Hot keys can make your life easier, at least while you're at your computer. For instance, they can enter strings of text like your e-mail or street address, saving you time and reducing your typing effort. Moose-Tech's Speed Keys is a simple tool for automating typing tasks via hot keys. You can create Groups to manage your hot key combos, which can be log-in credentials, passwords, credit card data, phone numbers, or even instant-message phrases. Speed Keys is freeware, but the free version is limited to five items and 25 characters. However, the full version costs about what you'd pay for a sandwich at the average lunch spot, and less than the average donation request, so it's well worth checking out.
Speed Keys has a simple interface that opened with a list view of sample Speed Keys under various Groups. Adding new Groups or Speed Keys is easy; just click New to open the wizardlike Speed Text Editor, including specifying single hot keys or in combinations of twos or threes, with the first optional hot key either Ctrl or Alt and the second Alt, Ctrl, or Shift. The third hot key can be any key. The minimum length for Speed Text entries is four characters; anything less would be just as quick to type! Following the program's clear, extensive Help file, we created some simple Speed Keys similar to the examples. We opened a blank Notepad page and tested out Speed Keys, though the program works in a wide range of apps -- more or less anything you can type text into. The Help file also offers a Super Quick Primer page.
Speed Keys has several modes to accommodate different users; if you don't want to memorize a lot of hot keys, you can use SPEED Keys' menu from the system tray. You can also create a desktop toolbar using a slightly complex procedure that involved dragging the speedtoolbar folder from an Open Files dialog to the desktop. We like hot keys, and we like Speed Keys, too. Give it a try; if you like it, skip lunch!