Saturday 28 May 2016

Upcoming Posts

Free productivity tools for Word

Here is an update on the tools that are currently being worked on for publication.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for new tools or forums where the tools can be publicised.

Giving Feedback

The next few posts will be focused on the tools I use for giving feedback on documents I have to review


This tool allows you to quickly enter highlighted [placeholder text] or suggested wording changes. I use this to mark up gaps I need fill or draft changes to contract documentation. SmartNote can also be used to record instructions or <<actions that need to be do to be done>>. The tool has toggles to change the display format and to convert the highlighted text to normal.

This tool allows you to select from a range of standard text to use as the basis for comments. With an extra keystroke you can load consistent comment text without lengthy typing  You can add to the text entered by default and add your own default values. 

This tool is a series of shortcuts that allow you to review, browse and manage comments, revisions and highlighted text.  Collectively they are a real time saver.

This tool allows you to extract comments, revisions and highlighted text into a summary document that shows them in the context of the text where it occurs. This allows you to quickly assess the impact of feedback and respond to to it in a consistent and efficient way. This tool has already been published, but I have recently updated it to allow selective extracts, for example for a subset of the reviewers or just some of the feedback types.

Other Features
I have been enhancing several tools published earlier.  New features sets include:

  • A tool that intuitively  selects of a word, paragraph or table
  • Tools to define a master table in the document and have other tables confirm to column sizing and headings, row format and may others
  • Tools to tidy a document, removing unwanted typing and formatting problems.
  • Tools to clean up text copied to and from Excel
  • Simplifying the rules for the B2E typing productivity tool

Many of these enhancements make use of a double-tap feature whereby shortcut keys behave differently if you double-tap rather than single tap them.

I am keen to get feedback and always welcome ideas for new tools.  Leave a comment or checkout my LinkedIn profile.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

SmartSpell - Fast Spelling Correction for Word

A Free Document Productivity Tool For Word

SmartSpell provides fast spelling correction with a single keypress, without interrupting your typing flow. 

It corrects a recent spelling error without leaving your current cursor location. You don't need to backspace or use the mouse, and you can keep typing at speed.

Using the Tool

When you notice a spelling error, press the SmartSpell shortcut key (Ctl+\). 

The error could be up to twenty words earlier.

The tool will work is way back through your recent typing to find the error.

It will correct the error using the most likely suggestion. This is almost always correct.

The cursor is returned to the start location, allowing you to keep typing from where you left off.

The status bar tool shows what the error was, what it was corrected to.

 It will also show any alternative spelling correction choices

If the first choice was wrong, hitting the shortcut key again and again cycles through the available choices.

If none of the choices are suitable, hit the SmartSpellCheck shortcut key (Ctl+Shift+\) and the original word is reinstated and the spelling dialog is opened.

You can use the SmartSpellCheck key any time too, especially if you want to add the word to the spelling dictionary.


I found that I was interrupting my thoughts to correct typing errors, and I wanted a quicker way to correcting them. Word allows you to backspace and make corrections, but it takes time. It also interrupts the my typing flow an breaks my chain of thought. 

I could also use the mouse or several standard shortcut keys to highlight the error, navigate through the choices then navigate back to the start location. However, that means moving from the keyboard to the mouse, breaking the flow once again.

This tool uses a quick keypress to fix a very high percentage of the errors I make without breaking the flow. I like the way it can correct errors quite a way back. This is important because sometimes I don't notice errors as quickly as I should. 

It took me a few days to get used to SmartSpell, the reflect to backspace and fix took a while to break, but now I use the tool without thinking about. The choice of a really accessible shortcut key in a button that is usually larger than most keys also helps. 

Learning About Word Programming

SmartSpell uses relatively simple Word programming techniques. A bookmark is used to record the current location. the tool then works back through the prior text word by word, testing each with the spelling error function until an error is found. 

The location of the error is recorded and the first spelling correction choice is substituted. At the same time, up to 10 other spelling suggestions are stored so that the tool can cycle through them later if necessary. 

The status line is updated and the cursor returned to the start point so that typing can resume. SmartSpell uses two global arrays to store the suggestions and the suggestion pointers.



SmartSpell allows me to smoothly deal with typing errors, and lets me concentrate on capturing my thoughts as efficiently as possible. I use every day.

The Downloads tab contains a copy of SmartSpell. There is more information on how it works in the release notes.