If you find yourself writing repetitive phrases in emails or blog comments, and want to save lots of time, you may be interested in trying out Texter by Adam Pash, an editor at Lifehacker.com.
Texter is substitution application for Windows based on the popular AutoHotKey macros module, and will save you countless keystrokes by replacing abbreviations with commonly used phrases you define. A real bonus, Texter is actually free and can be installed with just a quick visit to Lifehacker.com, a blog well worth visiting in and of itself for its time-saving tips.
I respond to tons of technical inquiries for my two small businesses each week. Since starting Texter, I think I’ve already cut my email time in half!
Texter is great for creating canned answers to frequently asked questions, or other repetitive phrases, such as signatures. You can also customize the answers to appear more personal.
How It Works
Let’s start with a simple example. Let’s say you want to add a common close and signature at the end of every email or blog comment.
- Just click CTRL-SHFT-H, and Texter will pop up its console.
- In the right column, write the canned answer or message you’d like to automate.
- In the left column, write the abbreviation (also called a hotstring) you’d like to use to activate this canned answer. I’ve used “sig1”.
- Then, choose how you’d like to trigger the text substitution. Personally, I find it most natural to trigger after clicking ENTER, but you can also choose TAB or SPACE as well.
The next time you are writing an email, blog, or using a desktop application such as a word processor, just type the abbreviation “sig1” followed by ENTER, and the full signature will appear.
If you have an alternative signature you’d like to use for a different kind of customer inquiry, you could just repeat the steps above and call it “sig2”.
Now, what about greetings? What about the content within your email? Yes, you can create macros for each of those segments and manage them within the console. As you can see, the list goes on and on.
With Texter, you can even write scripts to personalize the substitution, such as slipping in the customer’s name within your stock phrase, i.e. “Thanks again, John, for using our products.”
Numerous scripts exist for Texter, so its functionality is almost limitless.
If you’d like to automate more than text, then you’ll probably want to get your hands on the free macros builder AutoHotKey itself. You can automate just about anything on your desktop. I’m going to try that out next.
But for now, I’m just so happy and relieved to have found Texter by Lifehacker.