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ShortcutTools 2.0

Reviewed:

Date Created: January 16th 2008
Last Updated: February 27th 2009






Introduction
About ShortcutTools 2.0
Download and Installation
Using ShortcutTools 2.0
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

If you create your share of  PowerPoint presentations, you know that you end up doing repetitive tasks all the time -- for the most common commands such as aligning, distributing, grouping, or resizing objects, you have to access the menus and toolbars hundreds of times. The new PowerPoint 2007 makes great improvements in accessing these options quicker -- but the align, distribute, and grouping tools are now more difficult to access than in the previous versions of PowerPoint.

PowerPoint ShortcutTools 2.0, the product I am reviewing is a PowerPoint add-in which allows users to set defined keyboard shortcuts for specific PowerPoint
commands.

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About ShortcutTools 2.0

ShortcutTools 2.0 is from Arcasoft Solutions, a company based in Zurich, Switzerland. You can learn more, and download a 30 day trial version of ShortcutTools 2.0 from their site.

ShortcutTools 2.0 is a PowerPoint add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 (XP), 2003, and 2007. It provides a set of shortcut keys for the most commonly used commands in PowerPoint. It also allows users to set their own keys.

My contact at Arcasoft Solutions for this review was Bernhard Stähli - thank you, Bernhard.

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Download and Installation

Download the installer from the their site, run the setup routine, and follow the instructions.

When installed, the add-in creates an PowerPoint ShortcutTools toolbar within PowerPoint as shown in Figure 1 -- if you don't find it there, choose View | Toolbars | PowerPoint ShortcutTools.

PowerPoint ShortcutTools Toolbar
Figure 1: ShortcutTools toolbar

Similarly PowerPoint 2007 users will find the ShortcutTools in the Add-Ins tab of the Ribbon (see Figure 2).


Figure 2: ShortcutTools in PowerPoint 2007

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Using ShortcutTools 2.0

Follow these steps to use ShortcutTools:

  1. Create or open a presentation in PowerPoint.

  2. Click the ShortcutTools button on the toolbar (refer to Figure 1 above).

  3. This brings up the list of shortcut key already available as shown in Figure 3.

    List of Shortcut Keys
    Figure 3: List of Shortcut Keys

  4. Go to Insert, which again gives all the shortcut available under Insert (see Figure 4).

    Shotcut keys under insert
    Figure 4: Shortcut keys under insert

  5. As you can see, the actual shortcut keys are displayed within the submenus. However, in PowerPoint 2007, you can only see the actual commands -- the shortcut keys are visible within a tool tip (refer above in Figure 2).

Configure Shortcuts

Follow these steps to configure available shortcuts -- remember you cannot configure or edit shortcuts for options that have no shortcuts available within ShortcutTools:

  1. To set a user defined shortcut for any option, Shift-click the option in the ShortcutTools menu -- for example, Shift-click the Insert Circle option (refer to Figure 4 above) to summon the relevant Shortcut Configuration dialog box shown in Figure 5 below.

    Shortcut Configuration

    Figure 5: Shortcut Configuration dialog box

    Now place your cursor in text box, and press your preferred keyboard shortcut key combination (see Figure 6).


    Figure 6: Change the shortcut keys

    Press OK to apply.

  2. You can subsequently find the changed shortcut key in the Insert menu of the ShortcutTools menu, as shown in Figure 7 -- remember the shortcut keys display only as a tool tip in PowerPoint 2007.


    Figure 6 : Changed shortcut key

  3. Follow the same procedure to change other shortcut keys, as required.

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Pricing and Support

PowerPoint ShortcutTools 2.0 costs $39.90 for a single-user license. Multiple user licenses are available.

Support is through e-mail, although a community forum is being created.

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Conclusion

PowerPoint Shortcut Tools 2.0 is a good investment if you need to use the same tools repeatedly while creating presentation -- it will provide your wrist with some rest, and speed up your workflow. It's the quickest way to get to the Align options in PowerPoint 2007 (that's what I would use it for!).

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