By Noah Matthews McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Your life is probably more complicated than mine. You meet with captains of industry, while I wait for the letter carrier to drop junk mail into my letter receptacle. You probably have more than 700 things you wish you didn’t have to do in the course of a day’s work, while I fret about taking out the garbage. But enough about me. Let’s focus on those 700 tasks that sap your time and strength.
Your solutions are macros, and lots of them. A macro, in case you were born yesterday, is a series of keystrokes that you record or define. They are called up by pressing what are known as hot keys. Type in, or record, “A rat in the house might eat the ice cream” (the first letters of which make up “arithmetic”) — how’s that for a digression? Anyway, you record the phrase or command that suits the task you’re contemplating doing, and by pressing a hot key — say shift-F12 — the text or command appears as if by magic.
This is where Keyboard Express shines.
It will record more than 700 macros, insert such things as the date and time and just about any other phrase, word or combination of words and commands that call up other macro. There’s no limit to the number of keystrokes you can enter. I recommend test-driving Keyboard Express by typing in the Magna Carta. You’ll need to insert it whenever you write a letter to the editor. Editors love to see it, trust me.
Keyboard Express will not make your life more livable; it will simply save you tons of time by not having to do the same task over and over. I used it to write this column, for which I chose one of three macro jokes. It can be downloaded from www.keyboardexpress.com. The trial version is free for 30 days, after which it costs $30 — well worth it. Setup is simple, the learning curve is moderate, and medium-savvy newbies should be able to figure it out without weeping into their Diet Cokes.