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Repetitive typing steals your time! Moreover, extensive typing can cause pain and injury.

Take Richard Stallman for example. He’s a programming rockstar. Back in the 80s and 90s before Github was a thing and when the idea of software freedom was at its most abstract, he created the GNU utilities Five Tech Myths Debunked: Who Really Created Linux, And More Five Tech Myths Debunked: Who Really Created Linux, And More The world is full of urban legends, and the technological world is no exception. While device or software rumors usually make up the largest portion of these, they are temporary as any rumors are proven... Read More . These later became an inseparable part of the Linux project, which can now be found in computers, cellphones and fridges.

Richard hasn’t done much programming, recently. Guess why. He has repetitive strain injury (RSI). This debilitating condition 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy Working on the computer may sound like the most relaxed job in the world, but it's quite the contrary. It's very tough on your body, which is not used to this modern type of work.... Read More makes typing painful, and is exacerbated by typing, something writers and programmers alike do lots of. Indeed, typing is an inescapable activity of the modern world.

Can anything be done? Well, yes. You can type less. Meet Breevy.

Breevy – by 16 Software – allows you to perform actions and to type sections of text, just by using abbreviations. It runs on Microsoft Windows and you can get it now for $34.95. I gave it a spin. Here’s what I thought.

Getting started with Breevy

Breevy weighs in at just 5MB and installs in just a few moments on an ancient, wheezy, AMD laptop from yesteryear. Once you’ve grabbed it, it’ll be time to create some abbreviations.

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But first, let’s talk about how abbreviations work within the context of Breevy. Consider the phrase “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. If you find yourself repeatedly typing this phrase, you could expedite this process greatly by just typing ‘tqbf’ followed by ‘ctrl’. Breevy comes built-in with some example abbreviations to show you how they work.

abbreviations

Creating these abbreviations is easy. Simply click ‘New Abbreviation’, and define the replacement text, the abbreviation and give it a meaningful description. You can also decide how you want to run your abbreviation. You can choose between running it immediately, or after a trigger key has been pressed. You can also decide if you want your abbreviation to be case insensitive or case sensitive.

create-abbreviations

Breevy borrows some concepts from programming languages. One such concept is variables. When replacing text, you can be prompted to provide the computer with an input. This input is remembered and can be used again and again.

variables

There are also some pre-defined variables which contain values you might find useful, including times and dates.

Breevy for Writers

Two groups of writers will love Breevy.

If you find yourself writing letters and emails that are based upon a form, you might find yourself benefiting from Breevy. Just copy your template into Breevy, create your variables at the appropriate places, and never have to mess around with master templates in Word ever again.

letter

The second group of people is people writing heavy, turgid academic tomes littered with long, confusing scientific words. If you can’t remember the correct spelling for selenocysteine, but you’re writing a paper about it, Breevy will allow you to write this word by just using a short, memorable abbreviation. Handy, right?

Breevy for Coders

I’m a writer, but I also work as a software developer, working mostly in Java, PHP and Python. One attribute that unifies software developers is a shared desire to work out how they can massively increase their productivity, especially when dealing with languages that are notoriously verbose and bulky, as PHP and Java are.

python-function

The interesting thing about programming languages is that they are all pretty formulaic. They have a syntax which has to be adhered to. A handy side-effect of this is that it’s ripe for automation with Breevy.

python-create-function

I gave it a go with Python and Java using the web based development environment IDEOne Ideone: Online IDE & Debugging Tool Ideone: Online IDE & Debugging Tool Read More and found that it significantly increased my coding productivity. Furthermore, for languages that are verbose (like Java), this could result in not having to remember its tricky syntax and function calls. It could also result in fewer mistakes made, and less time spent debugging errors. Awesome, right?

Conclusion

I used Breevy for a day.

Make no mistake, Breevy isn’t right for everyone. If you’re a creative writer, or if the text you are writing isn’t formulaic in nature, then you probably won’t get much out of this software product.

But for those who predominantly write software, academic papers and office documents, they may find that this app could make their productivity skyrocket.

Why don’t you grab a copy, give it a spin and let me know what you think in the comments below.

  1. John S.
    July 18, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Or you can do like OI have had for years and use Robotype from PC MAG utilities Versions 3 or 4 work very well and I have used them for years.
    They only cost $7.95 (I think) and are a real time saver!
    I love them and use them for passwords or anything I want to use just 3 or 4 characters and the spacebar for.. now length limit.

