Advanced Speedtype – Using Macros to Run Music Files

Get your music playing with just a few keystrokes!

In today’s production-based environment of Medical Transcription/Healthcare Documentation, efficiency is a must. We prepare our students for the working world by arming them with the necessary knowledge and tools to be the best MT/HDS they can be. We offer countless discussions and demonstrations to show them how to use those tools to have a successful career. However, some of the technology can seem intimidating and not all students use it as much as they should.

One of the most helpful tools, and the least understood, is the word expander. Let’s go into more detail about the word expander we use in the CanScribe MT program, SpeedType.

Speedtyping and using macros.

 

What are ‘word expanders’?

SpeedType™ is a medical transcription/healthcare documentation software program and universal abbreviation expander that saves the user an incredible amount of time typing. The concept is pretty simple: add a word or phrase to the word list, choose an abbreviation for it, and voila – every time you type that abbreviation, the word or phrase appears. Time and accuracy are the two most critical focus points for an MT – programs such as SpeedType that offer word expander and macro functionalities are an invaluable tool to a working MT/HDS.

A “macro” is a short cut that you can use to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Instead of saving a simple word or phrase, a macro will record an entire session of information that you can recall later with a simple command. This makes macros extremely useful for work, for repetitive tasks such as pulling up an employer’s template to transcribe your report in. But beyond using macros to expand text phrases, you may not have realized that you can use them outside of a word document to run tasks on your computer. For practice, let’s explore a simple and fun macro below.

Use Macros to Run Files

Some research has shown that listening to classical music while studying can improve your retention of what you have learned. Sometimes its just nice to have something to listen to when your brain is feeling drained. Whatever your need, opening up your music player can be a real pain when you’re in the middle of a good thought. Let’s try to reduce playing your music to a few keystrokes.

To begin, we simply need to add a new macro. In SpeedType, you can add macros simply by opening SpeedType and clicking the Add button. Then, fill in the below fields as follows:

Keyword:
playmp3

Text To Type:
{@INPUTTCL run “C:/Program Files (x86)/Windows Media Player/wmplayer.exe” “insert your file location here” }

Example:

What we are running is called a Tool Command Language Script, or TCL Script. According to Wikipedia it is pronounced “tickle”. This is about as light-hearted as programmers get. Now I know this sounds suspiciously like programming and some of you are already rushing to your panic rooms, but I assure you this won’t be that bad. All you need to do is copy the text above, and then we will make a couple of changes.

As you might have guessed, we are telling SpeedType to start Windows Media Player, and we are telling it to run the file at C:/Users/jarlitt/Music/track3.mp3. All you need to do at this point addi your own music file path. If you are not sure what the file path of your song is, you can right click it and go to Properties. Under Location you will find the path. So now, whenever I type playmp3 the command will open up our song track3.mp3 from my music folder using Windows Media Player. Now this in itself is not especially handy, and probably won’t save us that much time in the long run. However, it introduces a neat idea – we can use SpeedType to open files with a program of our choice! A much more useful function would be to create an entire playlist of songs (which is a .wpl file). So, for example, we could have:

Keyword:
Playclassical

Text To Type:
{@INPUTTCL run “C:/Program Files (x86)/Windows Media Player/wmplayer.exe” “your classical music file location here” }

Now our classical playlist will open up whenever we type “playclassical”. This is a bit more useful. After we set up a few of these playlists, it becomes a lot quicker to start up the music of your choice.This idea can also be applied to other programs and files. We can do the same thing with Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, anything that is an executable. If you are not sure where a program is located you can right click it and choose properties.

Let’s face it – we could all use a program that saves us time, so why not give a word expander a try. Try running the macro example I gave you above, or writing your own macros to open files and let us know how you did in the comments below.