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Author Topic: Instant Text V Pro - more than the usual features of a text expander  (Read 26009 times)
Harrie
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« on: March 03, 2006, 09:56:12 AM »

Instant Text Overview

Instant Text is a text expander for anyone who can benefit from it - medical transcriptionists, translators, legal secretaries, technical writers, etc.  It costs 189.00 per user.  It is very worth the price.  One can order it and try it for 30 days; if not for you, the CD can be returned for a full refund.  It works in most Windows programs and now also works in WP5.1 for DOS, although adding words and phrases to your glossary quickly does not work the way it does in Windows.  (In Windows, you select your phrase, hit Alt + =, and it is added.  The short form is filled in for you, first letter of each word, so that you just need to hit Enter.  You can, of course, change that short form if you want to.  At this point, I believe that if using Instant Text in WP5.1 for DOS, because of clipboard differences, you need to actually enter it, or copy it another way.  Since I don't use WP5.1, I'm not certain of the details.  Anyway, if you're an AHK lover or ActiveWords lover, you can also automate selecting the phrase and hitting the Alt + = sign, such speed is delightful!  I have scripts for automatically selecting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 words.

Most expanders work by the spacebar trigger.  Instant Text will allow users to do this, but some of its most powerful features are disabled this way.  It is best used with marker keys, which the user can choose.  For instance, using the semicolon to trigger your phrases and another marker key, perhaps ], for your word expansions.  There is a variety to choose from.

I will not go into every feature it has, only the most remarkable.  You can do a glossary compilation, which means that, if you have a file folder with 50-200, or 50-1000 (any number, actually) documents you have typed for your boss, your lawyer or lawyers, your doctor or doctors, whatever, you can have Instant Text scan those documents and create a glossary for you, in a matter of a minute or so.  To top that off, doing this compilation will now allow what they call continuations.  Continuations are when you start off like this:

tineo=there is no evidence of - okay, you typed your short and expanded that phrase.  Now, in the visual advisory screen, what comes often after that phrase is already there for you to see.  I'm doing it right now, and listed there for me are possibilities.  All I need do is select the proper one (if it isn't already the very first one), and hit my marker key, the semicolon, to expand the phrase.  Below is a screenshot of what I see after expanding tineo.  If you transcribe for a small group of people, the continuations you will get can be absolutely magnificent.  I know, because I've had that situation.  If you transcribe for hundreds, you won't get results that fantastic, but you will still get continuations.  The way in which you do the settings during compilation has a lot to do with it.

Another feature is that I don't even have to type out the whole short form, though.  Let's take one I have.  The short is tieotv, the long is "there is enlargement of the ventricles."  Instant Text has a "jump ahead" feature, and all I have to do is put in, say titv, and I still get the phrase to pop up.  You really don't have to memorize with this program.  You can hit a combination of letters that you think might be it. 

It also has options that many other text expanders don't.  It has an option to capitalize the first letter of sentences, no matter what application you're in.  It has spacing options that you choose, to have it put two spaces after punctuation marks or one, whatever you prefer.  (Or, you can set it not to do so, if you somehow prefer that.)  It "understands" punctuation as you type, in other words.  I expand a phrase and hit a comma, the space after the comma is already there.  Whenever you expand a phrase, if you don't hit a punctuation mark, it has already spaced for you for the next word.  I don't know what it's like to hit spacebar after period or anything else anymore.  There is one defect, that of spacing after a number with a decimal, such as 1.5.  Or, 3:30.  I got the greatest AHK script a few months ago at the AHK forums, and now I actually set my spacing options to 0 in Instant Text and let that script take care of everything.  There also are other ways to get around that number difficulty.  One other thing about numbers, Instant Text will not let you start an abbreviation with a number.  I would like that feature. 