  2. Andrea Nagar
    March 14, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I just would like to point out our software PhraseExpander as well http://www.phraseexpander.com

    We are focused on who needs to create templates that need to br filled. We have the ability to display text boxes, lists and grids from which you can choose the desidered option.

    This is helpful especially for medical doctors that can crate their templates in a much faster fashion,

    We also display a small suggestion window near where the user is typing to help remembering the abbreviations.

    We are also about to release v.4 with a quick search function and an integrated spell checker.

  3. Art Werschulz
    March 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    You honestly think that RMS is going to use a Windoze product? C'mon!!

  4. Joe
    March 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Those of us using Linux have Autokey.

    https://code.google.com/p/autokey/

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/autokey-users

    It works wonders and is free.

    We are actively looking for one or more Python programmers to aid in maintaining and developing it.

  5. terry
    March 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    AutoKey on Linux, AutoHotKey on Windows and Automater on Mac.

  6. ohad
    March 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm
  7. JimJohn
    March 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I like Breevy uncluttered look, but it cannot match with PhraseExpress's new engine, which you can assign the same abbreviation to multiple text. When you type the abbre. code, there will be a popup box, showing you the list of full text that assigned with that abbreviation, (which you can assign hotkey to each of them for quick use)

    Sound trivial but it is a pleasure in real use because it means a LOT LESS abbreviation to remember. Didn't I mention it is also free?

    • Kevin
      March 3, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Unfortunately PhraseExpress's company has a really bad reputation for not only being really rude but also using fake names to post comments saying bad things about their competitors and either promoting their own software, or other software that doesn't really compete with theirs like AutoHotKey (AHK) in an attempt to throw people off. I've seen them do it several times here before on MUO and they actually were caught red handed a couple years ago on another popular forum I frequent and fortunately they stopped posting on that forum not long after, which needless to say everyone was happy about.

      No one minds a little self promotion, but how about at least be a man about it and say those same things using your real name, y'know? But if they want to continue to chase potential customers away (like me) I guess that's their prerogative.

    • JimJohn
      March 5, 2014 at 5:28 am

      @Kevin
      I'm the original poster this of comment and just an ordinary happy user of PhraseExpress that just want to share my experiences and what I like about their software - that's it.

      I have no intention to deliberately bash Breevy or shamelessly promote PhraseExpress AT ALL, I just told what I feel in case some people find it interesting, (because I already try both of them) I didn't know about their bad reputation either, so sorry if I make you misunderstood.

    • Michael
      March 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      @Kevin: Hi from http://www.phraseexpress.com - We are very sorry to hear that.

      Why not check out our support forum and get a first-hand impression about what we do and how we care for our users: http://forum.phraseexpress.com - No need to speculate. You can verify it. It's public!

      Keep cool! ;-)

  8. mtbink.com
    March 1, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I prefer AutoHotkey.

  9. Dana
    March 1, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    As a software reviewer, I got a copy of Breevy a year or so ago. I love it and have been using ever since. Long email addresses? No Problem. "Canned" response to an email...No Problem. I'm finding new uses all the time.

    • Some Random Dude
      March 2, 2014 at 6:13 am

      Yes, as software reviewer when you get $100 apps free they become great despite having their far far better free alternatives available. I totally understand, I'd have said the same and every piece of good software deserves praises.

      I prefer software that take ordinary Joes in mind rather than Joneses, and release a non-commercial free version and a commercial license version. AHK is good, but I think I'll buy the Breevy, since its a independent developer rather than an money hog corp.

    • Dana
      March 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      That might be the case for some. I am unpaid and yes, I do get the software for free but if it sucks, I say so. As part of a "panel" of 5, we each get a 1 year subscription of the pro or premium version. Many programs go down in flames if they are crap. We do not exchange notes about anything we are reviewing and let the chips fall where they may when the review comes out. Developers still participate for some reason. As for Breevy, I've tried several other but like this one.

  10. me
    March 1, 2014 at 9:35 am

    first thing comes to mind after reading the article title is autohotkey its free, portable and tons of template script are ready to be downloaded, including macro combo for games.... AHK FREE without any reward program needed.....

  11. Gregory Morrow
    March 1, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Almost $35 for an abbreviation and template utility?
    A feature that almost all the editors have from at least 10 years?
    Without counting the countless free utilities that do this?

    Man, you are shameless...

    • Joe B
      March 2, 2014 at 5:33 am

      Sounds like someone got up on the wrong side o' the bed this morning.

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