The First Application I Install on a New Surface

When I set up a new machine there is a suite of applications that I install immediately. ActiveWords is at the top of the list and has been for over a decade.

I do a lot of writing every day and a great deal of it is repetitive. Snippets of text, links to references, common phrases and I do this dozens of times an hour. ActiveWords sits there quietly monitoring my keystrokes and it automatically substitutes text, runs scripts to do tasks, opens documents, opens websites.  And it does all this from within any application that I am running.

There’s a nifty little tool that  calculates the productivity savings you gave gained from running ActiveWords.  On my Surface Book ActiveWords has typed 16,532 characters for me in the last month. That is over 6% of my total input.  If you could see how hideously slowly I type you could well understand that this has saved me hours of typing.   Licensing is per user on unlimited machines. Although I use my Surface Book as my daily driver, I still use the Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 too. There are even a few desktops and servers around here. I have ActiveWords running on all of them.

The scripting feature is very clever allowing you to pause and prompt for inputs, read from and write to the Windows Clipboard, call programs and pass data. All of this is beyond simple text substitution and saves me a great deal of time. Adding or modifying new ActiveWords is really fast and intuitive. I will often notice that I have done something two or three times lately so I’ll copy/paste those into ActiveWords, assign an ActiveWord (e.g. answers – see below), and it’s done.

One of the main reasons I first got ActiveWords is that it also recognizes Ink!  I can use the Surface pen to write an ActiveWord too.
image

This opens the thread on Microsoft Answers that I like to follow.

ActiveWords just did an update to version 3.0 and with that comes automatic syncing between devices. That is, when I add or change an ActiveWord on one machine it is available on all of them. This is a major upgrade for me given all the machines that I have on the go.

In my most conservative estimates ActiveWords more than pays for itself (overcomes the $30 annual license) within the first 10 days of any given month.  And that’s why it’s the first application I install on all of my machines.

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