Transfz

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Transfz (pronounced transfuse) is a little memory resident app that is called with a hotkey combination from within any other application. It can perform 3 distinct functions (a) it can search any user-defined search engine/website for any selected text or text in the clipboard (b) it is a clipboard manager that gives you access to your last 10 to 30 used clips (depending on your settings), and (c) it performs a number of handy text editing functions, including counting number of words or characters in a selected text, lowercase/uppercase conversions, and a search and replace function that can be used globally.

Imagine that you’re working on something, say a Word or PDF document or even within your browser, when you decide to do a search for something you encountered on, say, Wikipedia.

With Transfz this is as easy as selecting the text you would like to search for, pressing CTRL-D, and choosing from the context menu which one of your favorite engines/services to do the search with (see screenshot).

The major attraction of this program is that it gives you access to your favorite search resources anytime anywhere. By this I do not mean Google and Wikipedia, but essentially any site that has a search box. Transfz has a plugiin architecture where you can select from any number of predefined plugins (by default it provides plugins for Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Digg, The Free Dictionary, YouTube, Torrentz, and a couple more). What is really cool is the simplicity by which you can create a search plugin of your own; this is done simply by searching your website of choice for a pre-defined string (’transfz’), and pasting the resulting URL back into the program. That’s it, from now you will have the ability to search that site directly with a single hotkey combination from any program.

The plugin/extension architecture makes this application highly customizable If you aren’t keen on the clipboard management function (or if you have other software that you like that do it for you) you could switch that off as well. You can also switch off and on any (or all) of the text editing functions that Transfz provides, or you could add others from the Transfz website (I found a date insert extension, html link extension, and Stumbleupon micro review extension, although I couldn’t figure out what to do with the latter).

Here are some notes on how this program can be made even better:

  • Ability to search for something that is not selected nor in the clipboard. I find that often I am just staring at the desktop and thinking about what I have to do next, in which case I would like to be able to use Transfz to instantly start a search. It would be great if there were an option in the settings that would result in a little popup search box if you do not have anything selected.
  • The search/replace function for text is rudimentary to say the least. It forces you to have your text selected and doesn’t provide the typical minimal text search options (e.g. match whole word, match case). Worst of all, when you do use it successfully on selected text, it seems to remove all formatting. (On that note, a ’remove formatting’ extension would be a good idea for this program).

The verdict: I love this program; I like the customizability and the fact that it enables me to search any web service that I want from anywhere. It is still in beta and I am certain that future versions will meake it even better.

Version tested: 1.04 beta

Compatibility: Windows NT/2000, XP, VISTA.

Go to the download page to get the latest version (approx 1.44 megs). Also visit the program home page.