that input box, enter something and submit it. Using the same ‘Identify’ technique as described above you should find that the input element has its “id” attribute set to “yfin-usr-qry”:

So we’ll use that:


I’ve used input_elements as my array name for the found elements. We now want to enter some text. Let’s search for Microsoft which is stock symbol “MSFT”. To do this we’ll use the ChromeSetElementValue command. There’s only one matching element again so as above we use the first match input_elements_1:


Notice this time I have put a wait afterwards. The next step is to ‘submit’ the field. I found that submitting it without the wait didn’t allow enough time for the entry to ‘take’. There could be some background processing going on which needs time to finish. Remember, as with most automation, we’re automating something that was designed for a user, and Robots run faster than users, so sometimes need slowing down!

We will now use the ChromeElementAction command again, this time with the submit action:


Instead of doing this we could have found the search button and issued a ‘click’ on that. But that would require another ChromeFindElements which in this case is unnecessary. We can ‘submit’ the input directly.

Extracting The Stock Value

Rerun the script and you should end up looking at the Microsoft stock info which we want to extract.

Tip: rerunning the script from the top every time isn’t ideal. We’ve got the Chrome window open so the session is still active. So what you could do if you just want to run and test a few commands is grab the session ID from the watch list and assign it with a Let statement placed just before the commands you want to test. E.g:


This is where things get a little more interesting. Use the inspect element tool to locate the element as above. You’ll see it’s a span element. You might also notice the class keeps changing. This site is very dynamic, updating as the stock value changes. In this instance we aren’t lucky enough to have an id, or a name. But notice those custom ‘data-reactid’ attributes.  You’ll see that they all have different values, and the one we want is “34”.  Let’s see if we can use that.

Now, ‘data-reactid’ is a custom attribute. It’s not standard html, and there’s no ‘strategy’ called that. So we’re going to use something called ‘xpath’. xpath is incredibly powerful and can help us find pretty much anything. There’s a great tutorial on xpath here.

We need to find a ‘span’ element with attribute data-reactid which is set to “34”. In xpath we can do this with:


The // means find nodes regardless of where they are – we don’t need to provide a path. The @ symbol is used to specify an attribute. And we’re giving it a value. We’re saying find a span element with attribute data-reactid set to value “34” and we don’t care where it is.

So we can use this in the ChromeFindElements command as follows:


Now, before we continue we should confirm whether or not this is the ONLY span tag with this attribute and value. We could do that either by searching the source using Chrome’s element inspector, or, I think easier, just debug the code to see what we get back. Stick a breakpoint just after this line, run the script and then look at the watch list. You’ll see there are two:

Now, we’re going to need to extract them to see which is the right one. We’re going to use the ChromeGetElementData command:


If you step through this command and look at the value of stockValue in the watch list, you’ll notice that info_elements_1 is not the one we want. We want the second one:

MessageModal>Value is %stockValue%

So there we have it. We’ve started Chrome, navigated to Yahoo Finance, clicked ‘I agree’, searched for MSFT and extracted the stock value.  We might want to close the Chrome window at the end:


Here’s the full script:








Using Edge instead of Chrome?

The Edge commands work in exactly the same way as Chrome. And finding elements in Edge is done in exactly the same way. So you should be able to adapt the above code to work with Edge very easily. The main difference is that Edge is a bit more picky when it comes to installing the correct version of Edge Driver.  And if you have an older ‘legacy’ version of Edge you will need to install Microsoft Web Driver instead of MS Edge Driver.  The manual explains how.


The Chrome and Edge functions are incredibly powerful and finding elements using Chrome’s, or Edge’s, Developers Tools is quick and easy. There’s also a lot more that you can do, such as grab the entire source of the page. I hope this has been useful. Let me know in the comments below how you are using these functions.

You’ll find more info in the manual. See Chrome Functions and Edge Functions.

If you have any questions find me on the forums or drop us a line.

February 20, 2020

Macro Scheduler 15 is Here!

Filed under: Announcements,Automation — Marcus Tettmar @ 11:26 am

I am really pleased to announce the release of Macro Scheduler 15.

