How to install macros
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This short tutorial will show you how to install and use FreeCAD macros.
Macros are sequences of commands or drawing actions which are used to perform a complex operation. Macros are Python scripts, which means they are text files that can be written and edited with a text editor.
While Python scripts normally have the
.py extension, macros should have the
Besides the tools in the toolbar, the following functions are also available in the Macro menu.
Macros are created in a specific folder under the user's FreeCAD directory. This directory can be configured in the execute macro dialog, or in the Preferences Editor, through the menu Edit → Preferences → General → Macro → Macro recording settings.
External macros should also be placed in this directory.
Opening the macro dialog
2. Set the appropriate
User macros location.
- Linux: usually
- Windows: usually
- MacOS: usually
Setting of the macros directory
3. Navigate to that directory in your computer.
- Linux: paste the address into your file manager, "Nautilus" or other. You may have to press
+ to make the hidden directory
- Windows: paste the address into your "File explorer" and confirm.
- MacOS: locate the folder in the "Finder" or paste the address into a "File explorer"; remember the
file:///prefix in the "File explorer" for a file on disk.
Accessing the macros directory in the operating system
4. Add macro files to this directory.
- Linux: leave the file manager open, and bookmark the location for faster access.
- Windows: leave open the file explorer.
- MacOS: either leave a "Finder" window open, or bookmark the location in your "File explorer", or set up an "Alias" to point to it, or drag the folder into the "SideBar" of the "Finder" so it is there to use from other programs such as text editors.
Method 1. Copy the code to the macro editor
For macros that are small, the code can be copied and pasted directly into the FreeCAD macro editor.
We will use Macro Apothem Based Prism GUI as an example.
1. Go to the macro wiki page, which should be listed in Macros recipes. If there is a custom icon download it: click with the right mouse button and select
Save image as...; place the icon in the macros directory. This icon can be used as a shortcut for the macro in a custom toolbar. The default icon is .
Downloading the icon from the macro page
2. In the macro page, select the code inside the Script or Macro sections, and copy it.
Opening the execute macro dialog
4. Click .
The execute macro dialog
5. Enter the macro name, here
Macro_Apothem_Based_Prism_GUI, and press .
Entering the macro name
6. The macro editor opens, showing the full path of the new macro.
The macro editor
7. Paste the code in the editor window, and then click the cross at the bottom of the tab to close the window.
Closing the macro editor
8. A window appears asking for confirmation to save the code; click on . You can also use + to save the file. Restart FreeCAD to correctly register your macro.
Asking for confirmation to save the code
9. Open the menu again, Macro → Macros, select the new macro and press .
Selecting the macro to run it
10. The macro now runs. Fill in the fields with your values and click the button.
The macro in action; fill in the information and press OK when ready
11. This macro should return an error if no document is active. Create a new document with File → New, then repeat the previous steps to execute the macro again. Some macros open a new document if none exists.
The macro returning an error if no document is active
12. Once an active document is available, the macro runs and creates a prism.
Prism created by the macro
13. You can open the macro in the editor again to run it or modify it. Go to Macro → Macros, select the macro and press .
Opening the macro in the editor
14. The macro can now be run with Macro → Execute macro, or by clicking on the button in the toolbar.
Running the macro that is loaded in the editor
Method 2. Add a macro file from a compressed .zip file
Some macros are too big that they cannot be hosted on the wiki. In this case the code may be placed somewhere else, in a Github repository, or in the FreeCAD forum. Moreover it may be compressed into a
.tar.xz, or other archive.
We will use Macro screw maker as an example.
1. Download the compressed code from the forum, Screw Maker.
You need to use a decompressor to get the internal files.
- For Windows you can use and application like 7-zip or L-Zarc or quickzip.
- For Linux you can use a command from the terminal
unzip your_file.zip -d your_directory
2. Download the compressed archive with the macro code to a local folder.
Downloading the compressed archive to a local directory
3. Decompress the file in the folder.
Decompressing the file in the folder
4. The decompressor creates a new directory with the unpacked files.
New directory created after unpacking the archive
5. Go inside the new directory, and copy or cut the macro file.
Entering the newly created directory with the decompressed macro file
6. Go to the macro directory and paste the file there.
Placing the macro file in the macro directory
Opening the execute macro dialog
8. Select the new macro and press .
Selecting the macro to run it
9. The macro now runs. Select the desired options, and click the button.
The macro in action; select the desired options, and press Create when ready
Object created by the macro
Errors in the macros
The indentation in the python programming is very important and integral part of the code, a space or an inappropriate shift causes an indentation error ex :
<unknown exception traceback><type 'exceptions.IndentationError'>: ('expected an indented block', ('C:/Users/d/AppData/Roaming/FreeCAD/Macro_Apothem_Based_Prism_GUI.FCMacro', 21, 3, 'def priSm(self):\n'))
gives the error returned 'expected an indented block' block indentation expected to line 21, 3, normal after a class p (): must be the next line an indentation at least one space.
1 : In this example, the code was stuck without any indentation and of course does not work! here definitely a programmer error when pasting the code on the page as it would have never known it to work.
2 : the code was correct indentations in the right place.
3 : we select the code, and we see that the selection is at the edge of the code, the macro must works so good
4 : Here additional space is selected (it can happen) then you need to copy the code into a word processor to remove one space all lines
5 : Here the code has been copied in a forum window with thebutton apparently the selection is good
6 : But the selection pasted into the FreeCAD editor gives a surprise, an indent of four spaces has been added by the system ? the code is not good
7 : You must delete all the extra space that is four spaces on each line, for Windows word processing notepad-plus-plus enables vertical selection with a combination of buttons + Mouse dragging or Menu> Edit> Indent> Decrease the indentation
8 : Here the selection also take the column numbers which will also give an error
9 : Perfect code.
No text output from the macros
Some macros display information on the screen in general they are displayed in the report view.
FreeCAD use two methods to display the information in the window view report.
1 : Commands
App = FreeCAD App.Console.PrintMessage ("Hello World ! \n") App.Console.PrintError ("Hello World ! \n") App.Console.PrintWarning ("Hello World ! \n")
FreeCAD.Console.PrintMessage ("Hello World ! \n") FreeCAD.Console.PrintError ("Hello World ! \n") FreeCAD.Console.PrintWarning ("Hello World ! \n")
print "Hello World !"
To see the information displayed in the console you should:
1 : Open FreeCAD
2 : Click the View menu and Views
3 : Check Report View and Python Console
4 : the windows are enabled and available commands like "App.Console.PrintMessage" is configured to the "Report View"
2 : command "print" which is a Python command.
It is possible that this command does not display the expected string.
For information to be displayed in the window do this :
1 : Click the Edit menu and then Preferences
2 : In the new window, click General, and select the Output window tab
3 : check both boxes:
and click thebutton
4 : the setup is complete you should see all.
Macro addons_installer.FCMacro for easy install the macro
Other easy macro installer freecad-pluginloader
The Macros recipes page