Archive for category Downloads

Launch programs faster with Windows 7, or Download: Launchy

Windows 7 Start menu search

For those no longer tied down to Windows XP, the Start menu in Windows 7 (and Vista) allows for unsurpassed efficiency in launching programs and searching for files.

Microsoft has dramatically improved the functionality of the Start Menu with Windows 7. By incorporating search capability, it is possible to very quickly find and launch programs and documents. Not only can you more quickly launch frequently-used programs, but it also means no more searching through a large tree of folders looking for a program you haven’t used in a year.

To start, click the Start menu button or hit the Windows Key. Notice that at the bottom of the menu a search box sits, waiting for your input.


If you start typing as soon as the menu appears, the Start menu will list programs and documents matching your search terms. For example, typing “smart” will list the programs “Sprint SmartView” and “PPC’s SMART Practice Aids” as well as any file or folder with “smart” in the name.


From here, you can select what you want with the mouse or use the arrow keys and hit enter. I like to hit the Windows key, type the first few letters of a program, and hit enter.

For XP users, try Launchy

For those still running the tried-and-true Windows XP, a free third-party application handles the task of indexing and quick-launching programs and files. The elegant Launchy performs the task admirably.


Setting up and using Launchy is very easy and straightforward. Visit Launchy’s help page for a quick primer.

As an added bonus, I have been able to eliminate 99% of my desktop icons due to tools like this. Now I only keep bare essentials and the recycle bin on the desktop, giving me a nice clean, stress-reducing look:



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Download: ZScreen, my favorite screenshot tool

ZScreen-43554Every time I write up a tech tip, I take screenshots. I get emails every week from my colleagues asking how to perform a certain task, and when I respond, I use screenshots. Without a dedicated tool, screenshots can by kind of a pain, but they can be extremely useful as a visual aid.

The dedicated tool I use is ZScreen. With it, I can select particular portions of the screen, include the mouse cursor (surprisingly important to do), and have the shot automatically load in my image editor of choice. If I then choose not to edit the image, it automatically ends up on the clipboard, meaning I can then paste it into anything that will accept an image. All of the screenshots I take are saved in folders by date, so I can recover old ones without having to recreate anything.

ZScreen is a free download.


Download: CleanHaven for clean copy, paste, and reformatting

A CPAs work involves a lot of copy-and-paste. I know that every time I help implement a new FASB or GASB pronouncement for a client, I first copy the related note disclosure from another client. From there, I can tailor it to suit the current client’s financials. Many of us also use PPC forms, from which we regularly copy and paste language for engagement letters, SAS 114 communications, management representation letters, etc. There are also many instances where we need to clean up all sort of text and data. The problem is, many of us are not experts at formatting. Also, I hate creating more work for our administrative staff than is necessary.

CleanHaven makes quick work of copying, reformatting, and pasting.

From the CleanHaven website:

CleanHaven is a program designed to make the cleaning of text much easier. The cleaned text can be reset as the main text with additional cleaning performed. Once finished the cleaned text is available from the global cleaned text window. You may want CleanHaven to make changes to thousands of lines of contact details before importing into CRMHaven. For example you can turn all company names to Sentence Case, all UK postcodes to Uppercase or remove any trailing spaces, tabs or punctuation. Copy a column of data from Excel, clean it, then paste it back into Excel.

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