Macro Overview

Understanding Macros

Your Guide to Less Keybind Clutter

In MMO parlance, a macro refers to any of a number of systems which allow you to do multiple things with a single keypress.  A macro can enable you to add some chat flair to a class ability, permit you to sequence fairly a set rotation of abilities, or even make limited use context sensitive abilities.  Each of these are possible within the FFXIV macro system.

You don’t have to use macros to play Final Fantasy XIV:ARR.  Indeed, the UI is pretty customizable right off the bat, so you may not run into keybind and hotbar constraints for a number of levels.  Additionally, macros can be overused and misused.  There are some abilities that are highly situationally specific.  Burying these abilities into a macro runs the risk of losing the value of the ability.  There are no hard and fast rules for when to macro, but here are three guidelines to consider:

  1. If it’s an ability you are likely to use in a party and its important the party act on it, it’s not a bad idea to build a macro for it.

  2. If its a series of keystrokes you always repeat in a specific circumstance, you should consider building a macro for it.

  3. If you have an ability you always use the moment it is available (e.g. on recycle), you should consider building a macro for it.

In this guide, we are going to cover the basics of macros.  This includes the macro creator interface, macro command basics, as well as examples of each of the three main types of macros.  Additionally, in each of our First 15 class guides, we provide a sample macro specific to that class.

The Macro Library

Your User Macro library is accessed through the system menu (escape or through the menu buttons).  From the system menu, simply select User Macros to enter your combined macro library and macro writing UI tool.

User Macros

Inside the User Macro UI, you will find two panels.  The left panel is a numerical list of every macro you have made.  Unused macro slots are left as a number until you need them.  The right panel is the macro editor.

Using the macro editor, you can name macros, provide an icon for the macro, and record the command sequence you wish for the macro.  All changes you make automatically update (no saving and loading needed).  Changing the icon in the macro recording panel will immediately update the corresponding icon in the macro library on the left panel.

Macro Library

The Macro Command Line

At the heart of writing macros is the command line.  For instance, in the image above, you can see the first command line of the “Defense” macro is /ac “Rampart” <me>.  There are three elements in that command line, each meriting discussion.

The /ac element is short for /action.  This corresponds with the various slash command one can use inside FFXIV.  The /ac command itself allows the user to activate an ability (in this case, Rampart, but we’ll talk about that in a moment).  To the best of my knowledge, any slash ability that you can use in the game is potentially a line starter for a macro.  Some examples include:

  • /ac (activates an ability)
  • chat command lines (e.g. /p, /l, /fc)
  • /target
  • /assist
  • /follow
  • /mk (marks a target)
  • /wait # (pauses for the amount of time designated by #)
  • /echo sends a message that only you will see
  • /ta <mark1> (targets the creature marked as #1, works for 2, 3, etc.)

The second element of the macro is the string inside of the quotes.  In this case, it’s a single word, Rampart.  For ability macros, single word abilities (like Cure) can be left outside of quotes, but its a good idea to use quotes to get in the habit.  This is because multi-word abilities like Shield Lob require quotations to activate appropriately. It is also important that your capitalization match that of the ability.  So, for example, “Target to Bind 1” is the specific, capitalization sensitive phrasing to place the chain #1 sign on top of a target.  Failing to capitalize the T or B or failing to encase all of it in quotations will lead to a failure to execute macro.

The final element of the illustrated command line is the part enclosed in brackets, the tag line for your macro.  Tag lines designate an object to apply the macro command towards.  Tag lines are generally required on any /ac command but are usually optional for chat macros.  Some examples of commonly used tags include:

  • <t> Applies to your currently selected target
  • <me> Applies to yourself
  • <mo> Applies to the target your mouse is currently hovering over (includes UI elements)
  • <p#> Applies to person occupying that spot on the party UI (e.g <p2> targets the second person in the party)
  • <tt> targets the target of your current target.

Adding Chat to Your Macros

Regardless of how you feel about the later two categories of macros, the chat added macros are really something that most people should look at.  In particular, certain jobs and team roles do their parties a bit of a disservice if they don’t use these.

