Boosting Productivity - Your Way

Who doesn't like to be more productive? That's obviously a rhetorical question, but boosting productivity is not always a simple matter of deciding to do so. Much of today's software fails to cater to your needs, leaving you to fumble with their way of doing things. As a result, we here at Data Mules have focused from the outset on allowing as much customization as possible. Today, I want to talk about one of the ways we do that: keyboard shortcuts.

Let's face it, the mouse doesn't always cut it. For power users, moving your hands from keyboard to mouse wastes too much time. And while all modern software provides keyboard shortcuts, it's surprising how few allow actual control over those shortcuts. To combat this, we allow you to fully customize your shortcuts and make it easy to do so.

We accomplish this by storing shortcuts in an easy to locate INI file. If you don't know what an INI file is, it's just a text file that follows a simple pattern that you'll see in a minute. Saving shortcuts this way allows them to be easily read, changed, and shared. If your organization wants to offer a standard set of shortcuts for every user in the company, it's as easy as copying and pasting the text file onto each users computer.

If you have a great shortcut set you want the world to know about, just tell everyone the contents of your INI file. Similarly, you can use shortcut sets from others and switch between them easily. We provide some pre-made sets that are similar to applications you already use, as well as our own set which we think will help you greatly.

Here is a sample of what the shortcut file looks like:


A list of available "actions" (e.g., like "Copy", "Paste", etc.) can be found by searching the help files for "shortcuts". The [sheet] section at the top just signifies that the following shortcut keys are applicable to a sheet (rather than say, the application).

As an added bonus, you can use as many shortcuts as you want for one task. So let's say you want to add another "Redo" shortcut. Some applications use Ctrl+Shift+Z and maybe you want to use that most of the time, but sometimes you want to use our default (Ctrl+Y). Then just change that line of the file to say:


and you're good to go!

If you don't want to edit a text file, you can do it through the application as well. You can even import and export shortcut sets. With all of these improvements to the current, obfuscated way of customizing your life, we hope your day will be a little more fun and a lot more productive!

Written by buck in misc on Wed 10 August 2011. Tags: UI,

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