Preferences - General


These settings allow you to customize how to activate a shortkey macro.


The Use Prefix Keys option requires typing a character or two before the shortkey.

The Use Suffix Keys option requires pressing a key after the shortkey.

Set the program so that neither a prefix nor a suffix is used.

ShortKeys > Options > Preferences > Playback > General Tab


ShortKeys maintains a buffer containing up to 32 characters used to determine whether a shortkey activation has been typed. It is not necessary to type the leading keystroke when the shortkey buffer is empty. The buffer is emptied when a shortkey plays back or when keys such as Ctrl, Alt, Esc or Left Arrow are pressed.


Prefixes and Suffixes

Use Prefix Keys 
Use Prefix Keys indicates that you must type a prefix key or keys before typing each shortkey. The prefix is what triggers the shortkey playback. For example, if the prefix key is set to ## and the shortkey is test, then typing ##test would initiate the macro.


The Prefix Keys may contain two keys, one key or may be left empty. Leave the field empty to activate macros by typing the shortkey without any prefix or suffix.  The prefix key applies to all shortkeys created. The following characters may be used as a prefix:

The letters A through Z (both upper and lower case)

The numbers 0 through 9

The following characters: ! @ # $ % ^ & _ = < > ? . ; , * - / + \

 Note: This list may be modified in the Solitary Usage Separator Characters field to prevent certain characters from being used as prefix keys.



Use Suffix Keys 
To activate a shortkey when the Use Suffix Keys option is enabled, type the shortkey and then press either Space or Enter. For example, if the shortkey is set to red, then type red and press Space or Enter to activate the macro.


Use Punctuation Characters 

Choose this option to allow punctuation keys such as . , : ; ? ! and - to be used as suffix keys, as well as the standard Space Bar or Enter key options. Additional characters may be added or removed from this list as required.

Retype Suffix Key 

This option plays back the suffix key (Enter, Space or punctuation keys) at the end of the replacement text, except when using rich text.


Below are several examples demonstrating the Use Punctuation Characters and Retype Suffix Key options. For this example, the

Shortkey is red and the Replacement Text is A bright color.


Example 1
Type red and press the space bar to activate.


Retype Suffix Key: On
A bright color is typed, and the text cursor moves one space to the right of the last character typed. 

Retype Suffix Key: Off
A bright color is typed, and the text cursor remains at the end of the text with no space added.


Example 2
Type red plus the ? to activate the shortkey.


Use Punctuation Characters: On 
Retype Suffix Key: On                      
A bright color? is typed, including the ?.


Use Punctuation Characters: On
Retype Suffix Key: Off
A bright color is typed. The ? is not typed.

Use Punctuation Characters: Off
red? is typed. The ? does not activate the shortkey.


Solitary Usage

The Solitary Usage option indicates that a shortkey will be recognized only when it is preceded by a character or a key that empties the shortkey buffer. For example, if you have a shortkey activated when you type hte to correct the common mistyping of the, you do not want it to activate when you type words such as fighter, daughter or brighten.


Note: Solitary Usage only applies to the Suffix Key option or when the Prefix Keys are left blank.


Solitary Usage Separator Characters

The Solitary Usage Separator Characters have two functions.

The keys listed in this field will empty the shortkey buffer so that a shortkey will play back. Examples 3 and 4 below describe how this works.

The characters listed in this field may not be used as prefix keys.          


Below are several examples demonstrating the Solitary usage option. For this example, the Shortkey is red and the Replacement Text is A bright color.   


Example 1
Type Fred and press the space bar to activate.


Solitary Usage: On
Fred is typed. The replacement did not take place. No character was typed to clear the buffer.

Solitary Usage: Off
The shortkey activates and types out FA bright color.

Example 2
Type F, press Space and type red to activate the shortkey.


Solitary Usage: On

F A bright color is typed. The space clears the buffer and overrides the solitary usage option.

Solitary Usage: Off
F A bright color is also typed.

Example 3
Type F(red to activate the shortkey. 


Solitary Usage: On

F(A bright color is typed. The ( is one of the Solitary Usage Separator Characters and clears the buffer so the shortkey will play back.

Solitary Usage: Off
F(A bright color is typed.