I know this is supposed to be a mini-review, so I will try to wrap it up.  Which means I can't begin to cover all its features.  But, the built-in importer it has is awesome.  This makes it very easy for people using other expanders to almost instantaneously convert their abbreviations files to the Instant Text glossary format.  It will convert Word AutoCorrect, Word AutoText, many other expander formats that are used primarily by transcriptionists, text files, Outlook addresses, certain DBF files.  It also comes with a "Workshop" to let you manipulate your abbreviation files.  You can export words, export words and phrases, remove duplicates, a lot more.

Because it has so many features, it has a bit more of a learning curve than most expanders out there.  It is the best one, for me.  I have tried several.  It simply has the most features.  The developer is constantly listening too, and making additions/improvements/upgrades. 

Here's the continuation screenshot that I mentioned above:




 


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jroad
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2006, 06:02:26 PM »

I was unfamilar with this category of apps so I enjoyed reading your review, thanks.
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imtrobin
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2006, 01:34:25 AM »

Have you tried IntelliComplete before? I tried several text expanders, this is the best I found. Unfortunately, it seems to have a threading bug where it will stop working and you need to restart after using it several hours, and the authors seems to have abandoned it...

http://flashpeak.com/icomp/
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dajo
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2006, 12:08:58 PM »

Also, you might take a look at AutoHotKey's hotstrings feature.  AHK is free and open source.

http://www.autohotkey.com/
http://www.autohotkey.com/docs/Hotstrings.htm
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Harrie
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2006, 07:02:46 AM »

I actually did try IntelliComplete, in its early days.  I felt it had a lot of potential, but it was buggy.  I admit I did not go back later and try it again. 

Ah, but dajo, I have!  See the Coding Snacks forum!  <grin>  Tooltips or some sort of visual reminder is a must for me, and jgpaiva fixed me right up on that one, as well as more. 

But honestly, I can't see a better one than Instant Text.  It has practically no bugs and is stable as a rock, it's got options galore for everything a transcriptionist needs, and the continuations feature spells speed galore.  The price tag it has, for a medical transcriptionist who gets paid by the line, meaning - the faster you can transcribe, the more you will make, really is a pittance, because one will make it right back with this application. 

There are people who prefer other expanders, and I'm not against that.  Isn't that the way with all software.  And especially the top applications in whatever "category," there will be discussions about which is truly the best.  I love that there are different strokes for different folks, and I love reading why one person prefers "this app over that app."  Guess it's a lot of why I decided to join in here at DC!
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imtrobin
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2006, 09:10:03 PM »

I can't find a downloadable demo on their website so it's hard to see if it is really that good.

The nice thing about IntelliComplete is the autocompletes words from a dictionary as u type, so you can use it for everything by changing dictionaries. If not for some bugs, it is perfect. This instant V dictionary is seems to be geared towards technical professions only.
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2006, 09:50:45 PM »

instant text sounds quite good, but at $189 (ouch!!)

this may be a ripe category for a freeware/donationware alternative..  maybe harrie can tell us about what a perfect tool for this would look like, and try to think if there are any features that are missing in these tools that would be nice to have.
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allen
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2006, 10:04:43 PM »

I can't find a downloadable demo on their website so it's hard to see if it is really that good.

Unfortunately, it would appear you have to purchase it to test drive it, though it does come with a 30 day guarantee.   Little steep for a trial for someone who doesn't think they need such an application -- I guess I'm just a stickler for improving my typing speed smiley
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Harrie
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 06:06:11 AM »

Imtrobin, thanks for the info.  It's also interesting to see that IntelliComplete has a multi-clipboard manager.  I didn't know that.  It also looks good in that they say it's "efficient in auto-typing non-English alphabets with circumflexes and accents. IntelliComplete reduces your typing labor in both your source language and target language."  That's a really good thing.  I know many text-substituting programs don't have that feature.

I also wish Instant Text had a downloadable demo, just because it makes it so easy to try programs.  But I respect their wish to go with the returnable CD.  Right now, I just do wish you all could try it!  <grin>

About the dictionaries, Imtrobin, I didn't go into this (and a lot of features), because of it being a mini-review and not certain how long I should go on, but Instant Text comes with many glossaries already available.  The nice thing is, they don't make you use them, which I appreciate personally.  (I know a program where that's it, it's default, and you are expected to want to use it.)  NOT!  Give me the choice of using it or not.  I like to put in my own words and phrases.  But many people love being able to instantly have medical-phrase glossaries already built in.  You can "include" all the glossaries you want, so that they are all available with your main one. 