As well as lots of small internal improvements, Macro Scheduler 15 brings native functions for automating the Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. We’ve also added some new Excel functions, including one that allows you to run any VBA code you like, making the native Excel functions infinitely extendable.

It was also time for a visual refresh…

Modern Web Browser Automation

With Macro Scheduler 15 we’ve introduced two sets of new web browser automation commands. One for Microsoft Edge and another for Google Chrome.

These functions use the new WebDriver interface, and connect to Chrome and Edge via Google’s ChromeDriver and Microsoft’s WebDriver or MS Edge Driver components.

Here’s a short video of Chrome being controlled with these new commands:

For more info see the help topics: Chrome Functions, Edge Functions.

Enhanced Excel Automation

More Excel functions has been a popular request. So we added some. The challenge though, is how to know when to stop. Microsoft’s Excel VBA is pretty unlimited. There’s no way we could wrap every possible function into a native Macro Scheduler one, so we needed a solution.

Well, for years now we’ve been able to convert Excel VBA into VBScript which can be run inside Macro Scheduler. But converting VBA to VBScript can be challenging. Instead, we thought it would be great if you could just pass any valid VBA directly into Excel. So now you can!

//run pure VBA code to set the color
XLRunCode>xlH,ActiveSheet.Range("B12").Interior.Color = vbRed

//could be an entire block of code - let's create a bar chart 

  ActiveSheet.Shapes.AddChart2(201, xlColumnClustered).Select
  ActiveChart.SetSourceData Source:=Range("Sheet1!$A$1:$B$11")
  ActiveSheet.Shapes("Chart 1").IncrementLeft +50
  ActiveSheet.Shapes("Chart 1").IncrementTop -30

You should be able to record a macro in Excel and then copy/paste the code it produces into Macro Scheduler like the above.

Downloads & Upgrades

Licensed Downloads/Upgrades | Trial Version | New Licenses

If you have a subscription visit your personal link sent to you in your welcome email.

February 17, 2020

WaitScreenImage now returns X and Y image position.

Filed under: General — Dorian @ 1:53 pm

Did you know that as of Version 14.4.05, WaitScreenImage can also return x and y mouse coordinates of the found image?

The optional arguments x and y can be used to specify return variables which will store the position of the image found. This is useful as it means as well as waiting for a screen image you can interact with it without using a subsequent FindImagePos call.

Here’s a usage example :

//with position returned

February 12, 2020

Setting cell functions in Excel, plus a sneak peak!

Filed under: Announcements,Automation — Marcus Tettmar @ 12:30 pm

Something that often gets asks is ‘Can I insert a function into Excel’ using Macro Scheduler‘s native XL functions?’.

Yes, you can. It may not be obvious from the documentation but with XLSetCell you can output any expression accepted by Excel. It doesn’t have to be a literal value.

You might set a literal value with something like this:


In Excel you insert a function by starting the input with the ‘=’ sign, so we can do the same with XLSetCell:


In the same way we can force the cell to text format by preceding the input with an apostrophe:


These formats are standard Excel features. All we’re doing here is passing a value to Excel that it understands. But you may not have realised you can do this with Macro Scheduler’s native functions.

Coming Soon – More functions & run ANY VBA code!

A few people have requested more native XL functions. We’re working on it.

For example, a new function to set the cell colour:


But how about being able to run ANY valid Excel VBA you like?

XLRunVBA>xlH,ActiveSheet.Range("B12").Interior.Color = vbRed

It could be a whole block of code:


  ActiveSheet.Shapes.AddChart2(201, xlColumnClustered).Select
  ActiveChart.SetSourceData Source:=Range("Sheet1!$A$1:$B$11")
  ActiveSheet.Shapes("Chart 1").IncrementLeft +50
  ActiveSheet.Shapes("Chart 1").IncrementTop -30

These features are in development. Watch them in action here:

The sky is the limit!

Note: At time of writing these functions do NOT exist in the current version. These are in development. Their names and syntax may change. Keep an eye out for updates.

