My New Best Friend: The Genovation MacroMaster 683
Last week, I talked about my addiction to keyboard shortcuts to help me reduce my development time. Well, it gets worse! I’d like to introduce to you my new best friend, the Genovation MacroMaster 683.
What is it? I’m so glad you asked. It is a 24-key, programmable keypad that lets me set up keystroke combinations that can shorten tasks in just about any software.
- When I’m going over an edit list in Excel and want to highlight a row pink to flag a problem, I can do that with one button. (And turn it gray with another button when the edit item is closed.)
- When I’m reviewing storyboards in Word, I have a button that deletes a comment, one that inserts a comment, and one that accepts the selected change.
- When I’m working with timing animations in PowerPoint for an Articulate course, I have one button that changes the animation to an On Click animation and another that changes it to After Previous.
- When I’m writing one of our books in InDesign, I have one button that resizes the selected image to 3 inches wide and lines it up on the right margin.
The wonderful thing about the keypad is that it is not tied to the software you are using. It just replicates keystrokes. So virtually any command in any software that you can do from the keyboard can be have its own key. It might take you a while to figure out how to do it, but most commands, even obscure check boxes in even more obscure dialog boxes, can be done with just the keyboard.
It took me a while to set it all up—to figure out what tasks I wanted keys for and how to accomplish those tasks with the keyboard. That got me wondering how many buttons I’d need to push to save the time I spend setting it up! So I did a little experiment. (I told you I had it bad! Maybe I need a 12-key…er…I mean a 12-step program!)
I was recording audio for a course. The entire process to record one slide’s audio in WavePad takes about 15 to 20 keystrokes, including the recording, the filters, and saving. I reduced that down to 4 buttons on my keypad. I timed myself doing it manually and then timed myself doing it with the keypad. The difference was 20 seconds. That may not seem like a big deal, but the entire course is 8 hours long. If I saved 20 seconds on the audio file for each slide, that adds up to about 2 and a half hours! Plus, I’m less likely to make errors like forgetting to run the noise filter or forgetting to change the file type to .mp3.
If you are interested, you can find the Genovation keypad on Amazon.