Using your numeric keypad as a launcher…

There are numerous programs out there that will let you assign hotkeys on your keyboard to execute windows commands that will launch programs, web sites, etc…; BUT, have you ever seen a program that allows you to enter numeric codes on the numeric keypad (on your keyboard) to do the same thing.  I never have until I experienced “ControlPad”.  If you do not know what the numeric keypad is; it is the seventeen key section of your computer keyboard, usually on the very far right.  Most people do not use, or know how to use, the numeric keypad; unless you are an accountant, banker, mathematician, etc…

Using ControlPad gives the numeric keypad a whole different perspective in that it turns your numeric keypad into a windows command execution center with some cool sound effects. This software is an excellent example of using something that is very rarely used, such as the numeric keypad.

You may configure any numeric code to: Execute any program, open any document, open any web address or send any series of keystrokes to the operating system.

Once ControlPad is running, press and hold the * key on the numeric keypad, for about 1 second. At this point, a small window will pop up, allowing you to enter any keyword or numeric code.

Pressing the code followed by Enter will execute the associated command.

Commands are easily configured through the same interface – activate the input dialog (press and hold *), enter the desired code and press the numpad Divide button to associate a new command.

For example, I added the command of “123” to go directly to my blog.  I hit the asterisk (*) key on the keypad, type 123, hit “Enter” and I’m in…  It may sound like alot, but it is very efficient.

Control Pad

A really cool feature about this program is that it can be used as a portable app so that it can be carried with you on your flash drive.

It does not register anything in the Windows registry, with the exception of what Windows requires in order to recognize it in the Add/Remove Software dialog and Start menu.

There is also a “Zip” version available that will allow you to use ControlPad as a portable app.

Control Pad is highly customizable:

Configure the location of your commands file – for easy backup.

Change almost every aspect of the user interface (colors, transparency, size, font).

Change sounds / add your own sound sets.

You can also input codes that are regular words in the regular keyboard

It is also laptop compatible – F12 is the launch key, F11 the close key (like numpad -) and F10 is the Add key (like numpad /)

If you are like me and like software that is different, then this little app is for you, as well.  I am already thinking of ways to use this. I have been in contact with the author of ControlPad and he is open to suggestions. This is another great example of someone thinking outside the norm. You can get ControlPad [ HERE ] .

Update (7/31/2009) –  NEW FEATURES added:

Released 0.51
0.50 – added another button in the Add Command dialog to let you insert special commands, like mute volume, launch mail etc.
0.51 – added beeper (try ++0.5 to beep in half a minute)

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21 Responses to Using your numeric keypad as a launcher…

  1. Sector-Seven says:

    Thank you Rick for this nice post.
    As you mentioned, I am completely open to suggestions – I would like to think of myself as one who adopts the “by the users, for the users” approach.

    Best,
    Danny

    Like

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Sector-Seven,

      This has been my pleasure writing this post and communicating with you during the process. I really love software that does something different. It is good to see someone with full of energy to make things better.

      Thank you,

      Rick

      Like

  2. Ramblinrick says:

    Sector-Seven,

    Been using this application extensively and I have to say it is awesome!

    Keep up the great work!

    Rick

    Like

  3. Sector-Seven says:

    Glad to hear my friend.
    I hope you spent some time in the Help file – there are some hidden abilities that you may like.

    I have a new version coming – added special timer commands.
    Typing ++5 in the code window will beep in 5 minutes
    Typing +0900 will beep at 09:00

    Will probably release later tonight (v0.51)

    Like

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Wow… Will be looking forward to it.

      This is really an useful app when setup properly. I currently have it installed on my PC and the portable version on my flash drive.

      Thanks for sharing this creation with us!

      Rick

      Like

  4. Sector-Seven says:

    Released 0.51
    Two changes since your review
    0.50 – added another button in the Add Command dialog to let you insert special commands, like mute volume, launch mail etc.
    0.51 – added beeper (try ++0.5 to beep in half a minute)

    Hope you like it.

