Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Launchy...the little app launcher that could

Several months ago I read a someone's post calling ActiveWords the best application that they could live without.  ActiveWords is an enormously powerful program that runs just below the surface to launch programs, replay text, spell-check and so much more.  It's also a system hog and I didn't reinstall it the last time I rebuilt Windows (or was it two times ago?).

Several months ago Lifehacker pointed me to a great little application launcher called Launchy.  It is fantastic. 

Launchy is first of all an application launcher.  Hit the default keyboard combination (Alt-spacebar) and a little dialogue box pops up.

Type in the first couple of letters of the application you're looking for and hit enter.  The app launches.  Launchy automatically indexes your start menu and gives you access to your applications without every touching the mouse.  It also indexes your other things, including your control panel.  Need to change display settings?  Simply type 'display' and launchy will take you there.

There are also some other handy functions built in, like a calculator.

Hit Alt-Spacebar and enter the numbers you want to operate on.  Launchy will do the rest.  You can check out some other features and screen shots at Tweaking Launchy. You won't want to be without this.

via LifeHacker


Ryan B said...

Great app, thanks! I enjoy your blog. We are getting ready to move to Costa Rica in August to begin our language studies. We are going to be ministering in Latin America after that. Your tech tips are very useful.

Anonymous said...

Check out

It is almost the same as ActiveWords and is Freeware!


Jeff said...

Ryan, thanks for taking the time to drop a comment here; it was encouraging to me. God bless you as you begin your language studies!

Anony, thanks for the tip. ActiveWords does so much more, but PhraseExpress looks capable as a text replacement tool.

Anonymous said...

Mmh, how do you backup that PhraseExpress does less? It can expand abbreviations, correct spelling, run programs by entering a hotkey or text shortcut or open files with the same options just like ActiveWords or do I miss anything.

And PhraseExpress is Freeware.


Jeff said...

There's no arguing with the fact that PhraseExpress is free!

I looked over PhraseExpress's website again and maintain my position that ActiveWords has more functionality. Having said that, I used ActiveWords for a couple of years on a daily basis and haven't done the same with PhraseExpress.

PE sells itself as primarily a text replacement utility. It looks like it does a great job with that. It has a macro language for customizing text replacement, etc. It allows you to launch apps, folders and files (I see where it mentions launching Calc, but not specific folder or files). I'll give you that.

ActiveWords, on the other hand, costs $50. I think it does do more.
- I can type "email Bob" and AW will open my mail client, open a new message, address it to Bob and put the cursor in the message box
- I can type CNN and AW will open my web browser and navigate to CNN's website
- I can type "800x600" and AW will open my control panel, select my display properties, tab over the Settings tab, tab down to the resolution tab and change my screen resolution to 800x600.
- has a pretty powerful scripting language that allows you to control many functions of your computer (changing display resolutions above is an example.)
- type 49.95*1.06 == and get the answer.
- type "search email" and AW will bring up Windows Desktop Search in search email mode, waiting for input.
- AW has support for American Bar Association legal codes and C++ replacements.
- It has free add-ons for a bunch of products: MindManager, Palm Desktop, WDS (mentioned above), Salesforce
- supports TabletPCs. With the InkPad I can do all of the above with my stylus on my TabletPC.

As I said, it's also $50. I think PhraseExpress is a nice product, but they are not the same product.