Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


ActiveWords: Another tool that may be a keeper

In my previous post, Bren left a comment touting ActiveWords as a useful tool. I decided to install it an went through the brief tutorial. I've only been using it for about 15 minutes, but I must say it's promising.

It is essentially a macro / shortcut application that sits on top of Windows and watches keystrokes looking for "activation" words. It can act on these words automatically (kind of like the automatic spell check in Word, except that it works in any app - including the HTML entry form I'm using to type this). Pretty slick. You can also force a "confirm" so it doesn't act so much like a poltergeist on you system - the default is the [F8] key, which indicates that you've just typed a trigger word that you want it to respond to.

You can download a bunch of free add-in libraries of commands and shortcuts from the ActiveWords site, and you can add your own.

Why do I like it so far? Here are some commands I set up quickly to check it out:

  • When I type ptb[F8] I launch a browser instance with a shortcut that brings me to my "Post to blog" page on my blog site.
  • When I type task[F8] (one of the shortcuts in the Outlook add-in I downloaded from their site) it creates a new task in Outlook - very handy since that's how I track stuff for GTD.

And I think I'm barely scratching the surface.

I'm going to use ActiveWords for a week or so and make sure I still dig it before registering, but they have a bodacious 60-day trial period if you want to try it yourself. Thanks for the tip, Bren!