A chat added macro is simply a command line and a chat line combined into one macro.  In its most common form, this provides a line of chat to your group at the same time you do something.  Thaumaturge’s, for instance, really prefer their group mates to avoid targets the Thaumaturge has slept.  Conjurers casting Raise would prefer if their team knew that the long-casting spell was on its way.

Sample Marking Macro

/mk “Target to Bind 1” <t>
/p “Please sleep Chain-1 marked” <t>

This macro places the chain-1 sign on your current target.  It also tells the party that you wish to have that target put to Sleep.  In this case, the <t> in the first line simply applies the mark to your target.  The second use of <t> works a bit differently, it adds the proper name of <t> to your party chat line.  Your party will read it as “Please sleep Chain-1 marked Ryahl McBannon” (assuming I am my own target).

Sample Raise Macro

/ac “Raise” <t>
/say “Hold still, I am about to Raise” <t>

This macro starts casting the Raise spell to bring your downed target back to life.  It also states in /say for that person to hold on (not release) because you are about to Raise them.

Macro Chains

A slightly more controversial use of macros involves chaining several sequential abilities together into a single button push.  This is perfectly acceptable within the macro system and is in now way an incorrect way to play the game.  It is controversial simply because some people dislike the technique as it seems a bit too much like “botting” (having your computer automate game play).  Even so, using macros this way is absolutely fine within your TOS (using an outside of the game program, not so much) and its your call how you want to play your game.

The primary tools for a good chain macro are your /wait and /echo commands.  Wait functions tell your macro to pause a few seconds before moving on to the next line of the macro.  This lets you get a wait past the Global Cooldown (2.5 seconds at the time of this writing) so that you can begin a new action line.

Sample Crafting Macro

/ac “Basic Touch” <me>
/wait 2.5
/ac “Basic Touch” <me>
/wait 2.5
/ac “Basic Touch” <me>
/wait 2.5
/ac “Master’s Mend” <me>
/wait 2.5
/ac “Basic Synthesis” <me>

…then continuing with any other pieces you would like.

I use this macro whenever I have a lot of batch processing to do.  As an armorer, this happens whenever I need to make a run of ingots, plates, or rivets.  In these cases, I want to get as many “touch” techniques in as my crafting points allow while then finishing off the item in a single synthesis at the end.  I like to get “touch” effects in because you get a lot more xp (up to twice as much) by having some quality on the final product than by just rushing through with synthesis.

The macro uses three repetitions of “Basic Touch” the first crafting ability that adds quality to a synthesis.  In between each “touch” it waits 2 seconds, then echoes a message back to me, waits 1 second and then proceeds.  That’s messy, but at the time I wrote this macro it was needed.  The /wait command won’t go to 2.5 seconds, but the recycle between crafting abilities seems to be in sync with the global cooldown.

My work-around was to wait 2-seconds, send an echo to myself, and then wait one more second.  While this isn’t time optimized (I waste ½ a second per crafting action), it works and prevents any errors in the macro cycle.  The /echo is also nice for debugging a macro.  You can use your chat log of echoes to try and figure out which line a macro failed (assuming you have typos).

After the third “Basic Touch,” it uses the “Master’s Mend” ability which returns 30 durability to my current crafting session.  Once again I use the wait-2, echo, wait-1 after the Mend is done.  The macro ends with a “Basic Synthesis” which increases the progress on your current crafting session.  For the recipes I use this macro, that’s generally enough to finish the crafting attempt.  If it doesn’t, or if the “Basic Synthesis” fails, I simply hit my “Basic Synthesis” hotkey and finish manually.

While it may seem like a great idea to use this on your combat combos, I don’t recommend it.  Things can change over the course of a combat (creatures die, adds require targeting changes, knockbacks, etc.) and a chain macro for combos can easily lead to sub-optimal combat rotations.  You can build a combo macro using the example above as a template, I just recommend you don’t!

Context Sensitive Macros

You will either love or hate these macros, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  Context sensitive macros place several command lines directly after each other (no /wait commands).  Pressing the macro button will cause the macro to fire the first of the chained commands that is eligible to fire and will then error out  the remaining command as they are blocked by the Global Cooldown.

