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run commands on pcEveryone likes shortcuts, right? Or am I the only person who likes to find faster ways of doing things on the computer and off? This time I have found a program called ActiveWords that makes using my computer faster.

The idea is that with ActiveWords I can take many tasks and accomplish them just by typing a word to run commands on my pc. For instance, I can all sorts of stuff from using shortened key words to get longer words to pop up making typing quicker to opening programs or websites just by typing a designated word. Let’s not get ahead of things because I will definitely show you some of the functionality later in this article.

ActiveWords is a free program to the individual user and is only for the Windows user. To see what all the fuss is about, head over to ActiveWords.com. Meanwhile I would like to give you an idea of what ActiveWords can do to speeds things up a bit for you.

Once you download, install, and read some of the tutorials, you should click on the yellow “add” button in the toolbar. This should give you a box full of options allowing you to add some shortcuts.

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run commands on pc

As you can see, there is a list of actions you can associate with any key word your heart desires. Let’s start with the first one: substituting text. I noticed that one of the default shortcuts had to do with typing something like “signature” and out would pop an email signature of sorts. Think of something that contains quite a few words that you find yourself typing a lot and we’ll start with that.

Click “Substitute Text” and then “Next.”

Then just type what text you want to show up and the description (so you can easily find it on the “View ActiveWords” list.

typing commands

On the next screen you will need a key word. Choose your keyword and enter it in the “ActiveWord” box. This is what you will type in order to get the replacement text you entered in the last screen.

typing commands

Note that since the program comes with a default ActiveWord triggered by “signature”, you’ll either want to delete the old one or just modify it instead of making a new one. I chose to make a new one for the purposes of showing the feature.

There are other tasks that you can do like being able to run commands on your PC and opening an oft used program (having it open whilst setting it up will make it easier for ActiveWords to find the program file) or document. Let’s quickly try to set up an activeword for an oft used folder (I use my screen shots folder all the time).

Hit “add another”, highlight “open a folder” and click next. The only difference between this setup and the setup for a word replacement is that instead of typing replacement text you just browse for the folder you are looking for.

typing commands

ActiveWords will give you a default description similar to this: “Open – Screen Captures.”  Personally, I would add in parenthesis “folder” so you can easily identify it later. Then on the next screen enter an activeword just like last time.

Now, if you ever want to use any of the activewords you’ve set up, you trigger them by typing in the chosen activeword and then hitting SPACE twice. You can also use F8 to trigger them (either having highlighted the activeword or directly after typing it).

Try out ActiveWords and see if it will make things quicker and easier for you too. Do you have a program that makes using your computer easier and faster?  What about similar solutions for other operating systems? Please share in the comments.

  1. acepelon
    June 19, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Find and Run Robot is just about the most powerful, complicated program of this type that I have seen on either Mac or PC. I use Quicksilver and Butler regularly on the Mac and love them both, but on the PC I haven't found anything comparable to FARR. That being said, the learning curve is very steep to become a power user. I left the PC for over a year and now that I am back, I have to re-train myself on it. The Dev, mouser, is wonderful and the team surrounding donationcoder.com is as well. If you are looking for more than your average bear in terms of shortcut productivity, give it a shot.

  2. acepelon
    June 19, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Find and Run Robot is just about the most powerful, complicated program of this type that I have seen on either Mac or PC. I use Quicksilver and Butler regularly on the Mac and love them both, but on the PC I haven't found anything comparable to FARR. That being said, the learning curve is very steep to become a power user. I left the PC for over a year and now that I am back, I have to re-train myself on it. The Dev, mouser, is wonderful and the team surrounding donationcoder.com is as well. If you are looking for more than your average bear in terms of shortcut productivity, give it a shot.

  3. Buzz Bruggeman
    May 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I have been watching the comments, and my observations are below:

    As for Humanized being more pleasing to the eye, we are working on ActiveWords 2.0 which will be a whole lot better looking. And while we realize cosmetics are important, we believe that functionality is vastly more important. Being very stable and very fast is more important. We believe that ActiveWords is just a lot better product than Humanized. But if you think they do something better than we do, let me know.

    I have never heard of AyeNotes… but we would love to build ActiveWords for the iPhone. Right now Apple has made it impossible for us to do so, but we are looking at partnering with a firm that is building on the Android platform to do something.

    Getting people to modify their behavior one degree, e.g., to think about what they want to do, engage ActiveWords, look at what we do, and realize that about 80% of the time we can automate or speed up routine/repetitive tasks dramatically.

    As for Quick Keys and Automator, both good tools, but ActiveWords does so much more. And as I either wrote or meant to, we would love to find a Mac development partner. The Mac market is small, e.g., around 7-8% of the desktops/laptops, but Mac owners buy software.

