I spent a long time pushing the wrong button and eventually gave up. I did a lot of clicking which was fine for long casts like starfire or fireball. Short casts were assigned to 1-6 for easy accessibility. Ultimately though I never felt that this system was effective and I searched for a method to condense all the buttons I needed to press into easy to reach locations. Early on I had set my F keys to raid marking so that was out of the question.
I finally found a solution in a rather strange place. I was reading a post on Resto4life about setting up a gaming keypad that she had purchased when I picked up on this awesome macro.
/cast [modifier:(key)] (spell 2); (spell 1)
The modifier key that you select can really be anything but coming from a FPS backround shift seemed like the perfect button. Shift is a very natural button to anyone who has played FPS or just in general types using the home row. So with this macro I can use 6 keybindings to activate 12 abilities.
So for example here is Lanora my priest's 1-6 bar.
From left to right you have Shadow Word:Death, Flash Heal, Penance, Greater Heal, Renew and Power Word:Shield. Now when I hold shift I have...
Now from left to right we have Shoot, Binding Heal, Penance, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, and Power Word:Shield.
Pretty cool eh? If you notice I kind of have a system to the set up. Flash of heal and binding heal are both 1.5 sec casts that heal for around the same on the target. Greater heal and Prayer of Healing are priests big slow spells for single target and AoE. Renew and Prayer of Mending are both instant cast spells.
Now I usually have un macro-ed buttons for spec specific spells such as Penance. If I were speced holy that is where Circle of Healing would go. I also usually don't have anything majorly important in one slots so that I can move other spells (such as mass dispel/fight specific items).
How to make it!
So if you don't already use this macro... hopefully now you will want to and are wondering how it works? Well lets break it down.
This is the guts of the macro. As you can see I chose Shift as the button I want to press in order to activate the second ability. You can use ctrl or alt or just about anything to activate the secondary ability but I don't recommend using alt. Using alt can be risky because if you use your F buttons for anything it increases the chance of you hitting say alt+F4 and closing WoW.
/cast [modifier:shift] secondspell; firstspell
Now we add our abilities to the macro. Secondspell is whatever spell you want to be active when you hold the shift button, and the first spell would be whatever spell you want active without the shift being held. It is also essential to seperate them with a semi-colon and space.
Now I like to be able to see the tooltips of the spells on my bar so we want to add this to our macro.
/cast [modifier:shift] secondspell; first spell
So our finished product will look like this...
Tips and Tricks
Just a few things to note you can add additional modifiers to the same macro. A good example is for paladin's judgement spells. You have 3 of them so why not condense them into one spell? This is what that would look like.
/cast [modifier:shift] Judgement of Wisdom; [modifier:alt] Judgement of Justice; Judgement of Light
So with this you typically will judge Light. Holding shift will judge wisdom and holding alt will judge Justice.
Finally, I like to macro spells with cooldowns to be the secondary spell and the main nuke I am using becomes the primary. The downside is that you won't be able to see the CD on that ability. But there is a solution to that! You already know what the primary spell is so we can set the tooltip to show the secondary all the time. So for instance my warlock has a macro that looks like this...
#showtooltip Chaos Bolt
/cast [modifier:shift] Chaos Bolt; Incinerate
Somethings that are nice to set up as shift macro's are Power Word:Fortitude, and Prayer of Fortitude. This way you can click for a single buff or shift click to buff the raid. You can also condense your mount selection by having your preferred ground mount, and your preferred flying mount macro-ed together.
Well that is all for now I hope this serves as a good break from my ranty posts lately!
Edit: Apparently Kobeck decided to correct me! You can shorten Modifier in the macro down to Mod and call it good.