Mouser - maybe at some future time I might want to do that.  I honestly can't picture one I could order up better than what I have now. 

I also didn't mention that the program let's you do "commands."  For instance, if you want a command to go back and put a hyphen in between two words, you just input the keyboard commands for same, then give it a shortcut name.  In fact, this is one of its best features and I should have put it in my mini-review.  It also has a "format" button which is nice.

Allen, you are right.  I think it's steep for those wanting such a program but not necessarily for speed galore.  If I were not a transcriptionist needing speed to make a good paycheck, I would not consider the price.  But at the same token, since I am one, I don't really consider it expensive at all.

One obvious thing to mention is that, I remember the days when my hands ached from typing everything out.  My hands haven't hurt in years now!  <grin>
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rjbull
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 08:41:08 AM »

instant text sounds quite good, but at $189 (ouch!!)

this may be a ripe category for a freeware/donationware alternative..

Mouser, it occurred to me that FARR's interface is part-way there, but I'm not sure this class of program is popular enough to justify a lot of effort.  The more so as a number of free or cheap alternatives already exist, some of them listed in the abbreviations importer thread

« Last Edit: March 08, 2006, 08:49:48 AM by rjbull » Logged
rjbull
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2006, 08:48:37 AM »

someone who doesn't think they need such an application -- I guess I'm just a stickler for improving my typing speed smiley

Allen,

It's not just typing speed, it's the monotony of typing the same thing over and over, and in my case at least, a means of entering things in a standard format. That even includes words I'm apt to routinely misspell...  And, don't forget that most of these programs aren't limited to expanding just single words.  A short-form trigger can expand to whole paragraphs.  If you need those sort of features, a shorthand expander can be invaluable.

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imtrobin
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2006, 02:30:47 AM »

this may be a ripe category for a freeware/donationware alternative..  maybe harrie can tell us about what a perfect tool for this would look like, and try to think if there are any features that are missing in these tools that would be nice to have.

It will be good if you will have time to code this up. I have been looking at  these types of applications before, only IntelliComplete is the best.

Speed typing are split into three categories - text expander,  text correction, and text completion.

Text Expander - Many programs of these types around. Idea is using a id to expand into a full sentence. e.g type "fyi" will expand to "For Your Information"

Text Correction. One example is AsUType http://www.asutype.com/
. It corrects the word while you type. Useful but not as useful as text completion.

Text Completion - This is where IntelliComplete is different from other programs. It predicts the text based on dictionary. Example, you type 'he', then it will present 'hell', hello', helicopter' etc. It also offers text expander.

The only problem with IntelliComplete it has a threading bug which causes it to stop working after a few hours and it's caret detection doesn't work well with all programs.

The similar programs I have seen are

http://www.clasohm.com/lmt/en/
http://www.wamasoft.com/autotyping/

However, their speed and memory usage are not as good IntelliComplete, though they don't suffer from the same bugs.

If you can replicate IntelliComplete without the bugs, it will be excellent. For your information, they have their autocomplete editor at

http://www.flashpeak.com/inted/inted.htm
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kimmchii
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2006, 03:09:27 AM »

i have used IntelliComplete (ver3.3) for more than a year and i can run for for weeks and weeks continuously without any problem or having the need to restart.
and it's caret detection works well for me too in Firefox, notepad, MS word, excel, OE, i havent come across an application that conflict with it.
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imtrobin
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2006, 04:36:21 AM »

The caret only works on simple editbox. Try Emeditor from  www.emeditor.com and see if that works. That doesn't work for me.