    As for PhaseExpress, while free is good, no one has ever complained to us that ActiveWords is worth $50, if fact we are routinely told we should charge more. I also do not believe PE supports their app like we do, nor have they built http://www.activewords.com/plu... for their app.

    We tried to exceed your expectations in terms of ideas and support, so keep comments coming.

  4. Buzz Bruggeman
    May 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I have been watching the comments, and my observations are below:

    As for Humanized being more pleasing to the eye, we are working on ActiveWords 2.0 which will be a whole lot better looking. And while we realize cosmetics are important, we believe that functionality is vastly more important. Being very stable and very fast is more important. We believe that ActiveWords is just a lot better product than Humanized. But if you think they do something better than we do, let me know.

    I have never heard of AyeNotes… but we would love to build ActiveWords for the iPhone. Right now Apple has made it impossible for us to do so, but we are looking at partnering with a firm that is building on the Android platform to do something.

    Getting people to modify their behavior one degree, e.g., to think about what they want to do, engage ActiveWords, look at what we do, and realize that about 80% of the time we can automate or speed up routine/repetitive tasks dramatically.

    As for Quick Keys and Automator, both good tools, but ActiveWords does so much more. And as I either wrote or meant to, we would love to find a Mac development partner. The Mac market is small, e.g., around 7-8% of the desktops/laptops, but Mac owners buy software.

    As for PhaseExpress, while free is good, no one has ever complained to us that ActiveWords is worth $50, if fact we are routinely told we should charge more. I also do not believe PE supports their app like we do, nor have they built http://www.activewords.com/plusapplications.html for their app.

    We tried to exceed your expectations in terms of ideas and support, so keep comments coming.

    • timmyjohnboy
      May 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks for taking an active role in listening to what is being said about your software.

    • Aibek
      May 30, 2010 at 5:59 am

      thanks for the input!

  5. Watchtower
    May 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

    This seems much better than what I'm currently using. Enso Humanized does nearly the same thing, but with less functionality. Though Humanized is much more pleasing to the eye.

  6. Mrthermister
    May 28, 2010 at 8:00 am

    You mention AyeNotes, but I can't find it anywhere on the net. From what I've read, it's a pretty cool webapp and iPhone app, but sadly it's totally MIA. Any help here with AyeNotes? FYI, ayenotes.com links to something (apparently) entirely different.

  7. Mrthermister
    May 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

    You mention AyeNotes, but I can't find it anywhere on the net. From what I've read, it's a pretty cool webapp and iPhone app, but sadly it's totally MIA. Any help here with AyeNotes? FYI, ayenotes.com links to something (apparently) entirely different.

  8. Buzz Bruggeman
    May 28, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Thanks for the great ink! We really appreciate it!

    Be sure to look at our various agents, e.g. http://www.activewords.com/plu... , and I have collected a lot of materials related to scripting here, e.g. http://buzzmodo.typepad.com/bu... .

    ActiveWords gives you back the only thing you can't buy, e.g., "time"...

  9. Buzz Bruggeman
    May 28, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Thanks for the great ink! We really appreciate it!

    Be sure to look at our various agents, e.g. http://www.activewords.com/plusapplications.html , and I have collected a lot of materials related to scripting here, e.g. http://buzzmodo.typepad.com/buzznovation/2006/03/activewords_and_3.html .

    ActiveWords gives you back the only thing you can't buy, e.g., "time"...

  10. Bakari
    May 28, 2010 at 2:07 am

    This is awesome. I use QuicKeys and Automator in the same way for the Mac. It’s interesting that many computer users don’t use these kinds of programs to automate various manual and redundant taks..

  11. Bakari
    May 28, 2010 at 12:07 am

    This is awesome. I use QuicKeys and Automator in the same way for the Mac. It’s interesting that many computer users don’t use these kinds of programs to automate various manual and redundant taks..

    • timmyjohnboy
      May 28, 2010 at 3:43 am

      I would have to say that it does take some getting used to. Once the leap is made, the productivity jump is worth it!

  12. Hysterian
    May 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I use Phrase express http://www.phraseexpress.com/

    "Organize frequently used text snippets.
    Expand abbreviations as you type.
    Launch programs with text shortcuts.
    Auto-complete repetitive phrases.
    Quick access to the Windows Clipboard History.
    Correct spelling mistakes in any application."

    For personal use is free :D

  13. Anonymous
    May 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I use Phrase express http://www.phraseexpress.com/

    "Organize frequently used text snippets.
    Expand abbreviations as you type.
    Launch programs with text shortcuts.
    Auto-complete repetitive phrases.
    Quick access to the Windows Clipboard History.
    Correct spelling mistakes in any application."

    For personal use is free :D

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