ActiveWords 4 support issues:

Activate/Deactivate Trial and Purchased Licenses


Method One:


  • Install ActiveWords.
  • Open the license file attached to your Trial or Purchase receipt.

  • Click the “Activate” button to enable your ActiveWords installation.


Method Two:


  • Save the License file attached to your Trial or Purchase receipt to your PC.

  • Install ActiveWords then click the “Activate License” button on the startup dialog.

  • Navigate to the saved License file, open it, then click the “Activate” button to enable your ActiveWords installation.


Watch this video to activate a new ActiveWords installation:


Watch this video to deactivate an existing ActiveWords installation:


The first time you purchase an Annual License you will activate it using one of the methods above. The license dialog changes when activating a Trial License with a purchased Annual License.



Renewing Annual Licenses


All installations previously activated with a given purchased Annual License are automatically extended for an additional year when a purchase is completed by clicking the “Renew” button on the License dialog of any installation previously activated with that Annual License. Annual Licenses purchased directly from will need to be manually activated.


Save your Trial or Annual License file to activate additional installations during the license period.


You can deactivate a license to move it to another Windows User on any PC.


Activate/Deactivate Enterprise Annual Licenses


In addition to manually activating individual licenses as detailed above, Enterprise IT administrators can send links to users or execute links via network scripts to activate and deactivate existing ActiveWords installations for individual users. Open the license file using a text editor and use the license key and the product ID.


Link Syntax: activewords:license?action=activate&silent=[yes or no]&key=[license key]&item=[product ID]


Here is an example:




This link can also call a license file (for example at a network location) using this syntax:


activewords:license?action=activate&silent=yes&file=[path to license file]


Note that these links may also be used to deactivate a license for a given Windows User by replacing “action=activate” with “action=deactivate.”


Renewals: See “Renewing Annual License” above.

To use ActiveWords with a Remote Access solution such as Remote Desktop Connection, ActiveWords needs to be installed on the Remote PC.


Network administrators can install ActiveWords on a Windows Server and ActiveWords user data files will be automatically created the first time ActiveWords is started by each logged in Windows User.


Users can Sync or Import their ActiveWords data with their ActiveWords user installation on the Remote PC if needed.


Note that a Local installation of ActiveWords cannot deliver reliable performance within a Remote Access window. This is why several common Remote Access programs as listed by default in the Auto Disable tab of the Options dialog. If your Remote Access program is not included on this list you should add it.



For each listed program in Auto Disable, the Local instance of ActiveWords will automatically stop monitoring text when a Remote Session Window is active, and the Remote ActiveWords installation will monitor and respond to text sent across the network from the Local PC.


If the installer fails to complete or shows an error, please submit a support ticket with information about the error message and attach the installer log files.


The installer log files can be found here: “C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Temp.” They will be named like this: “ActiveWords_4_###….###.log” with “###….###” being a date.


To access the AppData folder:


Windows 10: Open Windows Settings and search​ for “File Explorer Options,” click the “View” tab, check the radio button next to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives,” then click “OK”​.


Windows 7: Open the “Folder Options” Control Panel, click the “View” tab, check the radio button next to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives,” then click “OK”.​

On first run, ActiveWords will be set to run at Windows startup by default.


IT Administrators can change this default first run behavior for each user on a server, preventing ActiveWords from starting with Windows. Immediately after installing ActiveWords on a server and before launching ActiveWords, run “[drive]:\Program Files (x86)\ActiveWords 4\New User Auto Start Disable.cmd.” This will prevent “Run ActiveWords at Windows Logon” in the Preferences tab of the Options dialog from being set when ActiveWords is run the first time for a given user.


IT Administrators can also turn this setting on or off for a given user by adding or removing this Registry entry: “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\ActiveWords.” Network scripts may be used to automate this registry change for sets of users.


If “New User Auto Start Disable.cmd” has been run on the server, individual users can still set ActiveWords to run with Windows by manually checking “Run ActiveWords at Windows Logon” in the “Preferences” tab of the “Options” dialog.


Note that “New User Auto Start Disable.cmd” can be reversed by running “New User Auto Start Enable.cmd.”


Set up ActiveWords Sync with CITRIX ShareFile


Log into your ShareFile account and add the empty folder “ActiveWords Sync” to “My Files & Folders.”