Example 4
Type F=red to activate the shortkey. 


Solitary Usage: On

F=red is typed. The = character is not one of the Solitary Usage Separator Characters and does not clear the buffer.


Solitary Usage: Off
F=A bright color is typed.



Keys may be added or removed from this list as required.



Note: If the same Solitary Usage Separator Character is also defined as a Punctuation character, it will not function as a separator character to clear the shortkey buffer.





Case Sensitivity

The following options are the default options used for each new shortkey created. These options can be overridden on an individual shortkey basis.
Match Uppercase First Character Between Shortkey and Text

Typing the first letter of the shortkey in uppercase will cause the first letter of the replacement text to type in uppercase, regardless of whether the first letter of the text is upper or lower case.


Or typing the first letter of the shortkey in lowercase will cause the first letter of the replacement text to type in lowercase.


Do not lowercase the first letter

Using the option above, if the first letter of the replacement text is a capital letter, and a lowercase letter is pressed to activate the shortkey, the first letter of the replacement text will also be lower case.


For example, consider a shortkey of "mrr" with a replacement text of "Mr. Roberts".


Option turned off

Typing "mrr" plays back "mr. Roberts". Typing "Mrr" plays back "Mr. Roberts".

Option turned on

Typing "mrr" or "Mrr" would always result in "Mr. Roberts".


Require Exact Upper/Lowercase Match on Shortkey
This option requires that the shortkey must be typed exactly as it appears (upper and lowercase letters) for the replacement work.

Neither of the above cases apply when this option is selected. The shortkey is not case sensitive.



Playback Method


ShortKeys outputs the text to other applications via one of two methods, typing the text or pasting through the clipboard. A comparison below discusses why or when you might choose one method over the other.

Simulate Keystrokes

This is the default setting in the program. All shortkey text playback is sent via keystrokes. Each key is typed individually into the application.


Use Clipboard and Paste Text

All shortkey text replacement is copied to the clipboard and then pasted into the application.



Clipboard vs Keyboard Comparison


Which method is best and when is it better to use one method over the other? Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using the clipboard and keyboard methods are listed below.


Clipboard Advantages 

Text replacement is very quick.

Best for large blocks of text.

No need to worry about timing problems as discussed in the Delays topic. 


Clipboard Disadvantages

The clipboard option may not work with some programs. If a program does not support the clipboard, then the ShortKeys clipboard method will not work.

The clipboard option may require an extra step with some programs. If the program does support the clipboard but does not use the standard "CTRL-V" command for pasting text, then the paste will need to be invoked independently.

Any previous content saved to the clipboard will be lost.

Most of the Misc Keys and Commands are not available when using the clipboard.


Keyboard Simulation Advantages 

Works with any program.

Able to slow down the playback of the text if needed.

Supports additional keys such as Tab, Enter, Alt, etc.

Text replacement is typically faster for short strings of text.


Keyboard Simulation Disadvantages

Text replacement is noticeably slower for large blocks of text.

Text playback speed may be an issue as discussed in the Delays topic.


Stopping a Macro
There are two methods to stop a shortkey macro during playback.

1.Press the Scroll Lock + Pause keys. Laptops and some desktops may require pressing the FN key as well.

2.Left click on the ShortKey icon in the Windows notification area. When a macro is running, the standard icon changes to an icon indicating that a macro is running. Left click on the running icon to stop the macro.




Do Not Remove Keystrokes Typed
This option instructs the macro to not erase the shortkey text abbreviation typed. Typically, backspaces are issued to remove the shortkey from the screen before the macro is executed. When using shortkeys in non-text usage programs, it may not be desirable to have "backspaces" issued.



Treat CAPS Lock as Off 
Turn on this setting to have ShortKeys ignore the state of the Caps Lock key during text playback. ShortKeys will consistently insert the text the same way regardless of whether the Caps Lock is on or off. It types back the text exactly as it is saved in the Replacement Text field.

If the setting is turned off, the capitalization of the replacement text may be reversed when the Caps Lock key is on.

Any replacement text in lower case letters will play back in upper case and vice versa when the Caps Lock key is on.

The clipboard playback option ignores the Caps lock status.

The Treat CAPS Lock as Off option only affects replacement text that is played back through the keyboard.