Free Comfort Keys Lite (very useful multifunction program)!

For the past couple of days I have been working on an article about a freeware program which allows you to assign hotkeys to literally any task (launch a program, file, folder, website, etc.). The publishing of that article has stalled because I am having minor difficulties getting it to work properly on Win7; I did (do) plan on testing it on my XP machine later today and finishing my article. However I just discovered Comfort Keys (Lite), a multifunction shareware utility, is being given away for free and figured I should write about it first because, frankly, I find Comfort Keys to be a hell lot better than the freeware software I was going to publish.

First to get a feel for Comfort Keys, read this brief list of the main features:

  • Launch the necessary programs and open web pages by pressing a single hotkey.
  • Insert user-defined preset texts (email templates, signatures, passwords, greetings, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) using hotkeys or the built-in template manager.
  • Type with an on-screen keyboard.
  • Use the clipboard manager to monitor Windows clipboard and paste back any entry at will.
  • Change the language and case of the typed text.
  • Control the sound volume in a quick and convenient manner.
  • Record key press sequences (macros) and play them back as many times as you need.
  • Block some keys or simulate the press of a specific key when another one is pressed.

So Comfort Keys is not only a software which allows you to assign hotkeys to literally any task, but it is a clipboard manager, text-snippet manager, has an on-screen keyboard, and a (hotkey) macro recorder? Wow! I don’t say “wow” for many programs mind you.

Often times developers create featured filled software but then shoot themselves in the foot by making the software un-user friendly. This is not the case with Comfort Keys. Comfort Keys is extremely easy to use; it works right out of your system tray allowing you to easily float from feature to feature:

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Initially you have to manually access each feature via the system tray icon but you can easily use the hotkeys feature (“Keyboard Shortcuts Settings”) of Comfort Keys to create hotkeys for each of Comfort Keys’ tools:

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Of course the hotkeys feature is not just for creating hotkeys for Comfort Keys’ tools. You can assign a hotkey to almost any action/task you can think of:

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Each “action” is further broken down into “sub-actions” if applicable (i.e. for the “Change language, layout, or case” action you can select “Change all text to UPPER CASE”, “Change all text to lower case”, “Capitalize Each Word of the selected text”, etc.). To make things even more interesting, for “Run program” and “Open URL” each hotkey can be set to launch multiple programs or URLs instead of just one program/URL per hotkey.

Whenever you want to assign a new hotkey, all you need to do is simply click on the text box for “Key combination” and press the hotkey on your keyboard. After you select your hotkey, select your action, set it up as you see fit, and hit “Save”. Simple as that.

One thing to take note, however, is the “Paste text” action is different than if you use add a “template” to the “Template Manger”. “Paste text” is an independent action set to one hotkey…

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…while the “Template Manager” is, well, this:

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NOTE: Just double click on a “template” title (the list column) to insert the content.

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The main two differences between “Paste text” and the “Template Manager” is if you use “Paste text” you can only paste unformatted text but you can include special, and useful, tags…

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…while if you use the “Template Manager” you can insert formatted text and images (you must use the “Rich Text Format”). When calling the “Template Manager” make sure you have your cursor on an area where you can insert text/content otherwise the “Template Manager” will not open.

Another nice feature, as I already mentioned, is the “Clipboard Manager”:

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The “Clipboard Manager” remembers the last 100 entries (text, images, formatted/rich text, etc.) made to Windows clipboard.

Using the “Clipboard Manager” is also simple: just double click on the clipboard entry you want to paste back. However take note of one nicetie: there is the ability to “search” all clipboard entries.

There are definitely more features I have not discussed yet but I believe you get the point: Comfort Keys is awesome.

Now as you can see, the freebie is of Comfort Keys Lite not Comfort Keys Pro. I know whenever a software has the world “Lite” in it most people are turned off (including me). However, while I agree Comfort Keys Pro is better, Comfort Keys Lite is excellent. Here are the differences between Comfort Keys Lite and Comfort Keys Pro if you want to shell out $30 to purchase the Pro version (which you may want to consider doing considering how great of a program this is):

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So now that I have you  convinced (I hope), let me tell you how to get Comfort Keys Lite:

Version Reviewed: 3.6

Supported OS: Windows 2000, XP, and Vista. Win7 is not officially supported but it works fine for me.

  • Visit the promotion page and click 2009-09-26_172106.
  • After you download it, install it. There is no need to do anything for registration because the installer does that for you automatically =). You will know for sure if Comfort Keys (Lite) is registered for you or not depending on if you get this popup message:

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If you get that message, Comfort Keys is not registered. If you don’t get it, you are good to go.

  • Enjoy!

P.S. As far as I know, Comfort Keys Lite is eligable for free updates; however you have to manually check for updates (Right click on system tray icon -> “About Comfort Keys Lite” -> “Check for updates” or check the ComputBild.de promotion page).

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23 comments

  1. GregR

    @Ashraf: Oops! You beat me to it, Ashraf!!

