By Deane Barker on July 17, 2004

ActiveWords: If you don’t like all the mousing around Windows, ActiveWords aims to eliminate it.

ActiveWords adds words to Windows, providing a personal, portable, context free user interface with immediate response. Your words launch programs, jump to websites, send email, substitute text, and more. Receive information about any word or phrase in any context.

From what I can tell, it’s a hopped-up keystroke monitor. It watches every key pressed on the keyboard — regardless of application or context — and when they match something in the list of commands (the “Wordbase”) you hit a specified key (default is F8) to perform an action (you can turn the confirmation key off, if you’re brave and the key sequence isn’t a common one).

So, if “word” is mapped to the Microsoft Word executable, I just need to type “word” and press F8 to open it, which I can do in less than a second, compared to hunting around with the mouse.

It’s a lot like Dave’s Quick Search Deskbar except that you don’t have to have the GUI focus anywhere in particular since the app is monitoring keystrokes. In fact, you could be typing IN Microsoft Word at the time, and if you hit F8 after typing “excel,” it would launch Excel (the demo movie does just this — and then it deletes the word “excel” for you).

It also has auto-correction in any context. You know how Word changes common mispellings really quick for you? This does too, no matter what application you’re working with at the time. Additionally, with the higher-end versions, you can write long keystroke scripts to automate things into oblivion.

I’m guessing that if you tuned this up well, it’d be a heck of a productivity improvement. Especially when you combine it with client-side scripting — key BAT or VBS scripts to keystrokes and you could have a lot of power rolling off your keyboard.

Price? $19.95 – $49.95, depending on version. Via Shifted Librarian.