If you work from home, chances are you probably type a lot, especially if you do freelance writing or transcription. If that’s the case, your hands probably get tired from typing so much. The good news is, there are ways to save keystrokes, which will help reduce stress on your hands and wrists. This article will provide a few ideas for how to save keystrokes.
- Use templates –
Templates are files that give you a basic layout for something, such as a letter or resume – templates can also be useful if you work for a company or client that has a certain format that they like to be used. Microsoft Office has a variety of templates for different types of files that are created in Word, Excel, and Access, plus you can search for other templates online. If your client has a specific template that they use, they may provide you with it, or they’ll at least provide you with a sample so that you can see how they want their documents (articles, transcriptions, etc) formatted. If they provide you with a document, you can actually save it as a template file and then replace any necessary text – the text will stay in the font size and style that it was saved as originally. One note, when opening a template file to crate a new document, be sure to save it as a document and not as a template again.
- Create autotext short cuts –
If you type certain words or phrases a lot, you can create autotext short cuts in Microsoft Office programs that will allow you to type only a few keystrokes, and the program will replace those keystrokes that word or phrase. For example, I’ve created an autotext shortcut for a phrase I use often when I’m transcribing – [inaudible]. All I have to do is type the first few letters of that word and Microsoft Word will replace it with that word in square brackets, which is how most of my transcription clients like that tag to be typed.
- Use text expander programs such as Phrase Express –
If you’re trying to save keystrokes when working in other programs, or even on websites, text expander programs like Phrase Express are indispensable. This program is great for transcriptionists or anyone who’s trying to save keystrokes when they type, because it allows you to create short cuts that you can type, and the phrase that the shortcut represents will automatically populate.
- Use voice recognition software –
If you have a computer with Windows 7 and a microphone, Windows 7 has voice recognition software that you can use to perform a variety of functions, such as opening programs or websites and typing documents. You’ll have to go through a short tutorial so that you can learn the basic voice recognition functions and also so voice recognition will start to learn your voice, but once you’ve done that you’ll be able to start using it. While voice recognition is great for some things, I wouldn’t use it for everything – for example, I wouldn’t use it to dictate a long article, because it may not recognize everything that you say, so you may have to do some extensive editing anyway. But if you have to write a short letter or email, the voice recognition software that’s part of Windows 7 is good for that. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can still use voice recognition software, but you may have to purchase it separately.
These are the best ways I’ve found to save keystrokes. Using any one or all of these keystroke-saving methods will help reduce the risk of repetitive strain injury. I would be interested to find out if anyone else has any other methods that they use to save keystrokes.