Tired of typing the same thing again and again ?

Me too. If you find yourself re-typing the same thing again and again you are either doing something wrong or you are victim of a dump process, system or user interface. Part of working smarter to me is less typing.

I have been looking for a solution to auto-type particular strings for me I again and again need to input into some applications. Since a while I am using a tumblr blog to quickly collect photos, quotes, videos and links. Their gadget ( bookmarklet ) to post from a firefox or chrome browser works nicely more or less but requires me to type in my tags, and I found myself using always similar lengthy combination of tags, like e.g. “flickr, photo, bird, animal”.

My search for a solution was not successful, since I have very special requirements. I wanted it to work on any window on my Windows desktop and not only in a particular browser ( I tried some browser autotype gadget but it for instance ran into the problem to properly access the special type of dialog opened by this tumblr bookmarklet I am using ). I didn’t want a tool to replace short acronyms with longer strings like many do it  since I am too lazy to remember all those acronyms. I wanted the typing to be initiated with a single click and I wanted to organize to-be-typed items by categories, so that I quickly can find them in a GUI.

I thought AutoIt must be the perfect solution to implement this, a free gadget to automate tasks on a Windows desktop which however requires programming skill to make real use of it. It is very powerful, allows to develop GUIs and has a rich set of functions to handle arrays, ini-files, SQLite databases, Excel spreadsheets and you name it.

Thus I came up with a little tool I called TypeBot, which can be downloaded from here. The package contains the script code which can be run when having AutoIt installed, and an executable which should work without having AutoIt installed,

To-be-auto-typed entries can be specified in an ini-file for now ( TypeBot.ini ), see my example here, also caontained in that package:

   1: [Mail]
   2:     Count=2
   3:     WinTitle=New Message - IBM Lotus Notes
   4:     Phrase1=With best regards ...
   5:     Phrase2=Mit freundlichen Grüssen ... 
   6: [Tumblr]
   7:     WinTitle=Auf Tumblr posten
   8:     Count=3
   9:     Phrase1=flickr, photo, bird, animal            
  10:     Phrase2=flickr, photo, animal
  11:     Phrase3=flickr, photo, insect

Sections are defined through words in square brackets, for each section a proper count of entries has to be specified, entries for auto-typing are defined by using keywords “Phrase1”, “Phrase2” and so on. In addition a “WinTitle” has to be defined describing the window on your Windows desktop to which the auto-typing will be sent. Specifying a sub-string of the window title is sufficient. In this example here for instance the program checks for a window with title “Auf Tumblr posten” ( “Post on Tumblr” in German ) before typing in one of the strings below when clicked on in the GUI.

Here is how the program looks like when launched:

In order to auto-type an item simply click it. The program will find the desired target window and type in the text. If that window does not exist nothing happens.

A text editor can be used to create and update that ini-file, but meanwhile ( with version 2 of this tool ) it is also possible through the GUI to add, change or delete sections and phrases, also to clone an entire section, to save and open INI-files.

Cloning of phrases is planned as another new feature for version 2.1 coming soon.


One Response to “Tired of typing the same thing again and again ?”

  1. My favorites for week 17, 2011 « Axel’s Travelog Says:

    […] Tired of typing the same thing again and again ? […]

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