What’s your typing speed like? Like most people, you probably like the idea of being able to type a little faster – I include myself in this number, as I write for a living, so the ability to get words down more quickly is something to be welcomed.
If you spend a great deal of time typing, it’s pretty easy to build up your words per minute to a more than acceptable levels, But even if you only have to type letters and other documents fairly infrequently there’s still a lot you can do to speed things up – using AutoText for example.
This is an app that does not exactly help you to type faster; while a typing tutor app might run you through practices that will enable you to increase your typing rate, this program enables you to create shortcuts that can be used to enter long words, phrases, or even standard blocks of text by typing just a few letters. If you’ve tried TextExpander forOS X or iOS, you know what to expect. AutoText will set you back $22.85, but there’s a free trial available so you can take it for a test drive before committing yourself.
The installation of AutoText is not complicated, but it is a little different to the norm. Pay a visit to the program web site and click the ‘Free download’ button at the top of the page – when you start the installation you will need to make sure that you are connected to the internet as there are additional files that need to be downloaded.
Run through the installation process and in the nag screen that is displayed when you launch the program click the Evaluate button. You will see that there are a number of readymade autotext entries that you can start using straight away.
Speed Up Text Entry
One of the best things about AutoText is the fact that it can be used with any program – you are not limited to working with a specific word processor. To test out how the program works, launch Word, Notepad, Wordpad, or any other application you have installed that you might type in. Type ‘temail’ and before you have even had chance to hit the spacebar these six letter will be expanded in to the phrase ‘Thank you for the e-mail’.
Before you start using the program further, click Tools followed by Settings to configure a few options. To ensure that the program is always running so you can take advantage of it, tick the box labelled ‘Start Auto Text when Windows starts’, and to keep the app tucked out of the way, make sure that the ‘Start minimized to system tray’ option is also selected.
While there are likely to be a few of the sample autotexts that are going to be of interest to you, it is more likely that you will want to personalized the program with your own shortcuts. Click the Keywords menu and select ‘New keyword’ and then type the short keyword you would like to type followed by the words or phrase you would like it to be expanded into.
You’ll no doubt have noticed that the readymade autotexts have been organized into folders to the right. You can use the Folders menu to create new folders and sub-folders into which you can add new entries, while existing autotexts can be moved by right clicking and selecting the ‘Move to folder’ option.
If you want take things up a notch, AutoText can also be used as macro tool. As well as using the program to transform a few key presses into full sentences, they can also be used as keyboard shortcuts to perform a variety of tasks.
When you select the option to add a new keyword, click the ‘macros help’ link to see some of the shortcuts you can use to move the cursor, insert the date and much more – there are also a few more mentioned in the help file.
There’s no denying that AutoText could save you a good deal of typing. It’s true that it duplicates features found in some programs – such as the AutoText feature of Microsoft Word – but what makes this different is the fact that this is tool that can be used in conjunction with virtually any program you have installed.
It’s worth pointing out that in addition to helping save time when it comes to typing frequently used pieces of text, it also eliminates the risk of spelling mistakes (assuming you haven’t made any mistakes in setting up your autotexts) as the pressure is taken off your touch typing skills.
This is a marvellously versatile tool. As well as using it for run-of-the-mill tasks such as adding your address to the tops of letters, entering standard responses into documents and other such things, AutoTexts can also be used to help with the filling in of online forms, typing web addresses and much more. With a little thought, you could probably come up with all manner of other uses for the app as well.
What do you think of AutoTexts? Have you found any unique uses for it? Got any recommendations for other similar apps? Let us know in the comments below.