NOTE: Please see comments 10 and 11 for an explanation of how Turbo Type orders and learns suggestions. It may not be what you’re used to. SEE ALSO: How to edit the TurboType dictionary.
I think I have a new favorite program. I was looking for an alternative to Typing Assistant because the USB version is conflicting badly with some network setting or other. I could contact IT, but the point of a portable program is to avoid that. So, I went looking for something a little more compatible and found TurboType, which borders on a true word prediction program, not just a completion program. At any rate, it has shades of one, and for $20. (I recommend the paid version for work as well as home use because it learns word frequency and enables new words, starts at bootup if you choose, and has no session timer; you don’t need to restart after 2 hours.) You can install to a flash drive, though it will want to create a start menu folder anyway.
The dictionary is composed of core words (and phrases!) only, with a maximum of three choices per guess. Since the dictionary is so small, there is a greater chance the right word will be on it. If it isn’t, you can keep typing until it shows up, then accept automatically or choose with arrows or numbers. When the word you want is highlighted, you can press Space, Enter or Tab (you can select all of those options at one time, enabling completion from any area of the keyboard) and the program will insert it instantly, along with a space if you choose. The suggestion window is transparent and even the Normal font setting is large by default, which is WONDERFUL. I didn’t like peering at the Typing Assistant list all the time; even its large font is kind of small.
So, for example, I type “so” (the prediction requires at least 2 letters) and am offered “so,” “some,” and “something.” All very likely candidates, and no extraneous suggestions. On my keyboard it is easiest to accept the first choice with Space. If none of the choices work, press Escape.
You can add words or phrases either individually or in bulk. To add a single entry, click the taskbar icon (there is unfortunately no keyboard shortcut yet, so either use Mouse Keys or Windows Key — Escape — Tab — Tab to get the tray focus, then press the arrows until the icon is focused and press Enter. On the menu, choose Add New Word and follow the prompt. To add a list, enter it in Notepad or a similar text editor and copy it. Then go to where you installed the program and open Custom Words. Paste the list and put commas after the words, immediately followed by a “frequency of use” number from 1 to 3 — rarely, sometimes and often respectively. Choose carefully because this will affect how your suggestions are ordered.
If you don’t want TurboType to suggest words in certain programs, there IS a filter — the PC World reviewer was mistaken. Choose Customize from the menu, and a checkbox saying “Do NOT suggest” is right there. Just add the process you want it to ignore, e.g. _firefox.exe. Simple.
You can create abbreviations, but you need to press Control Space to expand them. Therefore, I would save abbreviations for sentences or very specific information, instead of for shortening single words — the prediction works so well that you don’t need to do that.
In sum, this program has promise — so much, in fact, that it could rival big names like Soothsayer and Penfriend, which are more expensive but, ironically, much slower and potentially more bloated. Please support the developer so that Turbo Type can keep improving — $20 beats $100+.