Automate repetitive typing

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I often have to repeatedly type the same sentences and paragraphs at work. I’ve been copying and pasting the material, but even that’s becoming tedious. Is there anything else I can do to make it easier?

A. TypeItIn ( is a utility that I use many times each day to type frequently used phrases and paragraphs. Once installed, it resides in the System Tray (below the time display). Click to launch it, then right-click to create a series of buttons, each one of which can contain words, phrases or numbers that you frequently type. Create buttons for your name, address, signature line, and even your credit card number. I use it to type in the first 12 digits of my credit card number, then I manually add the last four myself. Try TypeItIn free for 60 days and it’s $19.95 to register.

Q. I primarily use Google to search the Web, but sometimes there are so many search results, it’s overwhelming. Is there a better way run searches than what I’m doing?

A. Google makes it easy to refine searches, which will narrow the number of search results you receive. After each search, your search terms appear in a box at the top of the page so that you can modify them and try again. Here are a few tips for putting better search terms to work for you:

First, type search terms in lowercase, except if they’re proper names, in which case type them with a single capital letter, such as “Frank.” Avoid typing search terms in ALL CAPS. If two or more search terms must appear together, as part of a search phrase, for example, place quotes around them, as in "Frank Sinatra". Lastly, use + and - to either include or exclude words, such as “+Frank +Sinatra -Zappa,” if you're looking for the legendary crooner, not Dweezil’s dad. (Okay, so I’m showing my age.) For additional search tips, click the “Advanced Search” link on

Q. I’m running out of hard drive space, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what’s taking up all the room. Is there any easy way to determine that short of going through every folder to calculate its size?

A. A free program called Scanner ( creates a unique, multi-level pie chart so you can quickly see what specific folders or files are taking up the most space on your drive. When you click one of the folders, Scanner creates a new pie chart with subfolders and files displayed. Visit the Web site and click the thumbnail image of the scan result to see a larger version. This isn’t a program everybody will need, but it can come in handy if you’re running out of space and aren’t sure what’s gobbling up your gigs.

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