This structure is very effective with long-recycle abilities and abilities which have triggered pre-requisites (for example, following a block).  However, this macro technique produces a ridiculous amount of error spam to your chat window.  I strongly recommend turning off error messages if you are using this technique.

Character Configuration

You turn off error messages in the Configuration interface.  You can find this by clicking on the gear located at the bottom right of your chat window.  From here, click on the Log Filter for the chat tab you want to apply filters to.  In this case, it’s the #1 General Tab.  This opens up your Log Filter UI.   Under the Announcements tab, the fifth option is “Error Messages.”  By default it is checked, uncheck it and your error messages will no longer appear in the General tab.  Click Apply and Close to finish up

Log Filter

Sample Defensive Macro

/ac “Rampart” <me>
/ac “Foresight” <me>
/ac “Keen Flurry” <me>
/ac “Featherfoot” <me>
/ac “Second Wind” <me>
/ac “Convalescence <me>

I use this macro alot playing my Gladiator.  I have Marauder (Foresight), Lancer (Keen Flurry), and Pugilist (Featherfoot and Second Wind) defensive abilities slotted as alternate class abilities.  Additionally, Gladiator brings their own defensive abilities with Rampart and Convalescence.

If I used keybinds, that’s six different keybinds required to take advantage of all of these abilities.  The same problem would happen with hotkeys.  In either case, that’s way too many keybind hotkeys used up for my tastes and I don’t like relying on mouse click hotkeys.

Each of these abilities is on a 90-second or longer recycle too.  I am unlikely to want multiple of them up at a time, rather I’m likely to want one of them available at a number of different times.  This macro satisfies that latter want.  Each time I press the macro button, the first available ability is used.  Rampart is up top because, as a Gladiator, I get more benefit (longer duration) from that than I do the other abilities.  From there, it cycles through them in my order of preference (the order I entered them into the macro).  If one recycles before I get to the bottom of the list, the recycled ability fires off as it has list precedence.

Sample Kill Macro

/ac “Misery’s End” <t>
/ac “Heavy Shot” <t>

Misery’s End is a really neat archer ability.  It hits for a potency of, noticeably more powerful than Heavy Shot.  Unfortunately, Misery’s End has a 180 second recycle and can only be used when your target is below 20% health.  So, you want to use Misery’s End whenever it’s available, but often that window can fly by before you notice the button is lit up.

This macro solves that problem.  If Misery’s End is eligible (target health below 20%) it fires off.  If it isn’t (ability on recycle or target health at 20% or higher) it fires Heavy Shot.

Marauder’s have a similar ability, Mercy Stroke.  This ability, though, is not a good candidate for the Kill Macro.  Mercy Stroke does bonus damage, just like Misery’s Edge, however it also heals the Marauder if it is the killing blow.  Because of this, Marauders are typically better served firing Mercy Stroke manually.

Sample Tank Starter Macro

/ac “Fight or Flight” <me>
/ac “Fast Blade” <t>
/ac “Shield Lob” <t>

This is another of my Gladiator macros.  This particular macro checks on two things.  First, it verifies whether Fight or Flight (a dps boost) is available.  If it is, it uses that ability, if not it moves deeper into the macro.

If Fight or Flight isn’t up, it then begins my combo rotation by using Fast Blade.  However if my target is not in range, it moves on and uses Shield Lob (ranged enmity generator) in its place.  This is my #1 hotkey.  If I can’t hit my target with a Fast Blade, I probably need to get aggro and Shield Lob is a good starting point.

I tend to forget to use Fight or Flight, so putting it up front makes sure I still use it.  I would be more optimal with FoF if I fired it manually, but I always (and I mean always) forget to use it.  In this case, I’m taking sub-optimal use of FoF as superior to no use of FoF.

Closing Thoughts

You don’t have to use macros to enjoy Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.  You are allowed to use them though.  Don’t let anyone, including myself, tell you where when or how you are supposed to use macros.  Ultimately it’s your call as to whether you like them or not.

There are more and less optimal ways to use macros.  In each section I have tried to offer warnings about their misuse.  That’s not misused form a “you’re a bad person if you do it that way,” but misuse from a “you’re making the macro cut off your capabilities” that way.

