5 Kick Ass ac’tivAid Extensions To Enhance Your Windows Experience
The other day I introduced the Windows tool ac’tivAid to you. It’s a platform for AutoHotkey scripts that add valuable functions to Windows. Many of the extensions are based on cool standard features in Mac or Linux operating systems.
ac’tivAid is a host for many tools and can replace several other gadgets. Per default, none of the 60+ extensions are enabled. This way your system isn’t weighed down by scripts you are not using. To make it easier for you to get started with some über cool features, I have compiled a list of the 5 most useful ones.
As mentioned in my previous article, ac’tivAid is available for Windows 2000 through Windows 7. A thorough documentation for each of its 60+ extensions is also provided within the program. Click the question mark next to a script’s short description, either in the tab listing all extensions or in the extension’s dedicated tab.
Personally, I try to keep my desktop empty, but if you have a ton of shortcuts and files on your desktop, you will love this extension. Don’t you love it when you have to minimize a dozen open windows to access an item on your desktop? Even if you can quickly minimize and restore windows in bulk, it’s still a time waster.
With LookThrough the whole process is simplified. A keyboard shortcut is all it takes to cut through all your open windows and gain direct visual and physical access to your desktop. Yes, you can actually click shortcuts on your desktop while LookThrough is in operation.
Unfortunately, this extension only works with the classic XP design in Windows Vista. However, it does work with Aero themes in Windows 7.
This script provides quick access to your most used search engines.
The default keyboard shortcut [Windows] + [W] opens a menu where you can select from a list of search engines.
You can assign your custom keyboard shortcuts to directly open a specific search engine. If you highlight a word in your web browser and click your custom shortcut, the search will launch immediately. The script generally uses your default browser, but you can define different browsers for specific search engines.
Too many open windows piling up in your taskbar? How about minimizing some of them to the tray rather than the taskbar? With MinimizeToTray shortcuts you can hide and unhide a window to a tray-icon. You can also make selected windows hide automatically.
The default Windows volume control is pretty bare. When you use keyboard controls to adjust the volume, you typically don’t know where you are in terms of scale. VolumeControl adds a stylish Mac-like on screen display (OSD).
As with almost all ac’tivAid extensions, you can customize the keyboard shortcuts. VolumeControl will also work with existing buttons dedicated to controlling the volume. Finally, you can assign custom shortcuts for up to two different sound devices.
Isn’t it totally annoying that you first have to click a window to be able to use the mouse wheel? Sometimes you just don’t want to bring the window forward. MouseWheel lets you scroll in inactive windows, without bringing the window forward and burying other windows sitting on top of it. You just hover over the window with cursor and being scrolling.
You can disable MouseWheel for selected windows.
So these were my picks to get you started. There are dozens of other scripts to be discovered. Some of you may be looking for a way to copy text without formatting (PastePlain), others might appreciate a shortcut to instantly initiate the shutdown process (AutoShutdown), or how about simplified screenshot hotkeys (ScreenShot), quick access to a calculator (CalculAid), resizing windows without having to hit the edge (ComfortResize), making windows transparent using the mouse wheel (TransparentWindows), and tons more.
Please let us know which ac’tivAid extension gets your vote and what you think of the platform as a whole.
Image Credit : Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, Hanover, Germany
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