Use Macros with FastKeys


In order to save time, we’re always looking for ways to do perform tasks faster and more efficiently. Whether you’re a businessman in a hurry or a lazy college student looking for simplicity, we would all like to perform tasks a little bit faster and with a little bit of less effort put in. Even simple tasks on your computer can be performed faster with FastKeys.

FastKeys is a simple program lets you control certain keys to command your computer to do just about anything!

Getting Started

Fastkeys can be downloaded directly from the company’s main website here: http://fastkeys.vze.com/

The program is only compatible with Windows and claims to be “Great for Windows 8” so I used a Windows 8 for this review.

Installation of Fastkeys is fast and efficient, just like what the program promises to offer. The setup file is a few 1,279 KB and the program itself is only 3.6 MB. Proceed with the download after accepting the license agreement. The program offers no ads, which allows you to breeze through the setup process as there is not bundleware.

Launching the Program

Immediately after launching the program, you were offered to purchase, register or continue with the program. The company’s website clearly states that there is no benefit in purchasing the $9.99 software other than supporting the company. I would recommend fully trying out the program and making sure that you appreciate the work before selecting this option. Registration also provides no benefit, so I would recommend simply pressing “Continue”.

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After it’s finished “Loading Fastkeys” (loading time differs based on computer) the program hides itself in the taskbar and has minimal CPU usage: 1,008 Kb of memory.

*Note, I’ve had FastKeys crash on me while loading. Just reload the program and it’ll open up fine the second time.

Once started, FastKeys provides you the opportunity to learn more about the program through their website. I highly recommend looking through it as most of its features are not clearly visible on initial use.

The program allows you to quickly navigate to websites or other destinations on your computer by simply moving your mouse to the top of your screen on any page. Regardless if you’re on your desktop, have a web browser opened, or typing an essay on Word, you always have FastKeys available at the top of your screen. E.g. Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, YouTube, etc. & My Computer, My Documents, Microsoft Office, Notepad, MS Calculator, etc.

The feature will also allow you to quickly and conveniently lock, hibernate or power off your system.

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These options can also be edited by going to the “Settings” option shown in the picture.

Move the mouse to the right-side of the screen and scroll with your scroll wheel. It will adjust the volume up and down. Although this is a handy feature, it does not seem to work using the same scrolling feature on a laptop.

Create keyboard shortcuts by accessing the “Settings” feature mentioned earlier. This feature allows you to set a variety of shortcuts you’ve always dreamed your PC could have using your keyboard. The types of shortcuts you can set range from running or opening a program to writing your own script. I’ve noticed myself often highlight text and use the “Alt + G” feature to do a quick Google search.

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Expand your texts to make your emails and or messages more formal. If you prefer to type in short-form but want to make sure that your messages are changed into a more formal manner, FastKeys allows you to do just that. In the default set provided, just by typing “fyi”, your text will be automatically be converted to “for your information”. The best part of this feature is that you do not need to press “enter” or “send” after typing this for the text expander to activate.

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This feature also provides users the opportunity to not only expand texts but also command your computer. The default example shows that if you type in “cc”, your computer will automatically open MS Calculator and delete the “cc” text you just typed. I definitely found this useful whenever I wanted to open up Microsoft Word and could simply type “MSword” into my Facebook chat.

Review

Although the program provides a wide-variety of features that make your life easier, there are definitely some problems with the program that have bothered me while using it.

First of all, the feature that allows you to quickly access and navigate to Internet or Microsoft destinations can be quite bothersome. As mentioned earlier, the feature allows you to move your cursor to the top of the screen and see the navigation options; however, this is very annoying when browsing through tabs.

While attempting to switch between tabs, the quick navigation feature appears and blocks the cursor’s path from click a tab. The purpose of the program is to disappear in the background and only become visible when you need it, but FastKeys seems to come into notice even when you aren’t using it. If the quick navigation feature is switched to the left side of the screen, it would become more preferable.

Secondly, I don’t ever need to quickly access shortcuts provided in the quick navigation. Most web browsers already provide shortcuts to “Most Visited Websites” on start-up, making it unnecessary. As for the quick navigation for My Computers or My Documents, etc., I can simply do a quick search after pressing the Windows key on my computer to find any program – just as fast as the quick navigation tool on this program. I use Windows 8, but the same can be done with Windows Vista or 7 by typing into the “search” feature on the startbar.

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Finally, after using Windows for so long, I’ve already found my own shortcuts and navigation utilities that I prefer using. I’ve had this program downloaded for a long time but rarely use it despite setting my own shortcuts. My own methods of starting up programs are much more convenient and preferred than the new shortcuts provided.

Overall, the program does what it offers, but I do not plan on using it because it was not as convenient and efficient as I first expected. The features it provides are not as I had hoped and often became very annoying (especially when switching tabs).  Finally, the program’s features are easily forgotten and not as handy as I had first imagined. I would only recommend this program to new Windows users and not to current users.


Summary

Use macros, a text expander, and secondary Start Menu to speed up your computer and keep commonly used programs and snippets at your fingertips.

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