If you're anything like me, you spend a good chunk of your day at your computer. I love answering your emails and helping everyone I can with their tech troubles, but I won't pretend that it's not a full-time job. Even if you're not a desk jockey, your job could require occasional computer use.
For me, time is money. If I can save a few minutes every day, it adds up. Besides knowing mouse tricks and keyboard shortcuts to shave down time and effort, there's another way you can maximize your work and minimize your time on the computer.
Have you ever heard of hotkeys? And no, it's not something that just came out of the oven. It's a handy way to make certain keys or combinations of keys on your keyboard perform functions that will shave down even more of your computer time.
You probably know a few already though you may not realize it. Almost everyone has heard of Ctrl+Alt+Delete. That's a hotkey combination to pull up the task manager or reboot a frozen computer.
Alt+F4 or Ctrl+C are other combinations that are used all the time. And did you know that the combination Alt+Tab will switch you from window to window?
But that only scratches the surface. Did you know you can create your own hotkeys customized to help you work at light speed?
You'll be able to perform complex tasks by simply tapping a button or combination on your keyboard or mouse. You can even program macros -- a series of scripted actions -- using AutoHotkey.
For example, if you want to control volume using your mouse wheel, you can do that! If you want your computer to automatically perform a virus scan before shutting down, you can do that, too.
You can even program custom abbreviations of phrases you type a lot. So you can type, "twimc" and AutoHotkey can automatically expand it to "To whom it may concern." Or just make it "twc."
It's up to you what you do with AutoHotkey; you can make it as simple as you like. It's the perfect way to customize your computer to your needs, and I'm betting you can dazzle a friend or two with your keyboard skills.
Note: I highly recommend reading the AutoHotkey tutorial to get you started on your path to being a hotkey wizard. It's fast, easy and will really help you make the most of AutoHotkey.
To download the program, click the blue button below or simply navigate to the AutoHotkey download page and click on the black button labeled "Download AutoHotkey" at the top of the page.
Your download should begin immediately. When the download is complete, open and run the installation file.
Be sure to read the License Agreement before continuing. Remember, you should always read the fine print on anything you download to your computer!
I recommend using the default installation settings. There are no bloatware or add-on programs to avoid during installation.
The AutoHotkey tutorial will launch immediately after installation. Creating a script can get a bit technical, so I highly recommend that you read through the entire thing before you attempt to create any hotkeys or hotkey combinations.
A better touch screen keyboard that makes texting a breeze
Even if you have the smartest of smartphones, you may find yourself struggling to type on its touch screen keyboard. The keys are small and close together, making your texts prone to typos. Don't you want a keyboard that can adapt to how you type?