With the SynonymLookup App, You Can Quickly Find and Insert Alternatives for Any Word in Any Document or Editing Page
If you write a blog, post on social media, write books or merely send an occasional e-mail, you’ll love this Windows app. It will make people think that you’re smart—or, at the very least, pretentious. Like myself, you may find that you fall victim to using the same boring, redundant words over and over again. Previously, I would search dictionaries and thesauruses whenever I sensed that I was employing too many repetitive terms. I now own a quick, easy solution.
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April 27, 2018 Update: Did your SynonymLookup app stop working? Thesaurus.com changed their page format so I changed the Regular Expression in the latest version. I used the link on the page which needed some adjustments so you may occasionally see some strange characters. Plus, you might also get antonyms, but that shouldn’t cause too much stress. You’ll need to download the current version if you are using a version older than this date.
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I wrote this short AutoHotkey script (which I cleverly call SynonymLookup) because I grew tired of loading thesaurus Web pages, then cutting-and-pasting the substitute words into my writing. I wanted something which would promptly pop-up a menu and insert the replacement synonym with a click of the mouse. I’ve done that!
Once loaded, the SynonymLookup app waits until you highlight a word in any text (left-click and drag the mouse cursor over the target work) on any Windows computer and activate the Hotkey combination CTRL+ALT+L. A menu of possible replacements appears in menu form (as shown above for the word pretentious and below for the word substitute). Click on one of the options and the app inserts it in place of the original highlighted target. (Hit ESCAPE or click off the menu to cancel.)
To load the corresponding Web page from Thesaurus.com, click the bold heading at the beginning of the menu. This allows deeper exploration on the Web page.
If Thesaurus.com does not find the keyword, the app adds “No thesaurus results!” to the menu.
It’s that simple.
You can download the app free at the ComputorEdge Free Apps and Scripts page.
How SynonymLookup Works
The SynonymLookup app works by cutting out the middleman—the Web browser. Rather than opening the Thesaurus.com page in your default Web browser, it directly downloads only the code from the Web page. That means the app doesn’t attempt to process any of the code nor render the Web page. This saves a ton of time—plus, no ads!
After capturing the basic Web page code, SynonymLookup extracts the matching replacement terms nested in the data—placing each new term into a pop-up menu. At this point, you only need to pick one. Bam! SynonymLookup displaces the original highlighted word with your preference.
Note: Occasionally, you’ll get a menu displaying only the bold heading. That usually occurs when the page fails to download. Usually, hitting ESCAPE and reissuing the CTRL+ALT+L combination brings up the complete menu—unless you have no Internet access.
April 17, 2018 Update: I put in features which check for the Internet connection and keeping trying until downloading the data. You should not need to rerun the Hotkey combination with this version.
If you want to see the inner workings and hidden mechanisms in SynonymLookup, check out my blog “Build Your Own Dream Thesaurus Word Replacement Tool (AutoHotkey Web Application).”
Use It as a Dictionary
If you come across a fifty-cent word on a Web page or in an e-book (this app works in any Windows program), you can use SynonymLookup as a quick dictionary. For example, suppose that in your wandering in cyberspace, you come across the chance adjective lugubrious. Merely highlight the qualifier and simultaneously press CTRL+ALT+L. This pops up the menu shown on the right. The list of possibilities gives you an excellent quick peek at possible definitions.
Although I wrote SynonymLookup in AutoHotkey, you don’t need to know or use the free Windows utility language to take advantage of SynonymLookup. The ZIP file located at the Free ComputorEdge AutoHotkey Apps and Scripts page includes an EXE file which runs directly on any Windows computer without requiring the AutoHotkey installation. (You will need to give permission for the EXE file to run. I can verify that it’s safe but that forces you to trust me. Or, to be safe you can install AutoHotkey and compile the script SynonymLookup.ahk yourself.)
If you decide that you would like to feed your brain and learn more about what AutoHotkey can do for your Windows computer, see this “Introduction to AutoHotkey: A Review and Guide for Beginners.“ See also, Jack’s New Beginner’s Guide to AutoHotkey
This post was proofread by Grammarly
(Any other mistakes are all mine.)
(Full disclosure: If you sign up for a free Grammarly account, I get 20¢. I use the spelling/grammar checking service all the time, but, then again, I write a lot more than most people. I recommend Grammarly because it works and it’s free.)