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Advice on ShortKey prefix keys


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I'm just starting to create some ShortKey activated macros and was wondering what other did and what they think of my idea. The most important thing I believe is having something that is not likely to trip an unintended activation hence the use of obscure keys. Next would be usability. The users in question have never used SKs so there will be no habits to break so that is not a concern. As I was developing this macro I found the default ## to be cumbersome as it required a shift and a look at the keyboard. I have switched my preference to the ' which is key left of the "1". To my knowledge no one ever uses this key and it is better than because it doesn't require a shift or a look being it's in the upper leftmost position. Can anyone find fault with this or does anyone with more experience offer their thoughts?

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I'm just starting to create some ShortKey activated macros and was wondering what other did and what they think of my idea. The most important thing I believe is having something that is not likely to trip an unintended activation hence the use of obscure keys. Next would be usability. The users in question have never used SKs so there will be no habits to break so that is not a concern. As I was developing this macro I found the default ## to be cumbersome as it required a shift and a look at the keyboard. I have switched my preference to the ' which is key left of the "1". To my knowledge no one ever uses this key and it is better than because it doesn't require a shift or a look being it's in the upper leftmost position. Can anyone find fault with this or does anyone with more experience offer their thoughts?

For the past 9 years, I've used a double period (..) to activate my short-keys in Keyboard Express first, and later in Macro Express. ## is WAY too cumbersome, like you said. But . is pretty easy to reach, as anybody who spends time at a keyboard tends to use that key at least once per sentence, but is not likely to hit it twice in a row without meaning to.

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Period is interesting. Except I do often type triple periods when trailing off in a sentence like... But as long as I don't have any SKs starting with a period or space that shouldn't be a problem. Thanks for the input.

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I'm just starting to create some ShortKey activated macros and was wondering what other did and what they think of my idea. The most important thing I believe is having something that is not likely to trip an unintended activation hence the use of obscure keys. Next would be usability. The users in question have never used SKs so there will be no habits to break so that is not a concern. As I was developing this macro I found the default ## to be cumbersome as it required a shift and a look at the keyboard. I have switched my preference to the ' which is key left of the "1". To my knowledge no one ever uses this key and it is better than because it doesn't require a shift or a look being it's in the upper leftmost position. Can anyone find fault with this or does anyone with more experience offer their thoughts?

 

Are you going to use the Prefix or Suffix option?

 

BTW, your keyboard must be different to mine, as # doesn't need the shift key here. # is the lower case character of the key to the left of Enter, with ~ the shifted option.

 

With prefixes I always used ##. But, as discussed in the thread Shortkeys: reasonable feature request? I've just started using a suffix instead and have yet to settle on a permanent choice. That top left ` is an interesting idea. Does it work OK in practice?

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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I haven't' decided which way yet but I'm leaning to suffix.

 

US keyboards require a Shift+3 to get the 'pound' symbol. Ish.

 

So far `` works slick. I'm not a touch typist and it's easy to find without looking or key combos.

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I haven't' decided which way yet but I'm leaning to suffix.

 

US keyboards require a Shift+3 to get the 'pound' symbol. Ish.

 

So far `` works slick. I'm not a touch typist and it's easy to find without looking or key combos.

 

Here's a llittle more info FWIW.

 

I see I have 152 at present, so it's going to take me while to overhaul them in light of the switch from prefix to suffix. I'm going to stay with that I think, mainly because of its advantages in terms of flexibility, as per my previous thread. The change means breaking the habit of hitting ##.

 

Remembering them is easier than remembering hotkeys, but can still be a problem. To help, I included the shortkey in the name for many (as indeed I did for hotkeys). And I use any other aids I can dream up. For example, 32 of those 152 activate 'movement' macros in Google Earth, using the numeric keypad. The first number indicates the 8 compasss directions and the second is one of 4 speeds. So macro names are currently like:

Go E FAST (64)

Go NW VERY SLOW (71)

Go NW SLOW (72)

Go S FAST (24)

etc

Same idea would probably be useful for those into gaming.

 

Many of the remainder fall into my 'Open folders' and 'Text Typing' categories. But still a lot for 'normal' macros of various categories.

 

I can't touch type so I need to look at the keyboard to enter them anyway. So I'm not sure if ` will buy me much; I'll experiment.

 

Unexpected results still bite me every day. Some programs I use are crammed with their own shortcuts. Movie Edit Pro for instance uses a couple of hundred, including pretty well all the single letter characters A-Z. So most of my 152 could get run in that app if I don't take care. Scoping is, of course, therefore particularly important for shortkey activated macros.

