Friday, July 29, 2005

Hello, My Name is: Hello, My Name Is;...

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One of the more bothersome tasks a writer, or anyone else for that matter, has to put up with is entering repeated text. Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to do is to copy and paste that little phrase or that one or two line sentence (or almost any amount of text) from a little window next to your word processor or email program?

Well, you can by using the clipboard function of windows. Using it is really easy and the benefit is large. In most Windows programs that deal in text, all you need to do is place the mouse cursor at the beginning of the text you want to reuse and, holding the left mouse button down, drag the mouse cursor to the end of the text you want. Release the mouse button. You have marked the text you want. Didn’t get all you wanted? No problem, just repeat the process until you have marked the desired text. Now click the RIGHT mouse button and you will be presented with a menu. On that menu are the words cut, copy, and a bunch of other things. If you need to MOVE the marked text from where it is to someplace else, left click on CUT. This will erase the marked text from your screen, but don’t worry; it’s saved on the Clipboard. But if you want to repeat it, left click COPY. Move the mouse cursor to the place you want the marked text to go, RIGHT click, and find PASTE on the menu. Left clicking PASTE will insert the text wherever the cursor is located. You can repeat the paste process as many times as you want. The same text will be inserted wherever your cursor is pointing. Moving text in Word is as simple as marking it , placing the cursor on the marked text and, holding the left mouse button down, drag the cursor the wherever you want it and releasing the mouse button. Play with this process a bit to get comfortable with it. Once you do, you will use it fairly often.

But, what if you have a LOT of phrases and sentences you want to repeat? How do you do THAT? Windows Clipboard isn’t going to be much help since it will only handle one block of marked text at a time. Go to my Favorite download sites and see what you can find. Yep! Go to Downloads or Tucows and enter ‘Clipboard’ in the search box and click the ‘Go’ button. Downloads show 485 items (not all clipboard programs) andTucows has five pages to look at, but I can give you a good starting place.

FlashPaste lite is a free utility for making it easier to enter the frequently used text blocks: greetings, standard phrases, e-mail addresses, Internet addresses, logins/passwords, etc. You enter the necessary text once in the database. When you need to enter a pre-defined phrase, you just press the hot key and select the necessary line from the popup list.

Flashpaste Pro is a beefed up version of Lite, of course. With Pro, you can do the same neat tasks As in Lite, plus use various macros while generating lines. The second feature is clipboard history. It also adds a toolbar in the String Selection dialog box and a Wizard for new users. Lite is free but Pro costs $20 to register. Get Lite first to see if you like it and then get Pro if you need the extra features.

Just so you know, we are working on a series of postings on Special Education. We’ll be sharing software, hardware, and techniques used by the professional Special Ed Teachers. The Computerist will pass on the techniques, and whatever else we can discover to let you see what is going on in a world most of us never see or hear about. So watch for it.


At 6:00 PM CDT, Blogger WizzieBob said...

Wow! That FlashPaste utility is GREAT! Thanks!


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