Spell Catcher Plus Logo

New Shorthand Expansion Capabilities

Two new expansion capabilities have been added into Spell Catcher 3.0. The first new capability involves the use of reserved words to add control sequences into your expansion. The second capability allows you to add parameters to expansions.

Expansion Control Sequences

With version 3.0, you can add the following reserved words into your expansions:

Reserved Word List - new with Version 3.0
<PAUSE> <FKEY##>, where ## ranges from 1 through 24.

When Spell Catcher is processing an expansion, it looks for these reserved words and makes appropriate substitutions into the expansion. For instance, we have had requests that the insertion point be positioned within an expansion (after it has been performed), rather than always after the expansion. An example is an expansion for HTML writers, that would insert "<p></p>" into their text and position the insertion point within the new HTML paragraph delimiters. The following expansion does this:

<p></p><LEFT><LEFT><LEFT><LEFT> which can be shorted to <p></p><LEFT4>

When processing the above expansion, Spell Catcher types "<p></p>" into your document then converts each <LEFT> into a single press of the left arrow key, moving the insertion point back into the expansion. <LEFT4> moves the insertion point further to the left by pressing the left arrow key 4 times.

If you want to create an expansion that has some formatted text, the following expansion generally works:

This is <<CTRL>b>really<<CTRL>b> important!

Here each <<CTRL>b> sequence is interpreted by Spell Catcher as a pressing of the "CTRL+b" key sequence. With many applications, this key sequence toggles the BOLD characteristic of the text entry.

The resulting expansion would appear as: "This is really important!"

A word of caution: If you create expansions that use these reserved words, you may not get the expansion you expect depending on which application you are in when you invoke the expansion by typing its shorthand.

For example, the expansion "This is really important!" will not work in the simple Notepad application that is included with every MS Windows operating system, since this application doesn't support formatted text. So, essentially, when you begin creating expansions that use these reserved words, you are creating expansions that can be application specific.

Expansion Parameters

In addition to the inclusion of reserved words in expansions, you can now pass parameters into expansions. The expansion has to be prepared in a specific way for parameter substitution to occur. The simplest way to explain how this works is to give an example. If you create the following expansion:

"h1" to expand into "hi there {name}, how are you doing {when}?"

If you then type "h1(Mary(this evening))" you will get the following expansion "hi there Mary, how are you doing this evening?" appearing in its place.

Here, Spell Catcher determines that "(Mary(this evening))" is a parameter string and it is used to substitute each parameter that is found in the expansion. Parameters are identified by matching brace pairs - "{}", containing an identifier. In the expansion shown above, "{name}" and "{when}" are parameters.

Parameter substitutions are made only if parameters are supplied when the expansion's shorthand is typed. Using the above example, if you type "h1" and follow it with a space without supplying any parameters, you will get the following expansion "hi there {name}, how are you doing {when}?".

If not enough parameters are provided for an expansion, the parameters that have been provided will be used. In this case, "h1(Mary)" will result in "hi there Mary, how are you doing {when}?"

Finally, the same parameter can be specified more than once in an expansion. For example, the above expansion has been changed to "hi there {name}, how are you doing {when}? What do you like doing in your spare time, {name}?"

Now, the following expansion will result from typing "h1(Mary(this evening))":

hi there Mary, how are you doing this evening? What do you like doing in your spare time, Mary?

That's about it for this lesson in parameter substitution into expansions. This feature may be of use to those using Spell Catcher to assist them with chat room talk. It can also help with large expansions that may have 3 or 4 parameters, resulting in a paragraph or two of expanded text.