Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a tech freak and that AutoHotKey is my passion for getting stuff done.
There’s nothing that AutoHotKey hasn’t been able to do at this point. I have found more ways to get stuff done, better and faster than anyone could imagine.
I like to sit back and smile at the fact others are doing things on a manual level while things that can be automated are completely scripted out. You can refer to them as scripts or macros; or what ever you want to call them, but they’re smart and they’re very productive.
And using these type of tools isn’t so much about being lazy, but recognizing that what you’re doing, the repetitive parts; the parts that make you want to pull your hair out on how monotonous it can be, can be scripted to run almost automatically.
Here’s a list of text expansion, or text replacement applications that I’ve used over the past couple of years that I think are very productive and deserve a careful review to decide which one works better for the environment you’re in.
I have people that hate me for the things that I do with AutoHotKey. Mainly because they’re still doing stuff manually and I have scripted the same thing to happen, and I can do it in 15 seconds and it takes them 2-3 minutes. And I don’t see this as an unfair advantage, I see it as using my abilities to get my job done better, faster and more consistent.
From everything to words, phrases, dates, tasks and multi-action scripts; I use AutoHotKey to do lots of functions.
An AutoHotKey file looks like this on the inside… it’s very simple; and it’s just a text file. You can do all kind of things with it.
::should of::should have
AutoHotKey is a scripting language pretty much to itself. But AutoHotKey is not limited to strictly your PC, the information can be placed onto a jump drive and taken with you.
and I can also make AutoHotKey open outlook appointments, tasks and emails for me with just a keystroke.
;;--- Outlook Commands ---
run, outlook.exe /c ipm.note
run, outlook.exe /c task
run, outlook.exe /c ipm.appointment
It’s really cool…
If not already, you should check it out.
Texter is a derivative of AutoHotKey. the folks at Lifehacker, specifically Adam Pash, was working with AutoHotKey and then expanded upon the idea to create a very simplistic GUI to manage the hotkeys/text replacements that was being added to his ongoing library/collection.
Texture is a very simplistic application. It has continued to grow and evolve, but the overall function of the application is to simply do text corrections and canned responses.
It’s a free application, written with AutoHotKey, and then compiled to be distributed as an executable. and just recently Texter was included with the portable applications suite, from portableapps.
PhraseExpress is shareware application and it’s another text expander.
This was one of my first applications on doing text expansion, it was really helpful, but I found some issues with it and also the fact the first year I owned the program the cost of the application doubled.
I’m not discounting the abilities of PhraseExpress; it’s a great program and the developers of the application seem to release a new version of the software around once a year.
From their website they have a nice example of how text replacement and stored snippets of text can really help the day.
But truthfully, this is only one aspect of the application, it can handle the text side, RTF, HTML, IMAGES and macros— It’s good.
Link to demo:
PhraseExpress offers a FREE version of the application for personal use, but also has checking processes in place to see if any of your phrases could be used for commercial purposes; if so, you be warned. Their website clearly states this…
And for those users who are constantly on the go, there is a portable version of PhraseExpress.
PhraseExpress is not solely for the individual, it’s actually geared more towards commercial customers.
Basically, any kind of company or corporation who deal with repetitive type information, PhraseExpress is looking for those types of customers. Because PhraseExpress has a enterprise version that can be used over the network with a ability to share the knowledge base that’s accumulated.
If you like the cost of AutoHotKey, but don’t like text files; and you like the look and feel of PhraseExpress, but don’t like the cost… what you may be looking for is Auspex.
Auspex is another free application for doing text replacement. The user interface for this application is very similar to PhraseExpress, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. But this might actually be the application that you’re looking for, which provides a simple text replacement, canned responses or repetitive information.
For the cost, presentation and function of this application, I think this is an excellent choice.
Breevy is right in line with the other tech expansion applications. This application has been in production and distribution for a long time. I believe this application is in direct competition with PhraseExpress, and the pricing with Breevy is more competitive than that of PhraseExpress, but with some exceptions…
My personal opinion is that Breevy is an option for text replacement, but in the course of my testing and my evaluations, I found better options.
I find that Breevy was good, and I also believe it’s more geared to the individual more than a larger company; not stating that it couldn’t.
This is just a list of applications that I’ve tried, there’s plenty of other applications on the Internet that basically do the same thing; but these are ultimately the applications that I chose to pick and to try out, to figure out which application was going to work best for my environment.
Ultimately, I chose AutoHotKey, because using AutoHotKey I have complete control over everything, every correction and every adjustment that’s made as I’m entering information. I enter stand that AutoHotKey may not be the choice for everyone, most people prefer a more simplified user interface, which Breevy, PhraseExpress or Auspex could provide.
These are just options, it’s on you to decide which one is going to work best for your environment, but rest assured; regardless of the selection that you make using an application that handles can responses, text replacement and/or text corrections, you’re going to be more productive and you’re going to get more done.
I hope this helps…
Larry Henry Jr.