    BTW, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your reviews here and on the GOTD site. I find them unbiased, clearly written, and a major deciding factor on whether or not to download an application.

    Cheers!

  2. GregR

    @RMFR: Freeware? Where does Ashraf describe Comfort Keys Lite as freeware?

    If you read the first paragraph more closely, you would have seen that he was referring to another unnamed freeware macro program. Toward the end of that same paragraph he says (with my boldfaced emphasis), “… I just discovered Comfort Keys (Lite), a multifunction shareware utility, is being given away for free and figured I should write about it first because, frankly, I find Comfort Keys to be a lot better than the freeware software I was going to publish.

    To quote your own words, “Please make sure you get it right from the start. Don’t say freeware when it is not.

    At the very least, I think you owe him an apology!

  3. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @RMFR: Please go back and read it again. I have said Comfort Keys Lite is freeware; I was referring to a different program that is freeware that I was going to write about but instead I decided to write about Custom Keys Lite. Furthermore, this article is clearly marked as a freebie (i.e. paid software available for free).

    However, I do apologize if I caused any confusion to you. Hope this clears everything up.

  4. RMFR

    In the first sentence you speak about freeware. However, towards the bottom you show a feature graphic which shows that it is not freeware. Please make sure you get it right from the start. Don’t say freeware when it is not.

    rmfr

  5. helenwheels

    I’ve been using — and loving — Comfort Keys Lite for 5 months or so. I had been using AutoHotkey, but have decided I don’t need that much control & geekery.

    Ashraf, thanks to your reviews, I had this application. And because of your detailed instructions and “tour” I remembered a couple of non-shortcut tools it provides.

    Tonight, I copied a google apps verification code and pasted it to the wrong domain on my domain manager. No problem, right? Well I hadn’t deleted a previous code and thus couldn’t tell which verification code I had just copied.

    What to do? hmmm…. What about that Comfort Keys thingy? Right click on the CK icon in the notification area, click on Clipboard Manager. AHA, there was my recent string of random digits!

    Kudos. dottech continues to provide value well worth daily visits!

  6. Jeanjean

    Hello,

    The updates are not possible, even on the promotion page.
    Logically, the program should indicate that a combination of keys is already occupied by Windows or another program.
    Now I have found during it’s use that it was not true, which is a little boring !
    Others had the same problem?

  7. Conn09

    I have one question about this and i hope you can answer.
    The Installer, will it allow you to install it fully again after today or if not installed today (the day of the promo) will it become a trial and ask for key?

  8. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Toys4Boys: ROFL! I just noticed the same promotion was posted on 4Free two hours after I posted about it (Google doesn’t lie; check out the cached times here and here). Yet no credit was given because supposedly they found it themselves; it just happen to be 2 hours after I did by coincidence. There is ethics for you.

  9. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Kev93: You are welcome.

    @Ken: You are welcome.

    @Toys4Boys: It is all cool. Spread the wealth brotha =). However knowing them, I doubt they will allow you post it so don’t be disappointed if they censor you (from what I hear from many people, they like censoring =/).

    @Dave Reams: Thanks for the kind words. And no worries – we are all busy with life =).

    @alalata: You are welcome.

    @justnakenny: What IE are you using? Did you click on the top bar and allow it to download? I ask because it works fine on IE 8 for me – I just tried it.

    @Samer: You are welcome =). Glad to see you are enjoying it.

  10. Samer

    Just great ! thank u so much for this I really needed such a program I especially like the upper case lower case switcher and that i can launch screen saver with a shortcut ( i haven’t been able to find these features anywhere) and that i can add hot keys to any thing ^_^

    and + it looks good !

    shokran :D

  11. Dave Reams

    Ashraf,
    Thanks for this and the other reviews that you submit.
    I appreciate the time you take to make these reviews available to those of us who are unaware of the applications that are available or of the value of those programs that we do know about. I download or reject GOTD offerings based largely on your reviews.
    I realize that, without feedback it may seem that you are “whistling in the wind” with no one listening. Please accept this note as a ringing endorsement of your efforts. If I had the requisite skills and the time I would be happy to offer my help in your reviews as you requested. I drive 120 mile a day to work beginning at 4:00 AM. I really am a bit short on time.
    I find you a very articulate and thoughtful person and careful reviewer. I appreciate all you do.

    I also enjoyed recently exchanging views with you about religion and music.

    Sincerely,
    Dave
    ====

  12. Toys4Boys

    Wow is right, I just started to look at the capabilities and Wow! Thank you Ashraf. I hope that I haven’t stepped on anyone’s toes by posting about this at 4Free, giving you credit of course.If I did I’m certain the post will not pass review but if there is some etiquette that I should be aware of please let me know.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Mark

  13. Ken

    Thanks always for your wondeful reviews & helpful suggestions. I am going to try this software. I have been using a semi-similar program called keybreeze, from keybreeze.com. It is free and I can’t do without. I rather lose all my other programs than my keybreeze. Thanks again.