I last wrote about ActiveWords back in 2006 when I was using it with my UMPC and Tablet PCs. They recently rolled out Version 2 and I wanted to share a few of my experiences. ActiveWords is not an application with a flashy UI and simplistic functionality, but one that tech enthusiasts can embrace and customize to their heart's desires. ActiveWords is designed to increase your efficiency and improve your productivity. For just $50 for use on all of your Windows computers it is definitely an application you should consider.
You can check out several screenshots of ActiveWords in my image gallery, but understand that much of what goes on with ActiveWords is not easily captured in a screenshot. You can view the videos embedded below for more on using ActiveWords.
As you can see on the ActiveWords 2.0 new features page, the following are part of this latest update:
- Rich text substitutions
- HTML substitutions
- Floating/docking icon unifies the interface; text monitor, action reporting, ActionPad (and InkPad on tablet and touch computers
- ActionPad pre-fills as you type to quickly select the ActiveWord you want.
- Assign ActiveWords to groups
- Assign up to three ActiveWords to a new item in the AddWizard
- Share individual or selected ActiveWords
- Personalize key combination to open ActionPad
- Faster performance and other fixes
Spellcheck is common in some apps, but not every application does it flawlessly so this is where ActiveWords steps in and takes care of auto correction. I like the rich text substitution capability that lets me insert my signature with a simple "sig" and double space rather than a couple of mouse clicks. I have several ActiveWords for launching common applications and navigating to websites. These save mouse clicks and movements and menu navigation selections.
After you install ActiveWords on your Windows computer, you will see the ActiveWords icon with options to:
- View ActiveWords
- Find ActiveWords
- Add new ActiveWords
- View productivity stats
- Toggle the AW Monitor bar
- View Options
- Access help files
You can also drag the ActiveWords icon around and even resize it to your preferred size. I haven't noticed any kind of performance lag or impact due to having ActiveWords running all the time on my 3 year old Dell Latitude.
The scripting functionality is pretty powerful in ActiveWords, but it does take some time and effort to setup the scripts. You need to write down all the actions you perform, such as Alt or Ctrl, shift, then N, etc., and then select these and enter them into the scripting dialog box. I wish there was a way to record your actions and have the script generated, but then again it is a bit rewarding to create scripts that work with some efforts. My engineering firm is gearing up to test ActiveWords and I look forward to seeing what kind of intricate scripts the engineers develop. We already create quite a few programs to run scripts so it is a natural fit for engineers to customize scripts in ActiveWords as well.
You should also make sure to check out the add-in content available for Agents, text substitutions, program controls, and Internet functionality. You really need to at least try out the free version to discover how ActiveWords can work best for YOU.
ActiveWords is one of those applications you can install and then just use the default, pre-loaded functions, but is 1000 times better if you take a bit of time and really optimize it for your own needs. By default, automatic monitoring is enabled to even help you create useful ActiveWords.
There are three versions of ActiveWords; free, Plus, and Enterprise. You can check out a comparison table and see that the free version is designed to let you try out ActiveWords for 60 days with several limitations. The Plus version is priced at a one time fee of $49.95 and can be used on all of your computers. The Enterprise version is $29.95 per seat per year and includes unlimited support. After you install ActiveWords, then you will receive some targeted emails that are designed to help you learn more about this extremely powerful program.