Regarding the restart problem, my encounter is the prompt stops showing up and I have to restart to get it to show up. i have it set to floating mode (not docked), following cursor. What are your settings? In the yahoo mailing list, I read someone with similar behaviour so I'm not alone..
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kimmchii
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2006, 06:12:34 PM »

yes, you're right, it doesnt work in Emeditor, but it works in Ultraedit (the most powerful text editor) and i am happy.

i also have it set to floating mode, following cursor, i post some screehshots here:



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imtrobin
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2006, 12:11:49 AM »

thanks, I will give your settings a try.
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Jimdoria
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2006, 12:06:41 PM »

I'm still using the RoboType utility from PC Magazine that I downloaded back when they gave their utilities away for free.

RoboType 3 at PC Magazine
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rjbull
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2006, 08:20:59 AM »

Here's another expander:  Phrase Express  Freeware for personal use, otherwise $19.95.  The Web site talks about "auto complete" and "correct typos," but it looks to me to be just a macro expander, by imtrobin's definition above.


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nagar
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2006, 08:27:10 AM »

Have you considered Direct Access? It's inexpensive (39.95$) and allows you to launch applications and opening websites, too. You can download a free 30-day trial at http://www.nagarsoft.com
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Andrea Nagar - Nagarsoft
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Discover the power of Direct Access to speed up your personal computing experience by reducing time consuming, repetitive tasks through the use of abbreviations.
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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2007, 03:39:40 PM »

Direct Access 1.5 has been released. It contains many enhancements.

Some of the new features of v.1.5 are:
- Redesigned easier to use GUI
- Support for Windows Vista
- Use of shortcuts to add commands
- Support for macros, to automatically insert date/time, special characters or request additional text input at runtime

You can find more details at http://www.nagarsoft.com/NewFeatures15.aspx

I'd be happy to hear your comments and suggestions.
Andrea
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Discover the power of Direct Access to speed up your personal computing experience by reducing time consuming, repetitive tasks through the use of abbreviations.
iphigenie
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2007, 04:10:28 AM »

I wish InstantText would do a demo - I am always extremely suspicious of "30 day refund" offers, as you never know whether "turns out i don't use it enough to justify the price" will be an accepted reason, and that is what a demo would help justify.

It is the additional intelligence put in InstantText that makes it a different tool - most autocomplete come with a few presets, all english and generic "Fyi" etc. The fact that instant text analyses your own documents makes it seem very valuable to people who are always writing reports or proposals etc.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2007, 04:15:56 AM by iphigenie » Logged
Brandi
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2007, 01:01:54 PM »

I too am suspicious of 30-day refund offers.  I have been burned in the past as I’m sure many of us have.

I am a medical transcriptionist and I have been using the auto correct feature in MS Word for 8 years with no problems.  However, other MTs are constantly urging me to purchase an expander program.  I understand that the Instant Text program also has a line count feature.  That is something I am excited about because my lines are counted and divided out by hand for each document.  It has become so tedious that I have pushed that job off on my oldest child LOL!

I am so used to hitting the spacebar after my abbreviations, it would take me months to get away from that.  I’m nervous that this new program might slow me down in the beginning.  I’m still not sure, but still very interested.  I think $189 is a lot of money but I spent more than that on my chair so I can’t really complain about the price. 

There is one more thing I’m not sure about, Harrie.  Every time I type an abbreviation I really don’t want this whole list of mess popping up at the bottom of my screen and distracting me.  Would I be able to turn this feature off?

Oh, and can you back up your entries?  I have not seen anyone talk about that yet!

Thanks,
Brandi
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tide
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« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2007, 08:58:58 AM »

Did anyone notice that IntelliComplete has been discontinued "for lack of development resources?"
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rjbull
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2007, 04:46:54 PM »

There is one more thing I’m not sure about, Harrie.

Brandi,

Harrie hasn't been here since June.  Suggest you try the Productivity Talk forum for MTs, where she's a moderator.



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Brandi
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2007, 06:58:51 PM »

No way........those MT forums are vicious.  The people are rude and besides, senior members of those boards don't like ANY new person saying ANYTHING or you will get the nastiest response like you killed their child.  I'll figure it out on my own if nobody here can answer it, but thanks for the info!!
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