Recently I started using a Windows program called Perfect Keyboard. This program converts keyboard shortcuts into text – replacing a couple of keystrokes with larger chunks of text.
The two main benefits are faster typing and no mistakes. For example I type .m (Period then the letter M) then Perfect Keyboard replaces it with my mobile phone number. I can type my name with two keystrokes (Period and C) to get Charles Cave.
Perfect Keyboard can be downloaded from the MacroToolworks web site. The free program allows you to create 50 shortcuts and the paid version gives you much more.
These are the macros I have set up. Click the image to view full size. Confidential information has been deliberately blurred.
As you can see I have short cuts for my name, blog address, home address, mobile number, and nickname of ozcaveman which I use as a user name on many web sites and forums.
I setup each shortcut to begin with a period (.) followed by one letter. It is possible to use several letters but I found one letter allows me to type as quickly as possible. The text is automatically expanded once the space key is typed. Perfect keyboard then does a backspace, so I found I had to add a space after the replacement text of the macros.
Perfect keyboard also has functions for date and time. I frequently use date stamps in file names, in the format of YYYYMMDD so when I type .s I get 20130924. The cursor is then placed just after the last digit. I often create folders with a name beginning with today’s date. This means folders can be displayed in the sequence of date created.
I set up the Date macro .d to expand like this: Tuesday 24 September 2013. It is so much easier to let the computer insert the date instead of having to pause, check the date and type it.
Here are the screens on how the macros are set up. A text abbreviation is entered or you can use a hot key.
The replacement text is entered. Click the Command button to choose from functions like Date and Time.
This type of program was first brought to my attention in a video by Celestine Chua on her Personal Excellence blog. The article title caught my attention How to Increase your typing speed by 500%. Watch the video for ideas on text substitution.
Celes uses a free program called Texter but I found the program didn’t always work, so I installed Perfect Keyboard at the suggestion of a colleague. Thanks Harold!
I’m trying to think of new abbreviations to add to help increase my productivity. I would also like a similar program for the iPhone.
I make a screen capture of my abbreviations and printed it so I have an aide-memoire to help me remember the short cuts. I now have them memorised after several days of use.
One final tip is to use the same abbreviations on your work and home computers. You can save the abbreviations from the program and install on other computers.