Fans of the seldom seen Dvorak keyboard, which has a different layout from the common “QWERTY” arrangement, often use a regular keyboard and mapping software to change what each key does. An example of such software is KeyExtender imagefrom EasySoft, now out in a new version. Anyone can use KeyExtender to create shortcuts and alleviate hassles. You may want to assign a key to automatically insert your email address, or assign a shortcut to the computer’s volume control. You can assign frequently used text to a single keystroke or combination of keystrokes. (This harks back to the old Atex system used by many newspapers and magazines.) The next time you get a nasty note from someone, you could assign a key to deliver the late Ohio Senator Metzenbaum’s standard reply: “We wanted to let you know that some crank is sending out letters in your name.” We found we were limited to assigning 365 words to a single keystroke, but that wouldn’t bother most users. There’s a free trial of the $20 KeyExtender at

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