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Automate Your Life: Use a Macro-Enabled Mouse!

Posted December 17, 2012 8:26 AM by yamdankee

Previously, on Automate Your Life, we discussed the time-saving value of AutoHotKeys. If you benefited from those time saving tips and even started using some AHKs, good for you! (Tell us about it below.)

Why not take it a step further? Instead of using the keys on your keyboard, consider using a mouse that has macro functionality built into it. This way you don't have to take your hand off the mouse to do certain tasks. Again, if you can scratch out a repetitive movement from your daily work it may not seem like much, but that time adds up. Plus it saves your sanity - who likes doing mundane tasks over and over when you don't really have to? Macro-enabled mice are especially useful for when you have many different macros pre-loaded, ready to use at any time. How do you do that? I'm glad you asked.

To make your AHKs start when Windows starts, you simply need to save them in the Windows Startup folder. If you're running Windows 7, that folder would be C:\Users\~YOURNAME~\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup. If you're running a different version of Windows, check this site out to see where you should save those AHKs. Once you have your AHKs saved in that folder they will start when Windows starts and respond to the respective keys you've mapped them to. You'll never have to open them again -- they're ready to go. Once you've reached this level of AHK prowess, it only makes sense to get a macro-ready mouse!

The mouse I chose for myself is the Logitech G600 (pictured above). It's advertised as a gaming mouse, focused on MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) games. However, the level of efficiency, accuracy, and versatility it offers can certainly be taken advantage of in the workplace as well. The software is very easy to use too. One cool feature of the mouse is that it has on-board memory, allowing you to store your macros on the mouse. This way you do not need to transfer any profiles to a different computer. The macros you've programmed are ready to go with any computer you plug it into.

Setting up these profiles is very easily done too. As you can see in the picture to the right, I have all the buttons of the mouse set up for my purposes now. If any of my regular uses for macros change, I can easily make the revisions through this program. You've got all those buttons ready, and then if you hold the G-Shift button, they all change purpose into the G-Shift set of key mappings. So you essentially have about 30 actions all in one quick device. I'm not trying to plug for Logitech. You can get this kind of mouse from a number of different companies.

It can get pretty involved, so don't get too crazy. We just like to see efficiency and innovation in the workplace. For engineers macros can be useful for CAD, Excel, and in use with other software and development tools. Do you have any tools at work that automate certain processes? What macros or other tools have you used to make your work run smoother, quicker, or more efficient?

(Image credit: engadget.com, cyborggaming.com, tweaktown.com)

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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Re: Automate Your Life: Use a Macro-Enabled Mouse!

12/19/2012 4:24 PM

Just be sure to let go of it before you sneeze.

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