Be the first to get these new features by making sure your maintenance or subscription us up to date 🙂

February 5, 2020

Macro Scheduler 14.5.7 Update

Filed under: Announcements — Marcus Tettmar @ 6:44 pm

We have today released Macro Scheduler 14.5.7 maintenance update.

Version History | Licensed Downloads

You will note that the user area no longer requests a password. Passwords will no longer be sent. Instead, on entering your email address a ‘magic link’ will be sent to you immediately in an email. Emails are usually pretty instantaneous. Once received, click on the link within and you will be logged straight into the user area.

December 21, 2019

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marcus Tettmar @ 3:58 pm

Hi all. Just a short note to say Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/interdenominational festive holiday time to everyone.

Here’s a fun post from a few years ago:

Case Study: Macro Scheduler Saves 3600 Elf-Hours and Gets Presents Delivered On Time

All the best from Marcus, Dorian and all at MJT.

October 17, 2019

Version 14.5.5 update. Improved text capture, improved OCR, and more.

Filed under: General — Dorian @ 1:52 pm

It’s been a while in the making, but we just released Macro Scheduler Version 14.5.5.
Registered users can download it here, and the trial version is here.

Version 14.5.5 15/10/2019

– Upgraded Python engine to Python 3.7.4 with ability to run Python 2.7 (PYTHON_DLL variable)
– Updated OCR engine to latest version of tesseract
– Updated native text capture engine
– Fixed: ArrayFind crashes if null array suffix provided
– Fixed: non existent subroutine cause script to end after error even if ignoring error
– Fixed: OCRArea incorrectly giving error on negative coordinates
– Fixed: Access Violation in OCRScreen for large screens (scaling has been removed for OCRScreen).

You should notice an improvement in OCR engine speed. Just this morning we tested OCRImage on a 1700 x 900 BMP image packed with text, and it extracted every character flawlessly in under three seconds.

The native text capture engine has been updated, improving the previous text capture capabilities.

One or two of you were asking about running Python 3.7, so we upgraded the engine to Python 3.7.4.

January 9, 2019

PrettifyScp – Code Clean Up

Filed under: General,Scripting — Marcus Tettmar @ 2:10 pm

I often end up working on Macro Scheduler code that is hard to read because of a lack of indentation. Sometimes this is simply because the code has been chopped and changed so many times it’s become a bit messy and needs a bit of a clean up. And I’m not pointing fingers here either – some of this code is my own!

Indenting code inside code blocks makes it much easier to read. But cleaning up code and sorting out the indentation manually is tedious. So I wrote a little script to do it!

So here is my first PrettifyScp script. Just run it and browse to the .scp file you want to fix up. Wait a few seconds and it will pop up a message when it’s done.

//tokens to identify start and end of indented code

//tokens to identify blocks to ignore

//set tab chars
Let>tabs={"  "}


//ask user for input script file
Input>scp_file,Select script file


  //create backup file name

  //read in script lines to loop through
  //temporarily remove percent symbols to avoid unwanted variable resolution
  //split to array of lines

  //if there are lines, loop through them



      //Message>To do: %this_line%

      //left trim the line

      //are we going into a section to ignore?

        //if we are in a section to ignore, are we coming out of it?
        //otherwise we are not in an ignore section so see if we need to do anything

        //should we unindent?
          //capitalise first letter while we're here

        //create the indent chars

        //insert indent chars to line to output

        //should we indent further lines?
          //capitalise first letter


      //output the new line


    //swap percent symbols back in ...

    //backup the file

    //write output to original file name

    MessageModal>Done! Backup saved to %backupfile%


The old script is renamed to a .BAK file so that your original script is backed up. So if there’s something I haven’t thought of in this first stab and something gets messed up, you can’t lose anything, but hopefully you are backing up your code already!

I’m ignoring code inside Dialogs and VBScript blocks as well as comment blocks. Dialogs shouldn’t be messed with and the indentation is handled by the dialog designer. VBScript could be cleaned up but would need a different parser and there are already VBScript code beautifiers out there so you could copy and paste those. So in this version I haven’t touched VBS blocks.

Hope this is useful. Any feedback or suggestions, or if you notice a bug, please post in the comments below.

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