ActiveWords: Cool Windows Tool
Chopianissima sent me a private message through the Typepad UserGroup suggesting a solution to an old problem I’d posted about there many months before. Luckily, Brenna had helped me devise code to enable immediate, easy and fluid editing of blog posts while the formal blog is displayed. So I didn’t really need the help that Chopianissima was proposing. But her description of this ‘miracle product,’ ActiveWords caught my attention for a different reason than she originally had anticipated.
I’ve posted in the UserGroup my wish for a Windows-based program that would enable the executions of scripts or macros within any program housed on the PC. So for example, within the TP post box you could type in any number of substitutions and miraculously your macro would execute and add whatever text you wished. I thought this neat little feature would make life so much simpler and easier than it is now.
Recently, before TP introduced its new Insert Image feature, I suggested to Brenna that TP develop an image feature that would allow each user to individually create an image template which could be used for that user’s upload and display of images.
Group members informed me that KungLog already provided this macro feature for Mac users. Others told me that w.Bloggar and Typewriter can do this through their template feature. However, I never could get either one to work for me. After e mailing w.Bloggar’s owner & post to its forum and not receiving a reply, I decided that the former wouldn’t work for me. I could not get Typewriter to install properly despite the attentions of Alex. So that didn’t work either.
When Chopianissima told me about ActiveWords, I had a hunch this might be what I was looking for. And it was! Just after downloading the software, the owner, Buzz Bruggeman e mailed me personally to welcome me to the community. When I told him about my need for an image display macro, he took it as a personal challenge and helped me work up something terrific which looks like this:
<div><div style=”float:right” ><img style=”margin-left: 15px” ><p style=”text-align:center;” ><span style=”color: blue;” ><em> </em> (credit: )</span></p></div>
I activate the macro (I’m calling it a macro, but perhaps script is the more proper technical term) by typing “jpgright” and hitting the F8 key. After doing so, I merely have to insert manually the image file name and dimensions (which I copy from the TP generated display code during the file upload process) and other data specific to that particular image and then I have a displayable image.
If you ask why the new TP Image Insert feature doesn’t work for me–for one thing it doesn’t provide for image captions (that’s just one of several reasons I use the ActiveWords solution).
Here’s another neat feature: I’m getting inundated by spam comments as are many TP users. When I read my e mail notification telling me that some gay porno site is using my site to advertise its wares, it makes me a little crazy. I want to immediately ban the commenter’s IP and delete the comment. Before ActiveWords, I’d have to open my browser, then open TP, then find the Comment Banning screen (which I usually forgot how to access). That’s a lot of work to have to do for each and every piece of comment spam. After creating a new ActiveWord macro, all I do within my Outlook e mail window is type “commentban” then F8. This takes me immediately to the TP Comment Banning screen. It’s a godsend. In fact, I wish a product like this were bundled into TP’s installation so you could use it within TP itself.
I’m sure I’m only utilizing 1% of what this program can do and you might think of 100 other uses that would be helpful to you. I only meant this post to illustrate the few uses I’ve found most helpful to me.
One small caveat: ActiveWords configures itself a bit differently than most software programs. Once installed, you won’t see a startup icon in your Tray or on your Desktop. You will see a thin strip across the top of your window which is the ActiveWords toolbar. You perform all its functions from here.
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I’ve left my email address on this comment. Drop me an email when you’ve setup a seattle bloggers meetup. Thanks.