QuicKeys 5.0

At Macworld, QuicKeys is used extensively in the creation of the cover CD – from the simple colour-coding of folders to show whether permissions have been obtained, through to the reorganization of window contents and key-controlled emptying of the Trash. First appearing in 1987, QuicKeys has become the industry-standard automation program and has seen many improvements – with the last increment, version 4.0, being a substantial update. Version 5.0 is Mac OS 9-compatible and supports Multiple Users. That said, its predecessor was also compatible with OS 9, and few will require the added functionality of Multiple Users, so what else does QuicKeys (QK) 5.0 offer? As the functionality grew in QK, toolbars became unwieldy once they held a number of shortcuts. QK 5.0 now offers multiple tabs, each with its own set of shortcuts. Even better, each tab can be set-up, or “scoped”, to function with specific programs, and contextual menus are used to make life even easier. Another major addition is speech recognition. Those of you who read my feature in May 2000 Macworld will appreciate that most Power Macs can be used with Apple’s PlainTalk technology to control many day-to-day aspects via spoken commands. QuicKeys 5.0 makes use of this, meaning short-cuts can be voice-triggered. Version 4.0 made it easier to create shortcuts through its Setup Assistants, but offered only a subset of all those available. QK 5.0 takes this a step further by adding seven more – including File Recall, Web Launcher and Project Saver. QK 5.0 has also tackled another awkward aspect – that of creating and editing toolbars. The new procedure is certainly easier, courtesy of the Toolbar Settings dialogue box. QuicKeys has never been short on innovative ideas, or on offering functional solutions – usually catered for by third-party add-ons. A good example of the innovative side is the new “pop out” toolbar that hides beyond the edge of your screen, and appears as you pass over the portion in view. Lock Screen is of the functional kind, being both a screensaver and a computer lock-out. Other features include long-shortcut names (up to 255 characters rather than QK 4.0’s 15-character version), improved Type Text (up to 2,000 characters) and better timed-triggers.

OUR VERDICT

A year ago, QuicKeys 4.0 was unreservedly recommended for first purchase or upgrade – the improvements were that substantial. But QK 5.0 doesn’t have quite enough new features. If you’re an existing QK 4.0 owner and support for Multiple Users and voice recognition are of little interest, you may not want to pay another upgrade fee. CE Software needs to be careful not to kill the fatted calf. QK 5.0 is the best of its kind. Find out for yourself by installing the 30-day trial on this month’s cover CD.

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