Then follow these instructions on each computer where you want to sync your ActiveWords:


  1. Install ShareFile Sync for Windows (you must first set up a ShareFile account).
  2. Follow the standard ActiveWords Sync instructions.
  3. Select “Other” on the ActiveWords Sync options dialog.
  4. Browse to and select this folder (default location): “C:\Users\[username]\ShareFile\My Files & Folders)” –


  6. Click “Apply.”


Note that ShareFile is an enterprise solution and, as such, your file and folders permissions may be managed by your IT staff. If ActiveWords Sync set-up fails please consult your IT staff before contacting ActiveWord Systems, Inc



OneDrive for Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 requires you to specify folders whose content should be kept locally (off-line). ActiveWords Sync folder contents must be kept locally.


INSTRUCTIONS FOR WINDOWS 10 USERS. (Windows 8.1 users click here)


Windows 10 users should follow these instructions immediately after defining OneDrive as the AWSync cloud service to make the content of the ActiveWords Sync folder available off-line.


Right click on the OneDrive System Tray Icon and select “Settings.”



Click the “Choose Folders” button.


Check the box next to “ActiveWords Sync” and then click “OK.”





Windows 8.1 users should follow these instructions after defining OneDrive as the AWSync cloud service to make the content of the ActiveWords Sync folder available off-line.


Open the OneDrive folder.



Right click on the ActiveWords Sync folder and select “Make available off-line.”


ActiveWords can automatically create a backup of your data and store it here: “C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\ActiveWords 4\Backups.” This feature is turned on by default. To changed the frequency of automatic backups or turn them off, see the related control on the “Preferences” tab of the “Options” dialog.

The AppData folder is a special Windows folder that is not accessible without changing the default Windows Folder Options view preferences. The contents of this folder are automatically included in the default backup process used by most backup programs, including Windows 10 Backup. To set up Windows 10 backup go to: Settings>Update and Security>Backup. If you regularly backup your data, the AppData folder is likely be included and thus your ActiveWords data will be part of the larger backup.

You can manually create a backup of your ActiveWords data file as follows:

  • Right click on the ActiveWords Floating icon or System Tray icon and select “Options.”

  • Select the “Preferences” tab.

  • Check the box next to “Show advanced tools and options.”

  • Close the “Options” dialog.

  • Right click on the ActiveWords Floating icon or System Tray icon and select “Advanced>Backup.”

  • A Browse dialog will appear to select the location where you want the backup stored. Select the desired folder location and click “Save.”

Purchase license(s) from the “Buy” / “Renew” button on the “License” dialog available by right clicking the ActiveWords Icon. The button will say “Buy” if you are running a Trial and will say “Renew” if you are running with an annual license.




You will activate the first Annual License you purchase.


Purchasing a subsequent Annual License using the “Renew” button on the “License” dialog will automatically extend the expiration of all currently activated ActiveWords installations as soon as a purchase is completed. You will not have to manually re-activate existing licenses.


You can “Renew” at any time. If you renew within the current license period your license will be extended to one year from the expiration of the current license period. If you renew after your prior license has expired your new license will be for one year from the date of purchase.

ActiveWords, by default, uses the Windows Clipboard to paste Substitute Text Actions of 40 characters or greater to speed delivery of larger Substitutions. Substitute Content Actions are always delivered through the Windows Clipboard regardless of size.

Controls to help manage the Windows Clipboard are included in Advanced Options. To use these controls, check “Show advanced tools and options” on the “Preferences” tab of the Options dialog. Next, click on the “Advanced” tab that appears in the Options dialog.”

ActiveWords includes an Advanced Option to set the “Minimum length to paste substitutions.” Substitute Text Actions less than the number of characters set in this control will be delivered by simulating keystrokes and avoid using the Windows Clipboard. Simulating keystrokes can be slow. Using the Windows Clipboard for substitutions replaces clipboard contents when a Substitute Action is triggered.

ActiveWords includes an Advanced Option to “Restore Clipboard after Substitutions.” This control restores the clipboard contents that existed immediately prior to triggering a Substitute Action. With this turned on, however, unavoidable timing issue may occasionally result in prior clipboard contents being substituted instead of the intended Substitute Action. Uncheck this control if you want to avoid the chance prior clipboard contents might be delivered when you trigger a Substitution Action.

We welcome your input! Contact us with your suggestions and if you have questions not addressed on the Support and Learn pages.


