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Direct Access

Download the 3.2Mb trial version from Nagarsoft here

I thought I'd squeezed out the last drop of productivity and easy of use out of my computer. And then I ran into Direct Access.

Direct Access not only cures the ills of easily launching programs but a whole lot more as well. It's the single biggest productivity boost I've found for Windows and, for that matter, computers since cut and paste.

At install time Direct Access creates a list of programs, web sites and some other info and displays it in a window.

Click on image to enlarge

As you can see from the larger image a bunch of default "shortcuts" have been established. These are just the defaults and they can easily be changed to something that makes more sense to you.

Now we're ready to see exactly what Direct Access can do. I'm in my browser and I see some numbers that just don't add up. Before Direct Access I had to mouse to the start menu, select accessories and then calculator. With Direct Access installed I just type calc in my browser and hit F1 and bang, Direct Access launches it. Each time you type in a Direct Access shortcut a tool tip appears letting you know where you are. For instance while writing this when I type in "appears" a tool tip appears after I type in "app" letting me know that typing in app and hitting the F1 key brings up the application shortcut menu that shows all my applications and their respective shortcuts. Ditto when I type in "access". A tooltip appears letting me know that I can hit F1 and bring up Microsoft Access.

Now let this sink in; this works in all programs and even on the desktop. I can be composing an email and type in "maps", which has been earmarked by Direct Access to open a browser and go to the Google map site, hit F1 and up pops my browser with that site. I might be in my browser and want to edit a web page. I type in dream, hit F1 and up pops Dreamweaver. I can be in Excel and type in nm and a new email window appears. I'm sure how you use your computer and the programs you use are different than mine but regardless Direct Access is going to make using your computer a lot easier. And I mean a LOT.

In addition to launching programs Direct Access can also shortcut text. Email signatures, boilerplate and the like. Suppose you're working in a CD burner and want to change the tags on a bunch of MP3 files. Put the common text in Direct Access, type in the magic word, hit F1 and have Direct Access do all the typing for you.

Sure, there are other ways to do all of this; I could quit what I'm doing in program A and navigate the start menu. I could minimize all windows and click a program icon on the desktop, but gee, why should I do that when it's so much easier with Direct Access. Top that off with not even having to take my hands off the keyboard and I'm sold.

Adding programs and text is a snap. A semi-transparent Direct Access "hub" sits at the bottom right of your screen. Want to add some text? Copy and drag the text to the hub and an add window pops up, complete with the text you just dragged to it. Want to add a program? Just drag it to the hub. Nothing could be easier.

I could go on...and on...but you'll want to try this guy out and see for yourself. The author is justifiably confident enough to offer a fully functional 30 day trail at which time you'll be eager to pay the $39.95; you'll save that in time the first month you use Direct Access, it's an elegant piece of software that will have you using Windows in ways you never imagined.

Download the 3.2Mb trial version from Nagarsoft here.



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