Shortcut v1.0

Reviewed by Matthew Jones


Issue 29

Sep/Oct 87

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Vogler Software,


ShortCut is a desktop accessory designed to make life easier. It does this by looking at the keys that you type and if it spots a sequence that you have previously defined, it automatically backspaces over it and enters the full version. This is similar in operation to the Thunder! and JackSpell spelling checkers. The principle is that you define a list of shortcuts and their replacements, and this will speed up your typing. For instance, you might enter 'die as the key word, and 'directory' as the full version. Vogler recommend using a special character at the end (like '#') to stop 'dir' being replaced in other words like 'dire'.

ShortCut can be used for any text operation, not just word- processing. The default selection provided with ShortCut is a large list of GEM library functions for programmers. Any GEM application that accepts text can benefit from ShortCut (even dialog entries are examined).

ShortCut is not however without problems, but none are major and most are avoidable. The first is plain annoying. Some programs (First Word being one) cannot input text as fast as ShortCut can send it, and thus a delay must be set. The annoying part is that the speed is not saved in the keyword files, thus every time you start ShortCut you have first to change the speed to that required. Another problem is that ShortCut does not queue other keys that you type while it is 'auto-typing'. This means that if you hit keys during the auto-type they appear in the middle of the word, thus causing garbage. To be able to continue typing straight after a keyword and still get the correct sequence would be much better. The most major problem is that you can enter a blank keyword, and as soon as you click on ADD, the replacement starts pouring into your application continuously. Stopping it takes several minutes of frantic attempts to hit the CLEAR button of ShortCut to kill it. Another disconcerting problem is that it does not appear in the Desk menu at power on, but waits until the first application is run. I cannot think of any reason for this, and find it annoying as I thought ShortCut had not loaded the first time.

The 12 page manual is nothing to write home about, but does its job adequately. The program is quite intuitive to use, and so the manual will not be needed much anyway.

Overall, ShortCut does do its job well, and for someone who does a lot of repetitive or complicated typing (sequences up to 30 characters), ShortCut is well worth looking at, but if you have any other keyboard enhancers make sure it will work with them.