Macros really open up your gameplay if used well.  They free up keybinds, allowing you to be more responsive in game play.  Experiment around with them and find your own comfort level.

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66 Responses to Macro Overview

  1. Great guide! I’m not a newbie when it comes to macros – oldschool SWG vet here – but FFXIV’s system is a bit different and this has definitely cleared up some errors I was having.

  2. Kreed says:

    As someone that enjoys tanking and healing – I will have one or other as a main depending on the game and the other as an alt – I am really interested on the tag for mouseover macros. Mouseover healing is the style I like the most and use it whenever it’s possible on a MMO. It’s it possible to write a condition like “heal the mouseover target; heal my target; heal self” in that order in the same macro?

    • Ryahl says:

      It’s definitely possible, I believe our Conjurer First 15 has that exact macro as an example. Basically, you can do something like this:

      /ac “Cure”
      /ac “Cure”
      /ac "Cure"

      This macro will first try to cast cure on your mouseover target (including UI elements). If no eligible target is the focus of your cursor, it will then try to cast cure on the target of your target , which is great for nuking the primary target and getting heals on the main tank. If both checks fail, it assumes you want to heal yourself and does so.

      However, dropping the from the macro may be advisable.

  3. Quist says:

    Great Guide, thanks! One question though!

    Do you know if eating food can be macroed?

    As a healer I would add it to my buffing macro at the beginning of a dungeon. Something like….

    /p Buffing! Gather around!
    /ac “Protect”
    /eat “Orange Juice”

    Thanks in advance!


  4. Jay Son says:

    Do we have macro books commands yet? Also, when setting up a macro, can we assign a 3 letter emblem instead of choosing a photo emblem? These would be a great questions for the devs.

    • Ryahl says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by macro books.

      With the macro designer you can either assign a graphic or a word for the macro hotkey. 3 letters is quite doable.

  5. BrittanyBrittany says:

    Hope I’m OK adding this.. Its what I posted at ARR beta forums but maybe be better here. Gets more into emote uses of macro’s.
    Macro’s are your BFF’s =^,^= + fun info for new players.
    Since we are getting close to playing this I thought we should talk about macro’s.
    Yes I know a lot of us already know from ffxi and 1.0, but if this could be helpful to new players coming in I think it could save them a bit of time.
    Also it is my hope that others will add to this..
    Ok first thing about macro’s we will talk> Emote’s yayyy
    In the game there are many text commands like /sit or /laugh. There are also commands that cause most actions to be used, Delay between actions or even logging out. Basically its what is connected to the icons for each action or animation in the game. (you can also find an almost complete list in the game using autotranslate+ {/text}.
    In your “system settings” you can find “User Macro’s” Basically small text documents in the game that you can customize to your liking
    since we are talking emote’s atm will show you what a custom macro could look like.
    /panic motion
    /wait 1
    /em Freaks out.
    /wait 1
    /blush motion
    /wait 3
    /laugh motion
    this emote will announce in text= (your character’s name) Freaks out.
    It will also do the animations listed, however needs the wait time adjusted somewhat because races sometimes have longer/shorter animations.
    Placing “motion” after an emote takes away the in game text so you can add your own or let the viewer be interpreter. (this includes facial only emotes)

    You can have fun making custom emotes (just don’t make ones that spam).
    examples could be 1 greeting your linkmates at the dungeon entrance (exiting or funny entrance)
    2 poke fun at a linkmate that is KO.. (in good taste of course)
    3 cheer up a fellow player.
    4 make a dance routine up with friends and use timing to stay in perfect sync.
    5 flirt =^,^= (again = In good taste)
    and just about anything else.

    Most of the cut scenes in the game will use these animations and they can be used in different ways to make clips of your adventures more enjoyable..
    You can change chat modes + invite people + set signs and much more using them.

    Now on to text commands use in actions (again I know most ppl know but this is for those who don’t)
    the actions you preform in the game also have these same uses.

