I still remember when I discovered mouseover macros on Krikket. It was like an entirely new universe in healing opened up to me. Since then, I’ve had several healing characters, who used mouseover macros with different levels of effectiveness, and finally now, on Norrah, I’ve found the macro that does just about everything you could possibly ask for.

If you’ve been healing a long time, I’m probably not going to tell you anything you don’t already know (or haven’t already tried), but for the casual offspec healer, someone who’s completely new to healing, or someone who’s always wanted to try mouseover healing, but is afraid they’ll kill someone while they’re still getting used to it, read on:

Mouseover macros make it so that your spell casts on whatever your mouse is hovering over on the screen, regardless of who or what you have targeted. The basic mouseover macro for the max rank of a paladin’s Holy Light spell is shown below.

/cast [target=mouseover] Holy Light(Rank 13)

ETA: I have it on good authority (from my commenters) that spell rank is no longer necessary – that the macro will use the highest available rank of the spell. That macro would look like this:

/cast [target=mouseover] Holy Light

The problem I found with mouseover macros like this is that, if for whatever reason your mouse cursor isn’t hovering over anyone, the spell doesn’t fire at all. So on Krikket, for example, when I’m resto specced, I have two keybinds for Lesser Healing Wave – one that was attached to a mouseover macro, and one that wasn’t.  This got clunky fast. So I’d been resisting going back to mouseover healing on Norrah because I didn’t think I could come up with one macro that would do what I wanted, which is:

  • Heal the mouseover target, provided there is one.
  • If there is no mouseover target, heal MY target.
  • If there is no mouseover target, and I don’t have a friendly unit targeted, heal my focus.
  • If there is no mouseover target, and I don’t have a friendly unit targeted, and I have no focus, heal me.

I promise, it sounds more complicated than it is.

The macro that will do all that for you is as follows:

/cast [target=mouseover, help, nodead] [help, nodead] [target=focus, help, nodead] [target=player] Holy Light

To explain a little about how this works:

The modifier “help” will check to make sure you’re targeting a friendly player or NPC (if you’re looking to cast a spell – like a shaman’s Purge – on an enemy player or mob, the modifer is “harm”).

The modifier “nodead” will check to make sure your target isn’t dead. No sense wasting a heal on someone who’s already croaked (oops!).

The “player” is unmodified because you are obviously friendly to yourself, and if you’re dead? You’re not casting anything.*

To create this macro, you type /macro in your chatbox to open up the macro interface. You’ll get a window that pops up that looks like this:

See how Decursive already made me a lovely, non-character specific macro? Most of the time, though, you will want your macros to be character specific, so click on the tab that says “{Character Name} Specific Macros” which I circled above. The screen will look just about identical, but you will be creating macros that only show up when you’re on the character who uses them.

Then you click the “New” button in the lower right hand corner. That will cause another window to pop out, like so:

Type in a name for your macro (I tend to abbreviate the name of the spell – hence I have a FoL, HL, SS and Bacon macro in the screenie above).  If you use the default question mark icon, the macro will adjust itself to the same icon as the spell itself. If you want it to look different? There’s a whole ton of icons you can choose from. After you choose your macro name and icon, click the circled “Okay” button. This will close the window on the right, and allow you to type in the gray box on the lower left.

Enter your macro text into the box. If you are macroing a spell with a cooldown, and you want to make sure the button dims when the spell isn’t ready, you need to type the following:


and then hit enter, so your /cast string starts on a new line.

If you’re not sure what number the max rank of the spell you’re macroing is, just open up your spellbook and SHIFT-click on the spell you want when you need to type in the name, and it’ll auto-populate for you. Just double check that there is a space between the final set of brackets and the name of the spell.

Once you’ve finished, it’ll look something like this**:

Don’t worry if the icon is still a question mark – it’ll straighten itself out the first time you cast (and I highly recommend you try out all macros to make sure they cast before going into an instance or raid!). Drag the icon onto your action bar, and then click “Exit” if you’re finished making macros. If you have other spells you also want to macro, click the “New” button and do it all over again.

Voila! You’re ready to mouseover heal, and yet still able to heal your target if you find yourself a little stumblely at it at first. As an added bonus, the same button will self-heal when you’re not in a group without having to target anything at all.

* – Unless you’re a fail angel***. I believe fail angels cast spells even after they’re dead.

** – I say “something like this” because I totally took screenshots before I realized I wanted to modify my focus as well.

*** – “Fail Angel” = dead holy priest, in case you’re not familiar with the term.