Text replacement tool aka autotext aka text expansion tool for Microsoft Windows

The Hotstrings Newsletter

Here you can find Newsletter dedicated to all productivity issues which I find everyday. Every Friday, the latest issue is sent to all subscribers.

Each message is dedicated to single subject.

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It is already mid-October. At my latitude, the days are already getting shorter. It gets dark around 6 p.m. It has become noticeably colder, it rains more often. This is autumn. This weather makes me work more and do less physical activity. On the one hand, this is not good for me as a living being. On the other hand, I have time to make long-planned changes to the Hotstrings code.

Today I would like to share two anecdotes with you. Both involve ignorance when working with a computer.

The first happened in one of the offices in Poland. Employees who were responsible for transferring information from paper documents to computers were sitting together in a room with some distance between them. Among them was a man who was about to retire. He liked to mention this to the others. He worked slowly, occasionally taking a nap while he worked. He would lean over the keyboard and fall asleep. One day he fell asleep with the Microsoft Word application open and his hand on the keyboard. One of his fingers pressed the letter 'A'. After a fraction of a second, the operating system's built-in auto-repeat function began filling the next lines of the open document with the same number of lines of the letter 'A'. The man woke up after about 10 minutes.  He looked at his screen and froze. Many emotions were painted on his face, including horror. He mumbled something to himself. He looked at the large clock hanging in plain sight. It was approaching 3.30 p.m., and work would end at 4 p.m. He began to press the 'Backspace' key, methodically deleting the previously pressed 'A' letters one by one. And so on to the end of his working day.

(All he had to do, of course, was press "Ctrl + Shift + ←" and then "Del" or "Backspace").

The second happened in one of the accounting departments of a Polish company. One of the accountants was bragging about what an improvement Microsoft Excel was for his work. It makes all the spreadsheets containing the results he needs look so uniform when printed. He can also colour code the cells, which makes it easier to check that he has entered the results correctly. It is just a shame that the monitors are placed perpendicular to the desk. If they were placed directly on his desk, his work would be greatly improved. He could then transfer the results of summing and multiplying the values he saw on the spreadsheet to his large calculator, which stands to the right of the keyboard, and from there transfer them back to the spreadsheet even more quickly and conveniently.

(Spreadsheets, thanks to their formula functions, can perform arithmetic operations on the data in the spreadsheet. This turns the office computer back into a calculator).

Let's invest time in using office applications. This may sound like a warning, but I recently noticed that some people do not use the 'Home' or 'End' keys on the keyboard. Instead, they always use the mouse, even though it takes more time and concentration.

What about using "spells" to enter text: short texts that generate several, a dozen or even dozens of lines of text on the screen at once? Yes, there are such tools, and one of them is Hotstrings.

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This week new release (3.6.18) of Hotstrings application took place, including: 

New output functions: 
- P (Picture), over GUI available in commercial version only: hotstring is equal to file access path to picture file; after triggering on screen menu is displayed and user can decide if copy picture directly to Clipboard, display picture MSPaint or copy filepath to Clipboard.
- R (Run), over GUI available in commercial version only: hotstring is equal to file access path to executable file; after triggering specified application is run.

- Improvement: two on screen menus (hotstring menu & triggerstring tips menu) cannot be displayed on the same time,
- Improvement: second instance of Hotstrings (Hotstrings2) and ShiftFunctions now do not capitalize the last letter after hotstring menu is activated by pressing <Enter>
- Improved triggerstring tips. Now if two definitions overlap, e.g. psi (->PSI)  with option "" and subscript with active option "?", after it is clear that user do not try to enter psi, the subscript is shown, the shortest of all available triggerstring tips.
- Improved compatibility with ShiftFunctions. Now last letter for SI and MSI of hotstring could be immediately altered into diacritic character by pressing Shift if this function is enabled in ShiftFunctions.
- Improved behavior of HS3Search window after definition is moved. Now it will show definition in destination library.