 

The following sig gets entered by typing the 4 keys #s1 Enter or Space. Sometimes one or the other of those 'entry' keystrokes is the obvious choice, because of the unwanted result of using the alternative. At other times it doesn't matter. But both are large and easily accessed keys, so I haven't yet needed to use the punctuation options Stan reminded us about.

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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So far `` works slick. I'm not a touch typist and it's easy to find without looking or key combos.

Something I just thought of:

 

The pinky is a weak finger. Mine tends to lock up on me from time to time (nothing dramatic, I just have to stop typing and straighten all my fingers and then ball into a fist).

 

I'm not certain how common a problem that is for people, or if it would even matter, really. But the ` is just far enough away that as I stretch for it, I hit it fine, but when retracting my finger afterwards, I feel the "locking" trying to take me.

 

Just something to consider.

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Are you going to use the Prefix or Suffix option?

 

BTW, your keyboard must be different to mine, as # doesn't need the shift key here. # is the lower case character of the key to the left of Enter, with ~ the shifted option.

 

With prefixes I always used ##. But, as discussed in the thread Shortkeys: reasonable feature request? I've just started using a suffix instead and have yet to settle on a permanent choice. That top left ` is an interesting idea. Does it work OK in practice?

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

 

I use a whole raft of shortkeys for expansions, turning abbreviations into the full version. So DECC turns into Department of Energy and Climate Change. (It is a good way of remembering complicated sets of initials that organisations love to make up for themselves.)

 

So that I can also use DECC and DEC (anyone remenber them?) for different things, I use a combination of start and end keys.

 

So the # symbol triggers the macro. (I never need to type that symbol on its own.) And each abbreviation has a trailing '\' which completes the shortkey.

 

So "#DECC\" is a macroc that expands DECC\.

 

I think I picked up the idea of the trailing "\" somewhere here.

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I use a whole raft of shortkeys for expansions, turning abbreviations into the full version. So DECC turns into Department of Energy and Climate Change. (It is a good way of remembering complicated sets of initials that organisations love to make up for themselves.)

 

So that I can also use DECC and DEC (anyone remenber them?) for different things, I use a combination of start and end keys.

 

So the # symbol triggers the macro. (I never need to type that symbol on its own.) And each abbreviation has a trailing '\' which completes the shortkey.

 

So "#DECC\" is a macroc that expands DECC\.

 

I think I picked up the idea of the trailing "\" somewhere here.

 

Using the universal Suffix option I think I would set #dec for the macro that types 'DEC' and #decc for 'DECC'. And activate the latter for example by typing #decc followed by Enter or Space as circumstances dictated. It wouldn't matter if I used # elsewhere.

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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The pinky is a weak finger. Mine tends to lock up on me from time to time
It's from drinking tea and sicking it out all the time. Tea cramp.

 

Interestingly not being a touch typist I tend to use my ring finger. But then again it's freakishly long. 1.25" longer than my pinky. And my fingers are just long anyway. They stop making fingers longer in gloves at size L and my middle three are always crammed when my pinky has ans extra half inch or so. I wonder if that means something. Oh, and my second toe is longer than my big toe. Does this qualify as off topic? :)

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I think I picked up the idea of the trailing "\" somewhere here.

Funny I was thinking the same thing. Naturally one wants to type DEC and get Digital Electronics Corporation but sometimes I want just "DEC". The slash is nice because it's close and we dont' use it much in normal typing. Except in web addresses.

 

And of course I remember DEC. My first real computer I worked on was a Digital VAX/VMS 8600. Still have the book I think. Learned Pascal on that beast. And who can forget Ken Olsen's famous quote "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Hence why they were so big in the PC market. :)

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For years I have used the comma as the ShortKey prefix. There are no words that start with a comma, it requires no shift key and only one key press, and the key is easy to find by touch and non-touch typists.

 

I set up a one-handed typist with Macro Express, and we chose the letter "q" as the prefix, as it is on the left side of the keyboard. So we had macros triggered by QA, QV, QW, etc.

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I set up a one-handed typist with Macro Express, and we chose the letter "q" as the prefix, as it is on the left side of the keyboard. So we had macros triggered by QA, QV, QW, etc.
Good one. I used to be a CADD designer and back then we used digitizing tablets with menus. For this reason I did a special scripts in AutoCAD so I could command left hand only. I'm thinking of doing the same for coding.
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Good one. I used to be a CADD designer and back then we used digitizing tablets with menus. For this reason I did a special scripts in AutoCAD so I could command left hand only. I'm thinking of doing the same for coding.

I have two hands, but I often only use one hand while I'm eating at my desk. Of course, my hand of choice for work is my right...

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