TextOn9: Type on your Computer like you’re Texting from your Phone

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Have you ever said to yourself: “Man, I hate having to type on a keyboard! If only I could use my phone to type, I’d be so much faster and none of my other fingers would have to get tired when I have my muscular, toned thumbs that can do so much more than just hit the space bar!” No? Neither have I.

But this function can be very helpful if controlling a computer remotely through a remote control or a bluetooth enabled cellphone, and here’s a program that will allow you to do just that: TextOn9.

[Editor’s note: this review was written by Freewaregenius contributor Jason H. Check out his tech blog: 404techsupport.com].

TextOn9 adds an on-screen keyboard that stays on top of other windows with some opacity. You enter characters just as how the T9 system on mobile phones works. To get the letter ’J’, you press the number 5 once. To get the letter ’R’, you type the number 7 three times. The layout and input system is the only overlap between this program and true T9 technology as this application does not have any word prediction capabilities.

For keyboard input, it’s pretty straight forward. You can use any number key for input and the numpad works out fairly well despite being upside down. Any button on-screen can be clicked, which might make this good for touchscreen applications as well. When using a keyboard, the Caps button maps to the capslock button for controlling letter case. The Send button is the same as pressing Enter on the keyboard. You can also use Backspace to go back or zero (0) to remove the last character input. For other devices than a physical keyboard (like a mobile phone or remote control), the Caps and Send buttons can be mapped to other buttons like * and #.

ou can input a wide variety of characters by accessing the Symbol menu. In order to view this menu, press the number 1 four times. This will change the screen to what you see below. You can then use the numbers that now correspond to arrow keys to move a highlighting box around the top part of the window to the symbol you want and then press the number 5 to select it and return to the usual input window. For more common symbols, like Space, Period, and Comma, you can just use the number 1 as displayed on-screen. Unfortunately, the Symbol menu is how you input numbers as well. I guess the thinking is that you would just be able to enter numbers directly and not require TextOn9 for that part. Sym

You can choose to hide the numpad if you know the system well to reduce its footprint. While, overall, it seems silly to want to use a T9 phone on a computer that already has a full keyboard, TextOn9 could have some practical applications when you move away from the traditional desktop. Remote control could certainly become easier from some devices with this application available. To be honest, this is also one of the better on-screen keyboards that I’ve seen as well.

Wishlist:

  • Select symbols in the Symbol Menu with a mouse click.
  • Ability to flip the on-screen keyboard so that it lines up with the numpad.
  • Control opacity.
  • Word prediction like true T9 technologies.
  • Replace the ever-present taskbar entry with a system tray icon.

TextOn9 weighs in for me as a 20 – 35MB process after a tiny download file and quick installation.

Version Tested: 1.0

Requirements: .NET 3.5 Framework

Compatibility: All Windows

For further instruction on using TextOn9 view the help page. You can download the full, free application from the Zebware website (272K).