    /party {{please gather}}{{casting spell}} {{protect}} @3… (use auto translate to make party macro’s FJED can all understand)
    /wait 3
    /ac Protect or

    I will need to see the full list of macro for release if they put back in or and the like but for now I think those are not used here.
    Your a white mage who just entered a dungeon, who is also using a controller.
    you have limited space for actions without changing sets (you can do this with macro as well)
    You could combine protect & stoneskin or any other spells you usually give the party for the duration of the fight.
    this will make them all one Icon. The /wait would be the GCD and then adjust from that for any lag issue..
    You can also “lock” onto the tank and “use the tank” and the party menu to create a way to quickly switch targets. combine cure and regen effects or use stoneskin to offset damage. Remember to test them with the GCD match /wait, to make sure before use.
    As DD you could time your actions and always get the “bonus if used after” (unless you miss o.O)
    You can also using /echo, make reminders of what action or position you need next that is only seen by you in text.
    again (you can also find an almost complete list in the game using autotranslate+ {/text}. PC Press [tab] type text to view.
    most of these can be canceled using another in case tank takes way too much damage or u need to run :P
    With the macro system and some time spent you can make ps3 or controller on PC just as fast and efficient as gaming keyboards like my tact-x or maybe even a lot faster.
    Once we get a full emote and command list from release we can start getting macro’d out =^,^=
    {sincerely} Brittany of Sargatanas

    PS Macro’s can help define who you are in the world.. they help show personality and can be a powerful tool, both in actions and emote =^,^=

    • Ryahl says:


      Thanks for the comment. Those are some great examples depicting the variety of ways macros can come into play in FFXIV!

  6. BrittanyBrittany says:

    sorry used symbols that took away some stuff..
    {stpc} {lastst} {stnpc} seems will not be used ..

    • AelaAela says:

      Yeah formatting doesn’t seem to copy over.. at all.. in the comments. You can always create a PDF with the commands and upload it as an image to imgur, and then link it. Other then that, we haven’t yet found a work around.

  7. Schala says:

    What would be the shortcut for targeting a summon, a chocobo?

  8. Thistlewit says:

    Was any able to successfully macro pet commands when playing an Arcanist? I tried the following without success:

    /ac “Obey”
    /pet “Obey”
    / “Obey”

    Thanks in advance if you can help with this!

    • AelaAela says:

      I wasn’t able to. I ended up just moving the ability from the pet P window to my hotbar. But I didn’t have too much time to work on it before my account locked out.

  9. Haku says:

    Anyone know if it is possible to tell a macro to activate another macro? Maybe by telling it to activate a hotbar slot? I’m wondering about this because crafting later on seems like it will need more than the 15 allowed lines per macro. Or I can always just activate two macros per craft manually, I guess. Pressing two buttons per craft seems like a lot of work though. /sarcasm

    • Ryahl says:

      As far as I know, FFXIV macros can not all other macros, nor can they replicate keystrokes. There’s a fine line between macroing commands and botting and I think the SE team worries that chained macros would be a step too close to outright botting.

      I find that I primarily rely on crafting macros when I do refining runs for material in the same crafting range I am in. For example, my Blacksmith is currently on Iron recipes. I won’t use rapid synthesis on iron because it wastes too much experience. I will use the rapid synthesis if I need to go back and knock out a stack of bronze ingots or rivets, though.

  10. Taura says:

    Is there a command to interrupt your own spellcast?

  11. Kell Zwei says:

    Excellent guide, thank you for posting it.

  12. Drew says:

    Is there a way to show the tooltip for the the spell we put into a macro? I want to be able to see when a spell proc’s that I use a macro to cast.

  13. These macros do not work:
    Applies to person occupying that spot on the party UI (e.g targets the second person in the party)

    /ac “Cure”
    /ac “Cure”
    /ac “Cure”
    /ac “Cure”

    These work though:

    /ac “Cure”
    /ac “Cure”

  14. Travis says:

    Any clue how to use a Rank 2 of an ability?

    Can’t get Stone II working in a macro at all. Tried all types of variations.

  15. Basjohn says:

    It seems the crafting macro no longer works on release? I’ve tried variating it several times but all I get are the waits and echos.

    Also, anyway to get rid of overhead text saying “Not ready” “Too far away” etc when macroing attacks?

  16. Aiko says:

    Has anyone found out a way to macro a pet command? I do mouseover healing and reaaaaaally want a way to macro Embrace (fairy heal).

