Increase Productivity by Reducing Keystrokes

By on Oct 29, 2015

Keystrokes cost money. Reduce the number of times you need to type a word or phrase and you will increase your productivity and save money.

Because it’s my passion, I look for tools that help you get back the only thing you cannot buy: Time.

If you stop and think about it for a moment, no matter what you do there are countless things in your daily routine that you do over and over again. Writing the same email to different clients, logging into the same sites, opening the same folders, even just typing your email address.

One tool I’ve used successfully for years is ActiveWords.

What I like about the program is that these actions are highly customizable. ActiveWords allows you to leverage your vocabulary and innate naming ability using words you enter or select in any context.

Substitute Text

Think of this program as Microsoft Word’s “Auto-Correct” on steroids. For the first time you can use text substitutions in any program that accepts text input.

For example, I type my email address into different forms and programs a lot. Now, all I do is type “sa,” hit the space bar twice (the ActiveWords trigger key), and my full email address ( is inserted into the field.

Three keystrokes vs. 23 keystrokes. A savings of 20 keystrokes. So what? Multiply that by the number of times it is typed in a day and it adds up. And at the same time this process increases data entry accuracy. These text substitutions can be used across your entire organization and will work anywhere you can type (think: agency management system).

Text Substitutions

These are slightly different than we described above and illustrate one of the benefits of this program: the ability to create and use applications. An ActiveWords application is a set of pre-defined actions that serve specific need.

For example, I have added the “Capitalizations” application to my ActiveWords database. The application contains common capitalizations. Words like “august” will be converted to “August,” type “arnold” and get “Arnold” as you type. ActiveWords does this by monitoring the keyboard and automatically making the text substitution.

Open Programs, Files, and Folders

You can set up a link for an ActiveWords that will open anything on your system. For example, I created an ActiveWords ‘qtan’ that opens QuickBooks with the Anderson Network files loaded.

Need to open your folder that contains tax information? Just enter and trigger the word “taxes” and the folder opens on your desktop. You can name all your most frequently used programs, files, and folders and have them available instantly from within any program.

For those who are comfortable with some programming, the ActiveWords Scripting Language allows you to create your own commands. Many of the free ActiveWords applications we described above rely on the scripting language to provide advanced services like automated Web searches and time/date stamps.

ActiveWords works only on Windows computers. You get a fully functional 60 day trial when you install the software. An individual use license is $30 per year and includes an enterprise feature that allows multiple users to share a common database (“WordBase” in ActiveWords terminology).

What tools do you use to save keystrokes? Let me know in the comment section below.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the introduction to ActiveWords. I’ve been looking for an app like this for a long time, but finally settled in using auto-correct withing Word and Outlook like you mentioned.

    However, a while back I did gain a lot of productivity by implementing a password manager (I use Last Pass), which has an auto-fill feature. The auto-0fill feature allows you to create an unlimited number of profiles to fill out online forms.

    Thanks again Steve.

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