Continued from ActiveWords – Part Two
I didn’t take up Buzz’s offer of a personal tour mainly because I’ve been too slack to get set up for Skype. It’s on the urgent to-do list right after procrastination. Anyway it gave me the chance to experience same introduction that any user can get just by using the trial.
Not long after getting ActiveWords installed & running (painless) an email arrived. I presume everyone gets these and they arrive every few days for the first few of weeks. They are not “buy ActiveWords” spam but gentle suggestions;
- Did you know…?
- You can do….?
- Try this….
- Extend ActiveWords with…
They are not annoying but prompt you to improve your use. Some suggest downloading free add-ins to integrate ActiveWords with other applications or extend it’s abilities.
One powerful example is an Outlook add-in that creates ActiveWords for all your contacts and allows easy actions (send email, search contacts etc) with Outlook. Another allows easy transformation of numbers ($50) to words (fifty dollars) or common actions in MS Windows (Minimise, Maximise etc). If you use Google there is an add-in for their Desktop Search, Gmail, and Map.
One irony: One of the add-ins integrates ActiveWords with MSN Desktop Search which is about where all this started for me!
You could argue that these should be part of the application but having separate add-ins allows you to choose which you use. I prefer this as I’ll never require US ABA Litigation Code or c++ ActiveWords so I won’t install them!
I made extensive use of auto correct/auto text in Microsoft Office and have transfered my list to ActiveWords Substitute list. This is one aspect that could be improved as there is no simple “import Autocorrect”. I found a macro that exported the autocorrect entry list to a text file then loaded them. One unexpected task was finding all the “auto help” options in various applications to turn them off!
Choosing your ActiveWords – Some planning pays off
One thing to think about is how you set up ActiveWords to make them consistent and easy to use. I use a standard abbreviation and then the last letter as action.
- *f (f = full) substitutes the long format name.
- *u substitutes a URL as text.
- *n starts browser and navigates.
- *l launches the application.
For most applications I use the file extension as find it easiest to remember
- docl – Launches Microsoft Word
- cdrl – Launches CorelDRAW
- xlsl – Launches Microsoft Excel etc
You can also have multiple associations for a single ActiveWord. In this case you are presented with a list of options to choose from. I have more than a few email signatures with quotes all assigned to one active word. Pick one and the signature inserted
“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”