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Many times, it’s easy to ignore the default software that comes with hardware. Why install extra software if the component works fine by itself?
For one, the software is often beneficial, which is especially the case with drivers. Secondly, sometimes hardware companies put a lot of time and effort into including useful programs for their users. These programs range in use, from game recording to macros.
Razer Synapse is a great example of this. If you own a Razer keyboard or mouse, fantastic macro customization is seconds away with Synapse. While macros aren’t the most widespread gaming topic, the ability to create and combine macros can seriously take your gaming to the next level. If you play real-time strategy (RTS) and fighting games, these offer a huge advantage.
The Basics of Synapse Macros
Razer Synapse works with every Razer device you have connected to your PC. Once Synapse is downloaded and installed onto your PC, it will recognize and display your devices like in the screenshot below.
From the Customize window, you can program your keys to whatever function you’d like. You can even link specific programs with macros in order to activate different macros in certain games. To access macro settings, click the Macros tab and you’ll see the following interface.
The right-hand side of the window will log and display macro steps. On the left-hand side, there are a group of parameters:
- Macro is where you select your pre-configured macro.
- Macro Name allows you the name the upcoming macro.
- Record Delay records input delay in millisecond increments.
- Default Delay sets default delay for all inputs.
- No Delay cancels delay.
- Record begins recording macros.
These are the options you will need to record all your macros.
Recording macros is simple — knowing what to record and why to record it is the hard part. Different games will require different macros to fit certain needs. Let’s take For Honor as an example. For Honor (our beginner’s guide) has move combinations — similar to combos in a fighting game — which you can automate.
What about automating a repetitive task? Let’s combine a simple forward move and shield bash, a common move in For Honor, in order to access it quickly. This particular sequence is mapped to W + Space > Scroll Button. Simply click the Record button and type in your values.
That’s it! Leave the Record Delay default on for now. Name your macro by changing the Macro Name parameter, and it will be accessible under that name.
Macro Programs and Websites
Besides being able to macro key combinations, you can also macro programs and websites. Head to the Customize section and click on a key, then click the drop-down menu under Key Assignment and select Launch Program.
Then, choose the radio button beside either Launch Program or Launch Website.
Both can serve a useful purpose. For example, do you play League of Legends but often forget champion counters? Program two keys in a row: one to open League of Legends, and the other to open the LoL Counter website.
If you insist on only using one key in Synapse, you can also link a batch script to your macros so you can open multiple programs and windows with a single click.
While this feature cannot stack key combinations (link two consecutive macros to a third) it’s a fantastic utility to play around with.
Set and Link Profile
Setting profiles will allow you to specify which macros work at what time. The last thing you want is to confuse your macros, or have macros enabled when they shouldn’t be. To create a profile, click the + button under Select Profile and name it whatever you’d like under Profile Name.
Then, check the Link Program option, find your game’s executable file, and double-click it. This will link your game to this individual profile.
You will need to re-calibrate sensitivity and acceleration to simulate previous profile settings.
Click on the Customize tab to get started and you’ll see an image of your Razer device. Click on a numbered button or keyboard key. You should see a Button Assignment window wherein you decide what to do with the button. Under Button Assignment, click on the dropdown menu and select Macro. Then, under Assign Macro, you should see your pre-configured macros.
I chose Shield Bash, the macro created above.
Choose your playback option (once, repeatedly, or on/off toggle) and select Save. Now you can use your macro with the assigned button/key.
To Macro, or Not to Macro
The most difficult part of including macros in your daily gaming routine is finding out when to use them. While I’d recommend using macros, consider two things: they’re not for every game, and you shouldn’t abuse macros.
The easiest games to upgrade with macros are games which involve move sets, often found in fighting games. For Honor, as stated in the example above, supports different character move sets. You can even assign macro groups for different characters, or replace the same buttons with different macro profiles.
RTS games also perform well with macros. Certain widespread RTS games even have libraries of macros available for users. Let’s review an example of a basic macro in the RTS Company of Heroes 2.
If you want to take your gaming to the next level, you have to use keyboard shortcuts. Wandering through a CoH2 map having to click to base and back to another spot will waste precious seconds. The keyboard shortcut to access the American faction’s rifleman, for instance, is F1 (Barracks) + R (Rifleman) + Right-click Map. This will allow you to order a rifleman and place them in a certain location.
You can reduce the previous command to a key, thanks to Synapse. It’s that simple. The more you familiarize yourself with macros, the more you’ll find uses for them. Macro uses range in both size and complexity, and are downloadable and interchangeable online.
Macromé Your Gaming
Now is a good a time as any to pick up macro gaming. They’re simple to set up, easy to use, and no problem to change back. Synapse is a perk that any Razer user should use more often, especially those in the gaming community who prefer games that are time-sensitive.
For more like this, have a look at the best gaming keyboards.
Image Credit: Mangm srisukh stock photo and Marlon Lopez MMG1 Design via Shutterstock.com