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Become More Productive With Launch Center Pro for iPhone

Become More Productive With Launch Center Pro for iPhone

With the release of Launch Center Pro (LCP) a few weekends ago, there has been a storm of excitement of what the app offers and opens up in your iPhone. Because of the restrictions in iOS 5, you can’t use the cool settings hacks that we talked about before, but with the new prompt tag and some creativity in creating new actions, LCP is one of the best apps to become more productive with your iPhone.

Here are a few actions you can add to Launch Center Pro.

Maps

Rather than simply opening the Maps app on iPhone with LCP, you can also use the “built in” Google Maps API to some things like:

Launch Center Pro - Maps

    Search is a little awkward because you can’t give the Maps app your exact location (“Current Location” doesn’t work). But, you can use Safari and the Google Maps app to search instead, Maps will use your current location when you pass the “CURRENTLOCATION” parameter.

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    http://maps.google.com/maps?CURRENTLOCATION&q=[prompt]

    Directions

    You can setup a nice shortcut to get direction from here (current location) to there (an input search) or even from here (current location) to your home.

    From here to there: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Current+Location&daddr=[prompt]

    From here to home (or anywhere else): http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Current+Location&daddr=your+address+here+seperated+by+pluses

    From home to there: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=your+address+here&daddr=[prompt]

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    Search Engines

    Launch Center Pro - Search engines

      One of my favorite things about the new LCP is the use of the prompt and how it will correctly encode your input strings to HTTP encoding when necessary. With this, you can input a ‘[prompt]’ into a search URL for any website that uses search paramters. After submitting your search, LCP will open up Safari with your URL. Here are some of my favorites:

      • DuckDuckGo: http://duckduckgo.com/q?[prompt]
      • Twitter: http://twitter.com/search/[prompt]
      • Stackoverflow: http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=[prompt]
      • Namecheap: http://www.namecheap.com/domains/domain-name-search/results.aspx?domain=[prompt]&tlds=&searchall=&type=single
      • Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=[prompt]
      • eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=[prompt]

      To get these types of URLs, simply do a search on the site you want to be able to use LCP with, look for the portion of the URL that has your search string, and replace it with an LCP prompt tag. Having all of your search engines and sites in one screen is highly productive and efficient.

      OmniFocus

      If you are an OmniFocus user, then LCP is a dream come true as it works hand-in-hand. OmniFocus supports LCP out of the box with its “standard” add a new item with just a name, new item with name a note, or simply to launch the OmniFocus app.

      But, last weekend, Lifehack contributor and overall badass, Michael Schechter took LCP and OmniFocus integration to a new level with his excellent way of setting up the most common input types of actions that you would need for a true GTD system. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will let Mike explain the process.

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      But, in a nutshell, you can setup “static” OmniFocus item names like “follow up with Jim regarding” and then put fill out the rest of the item. It can save a ton of time, especially when you are writing similar actions over and over again.

      Another nice addition to Schechter’s OmniFocus workflow is the use of OmniFocus task, context, perspective, and search URLs. You can create a LCP shortcut URL with the following:

      OF context: omnifocus:///context/nogpCbUAcLg
      OF task: omnifocus:///task/oLNpkpCtxhx
      OF perspective: omnifocus:///perspective/Waiting%20For

      To get the links for contexts and tasks you have to have OF for Mac. You simply right click the context or task and choose Copy as Link to get the unique identifier. For the perspectives you simply add ‘%20’ for each space in the perspective name. Only context mode perspective work at this moment, not project mode. If you don’t understand that, you don’t need to.

      Specific time or situation workflow in LCP

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      Launch Center Pro - Morning workflow

        Another use that I have found with LCP is that you can setup some time or situation group launchers. For instance, say you have a ‘Morning’ group. Under this group you can have actions like ‘Write 750 words’ and it launches Byword (or some other writing app) with a new document, ‘Meditate’ with Due being launched with a timer already set for a certain amount of time, your weather app to check the weather, Calendar to see your plans, and even your OmniFocus ‘Waiting for’ perspective to see what fires you have to light in the morning.

        The idea of this workflow is to let LCP guide you through a routine situation by launching disparate apps and taking specific actions within those apps. This can help focus you and keep your moving through a routine of work.

        With this in mind you could setup groups for work, getting home, before bed, etc.

        Launch Center Pro is one of my new favorite apps. The idea of getting into the “guts” of an iOS app with the iOS URL schema is something desirable, and to be honest, will be something I consider before using any apps regularly going forward because of the increase of speed and efficiency in my workflow.

        Do you have any other good LCP hacks that you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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        Last Updated on August 15, 2018

        25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

        25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

        Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

        Or even better:

        What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

        You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

        Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

        How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

        The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

        In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

        • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
        • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
        • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

        As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

        Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

        Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

        But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

        his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

        5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

        Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

        But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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        1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
        2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
        3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
        4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
        5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

        Who can use Excel shortcuts?

        There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

        • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
        • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
        • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
        • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

        Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

        With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

        25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

        Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

        1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

        If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

        2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

        If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

        If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

        3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

        Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

        =sum(

        …and then press F3.

        When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

        4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

        Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

        =match(

        …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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        When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

        But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

        5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

        If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

        • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
        • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
        • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
        • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
        • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

        6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

        By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

        The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

        For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

        A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

        7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

        When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

        8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

        When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

        9. Use filtering

        Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

        It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

        To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

        10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

        Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

        Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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        To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

        11. See formula results with F9

        If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

        Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

        12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

        If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

        13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

        Here’s how to use EDATE:

        =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

        =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

        14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

        Here’s how to use EMONTH:

        =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

        =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

        15. Remove spaces with TRIM

        TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

        16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

        In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

        17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

        When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

        And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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        18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

        If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

        19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

        Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

        You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

        20. Use data validation

        This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

        • Create dependent drop-down lists;
        • Create drop-down lists;
        • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

        21. Use conditional formatting

        It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

        22. Use formula auditing

        This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

        The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

        23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

        Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

        It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

        24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

        INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

        25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

        OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

        The bottom line

        As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

        That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

        If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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