Keystarter

Keystarter

Free
A tool to create your own pop-up menus, virtual keyboards, and 3D hotkeys
4.2  (5 votes)
0.7
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Useful as they are, hotkeys and other key combinations are always uncomfortable to use. It does not matter if you’re using a standard keyboard or a touch-screen one, most of the times you will need more than one hand to activate them. Keystarter offers you a convenient and clever alternative – the possibility to create your own pop-up menu or virtual keyboard with all the hotkeys and shortcuts you will ever need.

Hand in hand with Autohotkey – which needs to be installed on your system before using this tool – Keystarter allows you to design your own 3D keys, pop-up menus, and virtual keyboards. Thus, you will be able to open a browser, launch a batch file or a program, or go straight to your favorite online site just by clicking on the corresponding button with your mouse or by tapping on it on your touch screen. All these buttons – or button-like icons – can be set to hide or show, can be resized, turned, zoomed, etc. You can also define their level of transparency, determine the view from where you want to see them (change the “camera position”, as the program says), and change their overall appearance in various ways.

All of these editing possibilities require a certain knowledge of how scripting languages work and how to deal with AHK files (i.e., Autohotkey native files). Having said this, actually anyone can benefit from the features that Keystarter offers. It comes with useful samples that you can use straight away, and which can also be fairly easily edited and customized by entering the "Design Modus". Here you don’t need to type in scripting code or any other kind of programming jargon – all you have to do is change the values of the fields provided and check how that works on your custom pop-up menu. Here is where you resize, move, turn, zoom, or create new keys, among other possibilities.

Keystarter is 5 days a week free. A license is required on Saturday and Monday.

I wouldn’t say the graphics used are top-notch quality. Actually, they look pretty rough at times, but it’s always faster and more convenient to click on a not-so-perfect icon, than twisting your fingers trying to make some hotkeys work. Not all users will be capable of making the most of this versatile tool, but even so Keystarter is offering you the possibility of keeping your hand on your mouse and off the keyboard without losing functionality, and regardless of the programs you work with, the sites you visit, or the routines you used to run. The concept behind this tool takes macros, hotkeys, and shortcuts to the next level.

Francisco Martínez
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Allows you to customize your own pop-up menus and virtual keyboards.
  • Comes with useful samples for all users.
  • Includes various clipboard menus.
  • 3D animations for your icon-like keys

Cons

  • Requires a license on Saturday and Monday.
  • Requires good knowledge of scripting languages.
  • Rough-looking graphics.
  • Requires at least 512 Mb of RAM memory in your video driver
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