Instant QuicKeys 1.0
Company: CE Software
Estimated Price: $29.95
CE Software’s latest product is aimed at novices and casual Mac users who want to take advantage of the best features of macro programs, but want to keep it simple and not bother with the macros themselves. Although I find the program a little too simplistic for my needs and taste, Instant QuicKeys accomplishes its goal with style and a clean interface, and should be perfect for its intended audience.
Instant QuicKeys greets the user with a simple window offering all of its capabilities. The user only has to click the appropriate buttons and answer a few questions, and all of the macro-generating is done for them. In no time at all, the user will have generated fast, efficient keyboard shortcuts for their tasks without breaking a sweat.
Instant QuicKeys does place a limit on what type of macros you can create, but the options available should meet the needs of most users. You can assign keyboard shortcuts to launch applications, change printers, log onto file servers, and open often used folders. Other macros can be made for inserting the date and time or a string of text into a document, controlling the Audio CD Player, and carrying out common Finder functions, such as restarting, shutting down, manipulating windows, and switching between active applications.
All of these tasks are generated in a very straightforward interface that involves choosing the appropriate item from a standard dialog box or clicking on a few radio buttons. Choosing which keyboard shortcuts apply to which macro is as easy as dragging-and-dropping the macro’s name onto a picture of a keyboard.
This is the main area where I find that Instant QuicKeys falls short. When choosing your keyboard shortcuts, you are only allowed to use the function keys (F1-F12) and any combination of modifier keys. I would have preferred to be able to use other shortcuts that I would be able to remember easier, such as Option-Shift-Right arrow to advance my audio CD. This limitation, in addition to not being able to create macros for anything other than Instant QuicKeys’ predefined set, made me feel too restricted to really like Instant QuicKeys.
However, I’m not the type of user that Instant QuicKeys is intended for. On the other hand, Instant QuicKeys would be ideal for people like my parents. Until I got my own computer, they were constantly worried that my tinkering around in the System Folder and other such activities would somehow break the family Mac. (Now they don’t care if I want to try to break my own!) They would rather not have to mess with scripting, complicated installation and preference settings, and the like, but they were impressed with the features and shortcuts that I could make the Mac perform, and they wanted to be able to take advantage of that power, too. Instant QuicKeys provides just that: power to control many of the most popular features that are found in macro utilities, but without the mess of having to actually make the macros.
The conclusion? If you’re fairly confident about your Mac knowledge and want to have the flexibility to design your own macros or make changes to existing ones, then pass on Instant QuicKeys and put the money towards buying a full macro program, such as QuicKeys, KeyQuencer, or One Click. If you’d rather just have easy, simple shortcuts to launching applications, switching printers, and controlling your Audio CDs, all without the hassle of making complicated macros, then your thirty bucks are best spent on Instant QuicKeys. It’s a simple, easy-to-use program that gets the job done.
(If you’re interested in just how much more power and flexibility is available in a full macro program, tune in next month for my review of QuicKeys 3.5.3 and the QuicKeys PowerPak suite of add-ons.)
MacMice Rating: 3