EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 150 - September 04, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 8

Shortkeys Automates eBay Tasks

By Mark O'Neill

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It seems to be my month for finding great little computer programs that can help streamline my eBay tasks. First, the auction title creator ( And now, a great little gem of a program designed to automate your eBay emails called Shortkeys.

Most of my eBay email consists of emailing buyers to request payment, chase up payments, confirm shipping dates and so on. I use pretty much the same text, and typing and retyping it can be tedious to say the least.

Shortkeys is a small desktop program that allows you to set up keyboard shortcuts using "macros." By entering the pre-arranged shortcut into Microsoft Notepad, the replacement message appears. Copy and paste the text into a new email window, slightly adjust it to personalize the email a bit and include the relevant details for that customer and send it. Move onto the next customer!

The program allows you to set up a prefix code to ensure that you don't accidentally type the shortcut without thinking. So you can add something like ## to your shortcuts so instead of "ebay," you use "##ebay." That way, the macro is not activated every time you innocently type the word eBay.

The lite version only allows you to set up one shortcut and is designed for customers to test and evaluate the software. The full version of Shortkeys gives you lots of features, including being able to create and store an unlimited number of keyboard shortcuts. You can import and export your shortkeys and print out a list of them all. You also get a spellchecker for both British English and American English. It can be tested free for 30 days, then you need to buy a license, which costs $19.95. The full version of the program can be set up to run on a computer network, but each user needs their own license.

I have been using the free lite version of Shortkeys for a few months now and I have noticed a big difference in my email response times. Shortkeys was not designed with eBay in mind, but ever since I started using it, more of my time has been freed up, and customers and potential customers have complimented me on my email response times.

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'

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