    Like

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Sector-Seven,

      This is great… Like I said, this is a very useful application. I really like the beeper (timer) function you just implemented. Now, when my wife says get done, I can set the beeper (LOL). I will be doing another review on this in the very near future.

      Thank you,

      Rick

      Like

  5. Sector-Seven says:

    Heh…
    For me its time-to-get-pizza-out-of-the-oven timer…
    By the way, another small app thats been getting quite a lot of traffic on my collection is Gridy (snap windows to grid + move windows with keyboard + always on topper) – dont know if you gave it a try or not.

    Like

    • Ramblinrick says:

      Sector-Seven,

      I will definitely take a look at Gridy and do a review on it as well… I have not tried it yet; BUT, if it is as good as ControlPad, I will have another great “useful” software app to add to my collection.

      Rick

      Like

  6. Sector-Seven says:

    It is much simpler than ControlPad, but me and my friends have reached a point where it is very hard for us to work on a computer that does not have both installed.

    Like

  7. Chris says:

    There don’t seem to be a way to suggest features on the Sector-Seven website. Do we do it here?

    1. Please add a feedback form on the website. Or even better: a forum.

    2. I use the numeric keypad’s cursor keys a lot. Unfortunately ControlPad is disabling all cursor keys on that pad the moment it runs. And that is BEFORE one press and hold the * key to run programs. Please do not disable the cursor keys. Programs that makes Windows useful, like Total Commander, becomes unusable.

    Thanks.

    Like

  8. Sector-Seven says:

    Rick, thanks for having my back 🙂

    Chris,

    There is a contact form, there is a chat, there is an email address in the help file – there is no forum.

    As for your arrow keys, you may want to try this:
    1. Right click ControlPad’s tray icon, and disable SpeedPad – this is the feature that hooks the arrow keys and other Numpad keys, when Numlock is off

    2. Whenever you want to use the arrow keys, and not the numbers, you just disable the Scroll Lock, as usual.

    3. ControlPad was designed with the idea that the numeric keypad is NOT used by many people. If you use it heavily for other things, perhaps there is not a good match between this launcher and your needs.

    In any case, if the above solutions did not work for you, please contact me and I will see what can be done to make it useful for you, and more people with your needs.

    Like

  9. Ramblinrick says:

    Chris,

    Thank you for providing the contact information… This will be very helpful to the readers; PLUS, will aid you in the further development of such a great software product.

    I use ControlPad everyday; AND, at this point, I would probably be lost without it. Definitely is one of my favorites.

    Rick

    Like

  10. Chris says:

    Dear Rick,

    Thanks for your answers.

    I visited your site again and discovered the Contact button at the bottom of the page. Somehow I missed it. My bad.

    ControlPad is not a bad experience at all. I love it, and I think I’ll be able to use it if the cursor keys can be available while the ControlPad input field is not active.

    Suggestion: Instead of hooking the cursor keys the moment ControlPad starts, how about only changing the cursor keys to numeric after pressing * (i.e. when ControlPad’s input field is active) or if the NumLock is on?

    Like

  11. Sector-Seven says:

    Did you try the solution I have mentioned above?

    1. The number keys (numlock on) are hooked only when you have the code window open

    2. The arrow keys (numlock off) are only hooked if you have SpeedPad enabled.

    Do this test:
    1. Make sure SpeedPad is disabled (system tray menu)
    2. Disable Numlock
    3. Go to your browser or any window with a scrollbar and use the numpad arrows – they should work as usual.

    If you need further assistance, please contact me by email.

    Like

  12. Chris says:

    Sorry, just got back to my PC right now.

    I did as you suggested, and it works like a dream. Just the way I wanted it.

    Thanks!

    Chris

    Like

  13. Sector-Seven says:

    Chris,

    Glad to hear.

    Danny

    Like

  14. pochp says:

    Wow Rick,
    This app seems like a game. Fun.

    Like

  15. […] application called ControlPad. If you are a follower of the blog you may remember the article “Using your numeric keypad as a launcher…” that introduced ControlPad and its’ […]

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