  17. elesion says:

    any one figure out how to macro pet abilities?

  18. Jen says:

    Is there a macro command to open the chatbox?

    keybinds won’t let me set reply to just r, so attempting a macro work around.

  19. JZ says:

    The Crafting macro does not work and can’t work. Macros are (at least now) limited to 15 lines. The Crafting Macro is 17 lines.

  20. JZ says:

    The update works perfectly but you may want to update the text after the macro on the page, it still references the old version. :)

  21. griffonu says:

    Is there a way to use an ability on a mob, other than the one you’re fighting, without changing target to that mob. As a tank, I’m fighting a mob and I would like to throw a quick Provoke towards another one, that is heading towards the healer. In FFXI I used , but here the only option seems to be (mouse over). Am I missing something?


  22. Parz says:

    How do you echo a recast? In FFXI it was /recast “ability” but that doesn’t seem to work here

  23. Marc says:

    Is there a way to create a macro so that you execute a combo using the combo skills. For example, I`d want to be able to press one button so that my dragoon performs True thrust followed by vorpal thrust and full thrust.

    • Ryahl says:

      There is, it involves using the /wait command between each /action line. However, I don’t really recommend this for adventuring macros. Too often you need to move around and your macro will wind up getting interrupted or broken.

      I would recommend just getting a comfortable hotkey rotation over a scripted macro for fights.

  24. Reavyn says:

    So, I’m trying to create a macro that makes my character emote while fighting. Is there a /random macro that I can use so that he doesn’t emote all the time and emotes differently or the same?

    • Ryahl says:

      I don’t think such a feature exists.

    • Zhaeradan says:

      As someone who plays on a popular server–PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.

      The last thing we need when fighting in dungeons or populated areas is a bunch of silly emotes scrolling FC chat, tells, or other important game messages out of the window.

      • Muhd says:

        Two things, Zhaeradan:

        First, you can disable emote text in your chat settings if you care so much about this.

        Second, if he uses the emote motion like:
        /dance motion
        then I believe there wouldn’t be any emote text

  25. Fred says:

    While using a /ac “raise” macro can you use the command /tell “message” ? Was wondering if that be easier than a /say for the local people to see. Unless its a party obviously xD

  26. Tiba Shandy says:

    to use the icons complete with cooldown use:
    /macroicon “Action Name” at the top of your macro

    • liquidbeef says:

      It’s not working for me- it doesn’t give me an error message that it isn’t a valid command, though. Any thoughts? Would love to see the cooldown on some of these macros.

  27. Anry says:

    The problem I have as a PS3 player is that balancing a keyboard (to hit hotkeys) while holding a controller isn’t very comfortable or convenient and space on my crossbars is at a premium. Being able to execute a full combo with one macro would reduce having to cycle through my crossbar sets.

    And before anyone says it, “get the PC version” isn’t a option at this time (my PC needs too many upgrades I can’t afford right now).

  28. Bojangles says:

    Any word on conditional expressions like if, elseif, for, etc.?

  29. Shadow says:

    It seems like macro’ing helps tank out a lot. What would be a good and quick macro to mark each mob in a group when doing dungeons?

  30. Dralyn says:

    Not sure if it is the same on PC as it is on PS3, but on PS3 when you want to target group members instead of using {P1-8} you just use {1-8}. I hope that helps anyone else that had the problem I did.

  31. Turnabout says:

    I was actually wondering about some macro options that I haven’t been able to find answers for yet. Most of my experience with macros comes from World of Warcraft, and I was looking to emulate a similar setup with my hotbars.

    Warcraft had a “#showtooltip” action, that would allow you to see the ability in question on your hotbars as the macro’s icon. It’s easy enough to just set it to the ability in question, but I would use it together in a macro that checked modifier keys to determine what I would be casting. For example, one of my Warcraft macros could look like this:

    /cast [mod:shift]Ability1; [mod:ctrl]Ability2; [nomod]Ability3

    Is there anything in the current macro system that could accomodate this?

    • rulez says:

      “micon” is kind of like showtooltip. But it does only show the icon in the hotbars, including the globalcooldown effect. It does not show the tooltip on mousover. Example:
      /micon "Cure II"

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