Pros:Speeds up repetitive typing, cuts down on typos, fairly easy to set up
Cons:Must pay for each new 'major' upgrade, but it's not necessary to always upgrade this program
I'm sure I wouldn't win hundreds of online contests without this program!
Recommend this product?
If you do a lot of repetitive typing using the same words or phrases over and over, it's time for you to give a macro program a try. Macros are just shortcut keys that save you time and keystrokes. They're also called 'hot keys.'
Keyboard Express is a great keyboard macro utility for Windows. I've used this program every time I have my computer on for at least four years now, probably longer. This is always one of the first few programs I install whenever I get a new computer.
I've been winning online contests for years. (Yes, I've even written some Epinions on that subject) I also do a lot of online shopping. Between those two activities, Keyboard Express is always a real time saver for me. I easily program many repetitive typing phrases that appear on most common online forms into my Keyboard Express program and I'm into and out of my most frequently visited web sites within mere moments. I can even set up a macro to fill out an entire form for me if I use that particular form often.
It takes just a moment to set up a simple macro with this program and once you get the hang of it, you'll probably find yourself setting up more complex ones soon after. You can set up macros manually by typing in each keystroke you want it to repeat on command for you later or you can tell it to auto-capture keystrokes as you type the information you want it to memorize. You can even include TAB spaces and pauses in the macros you set up.
Various tasks I use Keyboard Express for:
Sending e-mails to friends and family
I've set up macro keys for the people I communicate with most frequently. For example, whenever I want to send an e-mail to my brother Dan, I just position my cursor in the e-mail 'TO' header and press ALT+D. (The ALT-D hot key combo just happens to be where I keep Dan's e-mail address. I use a lot of mnemonic hot keys to help me remember them easier!) His full e-mail address will then automatically type itself into the addressee line and then the cursor automatically TABS to the subject line. Does this mean I'm just a lazy typist?! Well, yes and no… it also means that whenever I want to send an e-mail to friends and family that hear from me the most, I'll never misspell their e-mail addresses and have that e-mail returned to me as undeliverable.
If I want to send the same e-mail to both of my brothers at the same time, I can quickly position the cursor in the 'TO' header again and press another of my programmed key combinations. I have one set up just for when I want to e-mail the same thing to my brothers or a couple of close friends. I just press a two key macro I've set up and my Keyboard Express program will type the first person's e-mail address, put in a comma, type the second person's address (which automatically defaults to the next addressee line), and then the cursor will TAB straight down to the subject line and wait for my next input. This is similar to a mailing list feature in some e-mail programs but quicker for me to use when sending something to any frequent e-mail recipient 'groups,' such as family members or close friends.
Do many e-mail programs already offer this 'fill in' feature? Yes, but they only allow me to use that feature within their programs. If I wanted to also use Dan's e-mail address in another way (maybe as some reference, while creating a list to print out, or to share with another relative), I can use Keyboard Express to quickly type his correct e-mail address into any document or e-mail I'm working in.
E-Mail Signature Lines
Got some snappy e-mail sig lines you like to use? Program macro keys for them and use them at will in your e-mails. You can choose a silly one or a more serious one and never inadvertently send the default one in your e-mail program to the wrong recipient!
Run scheduled tasks
Don't already use a task-scheduling program? Set up Keyboard Express to automatically scan for a virus, check e-mail, or do downloads at a particular time.
Online Shopping and Online Sweepstakes Forms
If you do much online shopping or fill out many online forms, you'll know how annoying it can sometimes be to type your name, e-mail address, home address, account numbers, or passwords for the umpteenth time. It's especially annoying if you make a typo and your info isn't accepted or the form goes through with bad information. Keyboard Express eliminates the problem of those kinds of typos for me. You can even choose to put a frequently used credit card number as a macro so you don't ever type it incorrectly. (Don't you hate those long numbers?!)
The biggest strength of Keyboard Express is its versatility. To make the form-filling process quicker and easier, I have many hot key combinations set up that I can choose to use with any common form. For example, when typing my name in an online form, I have four different name macros I've set up that I can choose from. (Okay, now here's where the Lazy Typist rears it's ugly head!) All my name macros are easily set up to type out whatever I've programmed into them and then TAB the cursor to the beginning of the next form box so that I can keep moving quickly through a form. Here are the four name macros I currently use:
Name Macro One: types my full name in one form line and then the cursor waits at the next line for my next input. (FirstName LastName TAB)
Name Macro Two: types my name in a split fashion for those forms that provide a separate space for each part of your name. (FirstName TAB LastName TAB)
Name Macro Three: types only my first name (FirstName TAB)
Name Macro Four: types only my last name. (LastName TAB)
Those last two are good for forms that ask me for an optional middle initial and I don't want to give it so I often use those two in tandem with another TAB tossed in the middle to skip the middle initial part of the form.
I know, I know, I bet you think this takes me awhile, it sounds quite anal, and it's a big waste of time… NOT AT ALL! I've used hot keys for years and I set them up to be easily remembered by me. I'm basically looking ahead at what an online form will be asking me as I key in each macro and I fly through forms in no time. The macro keys just become second nature with use. When it comes to entering online contests, I can enter contests at probably 30+ different sites in the time it would take most other people to manually fill in each entry form at 10 sites. Does that give me more opportunities to win more prizes than many other people? You betcha! Is it cheating? No way, I'm just typing faster, that's all.
Another thing about using a macro program for online contest entries… sites that say in their rules that they don't accept 'automated entries' or contest entries using automating software are NOT talking about macro programs. (People get mixed up about this all the time) Those rules are referring to paid services that use other software programs to make contest entries for people for a fee, effectively eliminating visits from all those potential customers to those web sites. (Which was the whole point of the site holding a sweepstakes in the first place!) Macro programs do not fall under that category, you just use them to make your repetitive typing tasks easier.
I know I've easily memorized probably 60+ of my macro keystroke combinations but that's just because I use the program so much for so many things. The Keyboard Express program allows you to enter more than 500 hot key combinations. For people who think they won't remember the macros they've made in Keyboard Express, you can simply print out a list of them for yourself until you're more familiar with what you've set up. As I said before, with use they become second nature.
I know I don't use this program to it's full potential but I still give it a workout every time I'm online and even for many offline activities. I know I could also easily program it to submit hundreds of contest entries in certain 'unlimited entry' sweepstakes over and over again but hey... I like to win fair and square! My Keyboard Express program is located in my Start Up folder so that it's running transparently in the background whenever my computer is on. That way I can use any of my macros in any Windows program I have open. I can use it to type my personal info in the registration form that pops up with newly installed software, add personal info to a Word document such as a resume or letter, and even use it to start up another program or macro at a particular time.
You can have more than one copy of this program installed on your computer. Maybe people who share your computer want to set up their own personal macro keys... they can each do that with their own copy of Keyboard Express.
The cost for Keyboard Express is now $24.95 but truthfully, I'd pay double! A newer and larger version called MacroExpress is also available but it has way too many features I'll never use so I'll stick with Keyboard Express. If the shareware price of this program scares you away, another FREE macro program that has been released since Keyboard Express first became available is TypeItIn. That program is available from www.wavget.com. I've tried TypeItIn and don't like using a mouse for my macros after using keyboard strokes for so many years. (I find the mouse ones to be much slower for me) It's a personal preference but I just feel using the 2-3 hot key combos I need for all my macros comes naturally with my regular typing... no need for the mouse.
The Keyboard Express program is less than 600K in size and is available from www.keyboardexpress.com.
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