If you have a technical issue please complete the contact form and be sure to describe your issue in detail so we can reproduce it, attach your most recent log file, and detail your version of Windows .


Your most recent log file can be found in the ActiveWords user data folder: “C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\ActiveWords 4\Logs\.”


To access the Logs folder:


  1. Copy this path: %appdata%\ActiveWords 4\Logs
  2. Press “Win-r”
  3. Press “Ctrl-v” then “Enter”
  4. Drag the most recent “ActiveWords.log” file to the support ticket.



Custom Triggers allows you to expand the number of Triggers beyond Double Space, Any Delimiter, and None. A useful example of this functionality can be found in the free “currency” Addin.


See the Custom Triggers video:


To manage custom triggers, open the “Preferences” tab of the “Options” dialog and check “Show advanced tools and options.” This will enable the “Triggers” tab in “Options.” Once defined, custom triggers will appear in the “Trigger” drop down menu when you add and edit a Word.


You can define some “regular expressions” and individual keys as triggers. You can define more than one unique character as a trigger. For example, the Trigger “zx” will make both “z” and “x” a trigger, but not “zx”.


Check the “Include” box if you want to include the trigger in the result of a Substitution Action. All other Action types will always exclude the trigger.


The trigger “\d” will make any numeric key a trigger in any language. Try the “currency.awdb” Addin to see how it works.


To make backslash a trigger, use a double backslash as in “\\”.


To delete a custom Trigger, first remove the Trigger from all associated Words.


Experiment with different Triggers and uses. Let us know what you think. Should we implement this as a public release for all users?



To register your free 60 day ActiveWords 4 Trial click the “Try” buttton at the top of this page.


If you already have an ActiveWords 4 Trial or Purchased License and need the ActiveWords 4 installer click here.


The “Import” feature in the ActiveWords Icon right click menu is used to import data from (1) an ActiveWords 4 database or backup file (*.awdb or *.awbk), (2) an ActiveWords 3 database (*.awb), or (3) a properly configured Comma Separated Value file (*.csv).


The “Restore” feature in the “Advanced” tab of the Options dialog is intended only for restoring a corrupt database for the same user and PC where it was created. Never use “Restore” with an ActiveWords backup file (*.awbk) from a different user and/or PC as doing so will over write license information and create an invalid license.

ActiveWords 4 will automatically import your version 3 data the first time it is run when an ActiveWords 3 installation exits for the same Windows User on the same PC. You can also manually import your version 3 data as follows:


  • Right click on the ActiveWords Icon and select “Import.”

  • Click the pull-down menu next to the “File” field and select “ActiveWords 3 (*.awb).”

  • Navigate to the ActiveWords 3 data folder: “C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\ActiveWords.”

  • Select “MyProfile.awb” and click “OK.”


To access the ActiveWords user data folder:


Windows 10: Open Windows Settings and search for “File Explorer Options,” click the “View” tab, check the radio button next to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives,” then click “OK”.


Windows 7: Open the “Folder Options” Control Panel, click the “View” tab, check the radio button next to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives,” then click “OK”.


If you are using a wireless keyboard you may notice less reliable keyboard entry. Wireless keyboards may compete with other processes for CPU cycle time as they are constantly polling the USB port for data.


If you notice your keyboard is missing or duplicating characters try exiting programs to free up CPU cycles. For the most reliable keyboard entry use a wired keyboard.

Known Software Conflicts


  • Classic Shell ( and Classic Start 8 ( conflict with ActiveWord substitutions.

  • Webroot security software may block ActiveWords keyboard monitoring in Internet browsers, especially if you use a Webroot browser Addin/Extension. Check support for your Webroot product for instructions to set a program exception. Set this file to “Allow:” C:\Program Files (x86)\ActiveWords 4\ActiveWords.exe”.

  • MacroExpress may interfere with ActiveWords keyboard monitoring and may cause the simulated depression of the Shift key.

  • Programs that monitor the keyboard and/or mouse may interfere with ActiveWords keyboard monitoring.

  • A temporary delay in keyboard and mouse responsive may be seen on ActiveWords startup if you have SnagIt running. If you experience this problem please contact support.


Known Limitations


  • Images within Substitute Content Actions may not appear in the triggered result depending on the image formats an application accepts. Wordpad running on Windows 7 is one such application. If your application supports formatted content and is not accepting images included in Substitute Content Actions, please contact support to let us know.


If you have not already installed ActiveWords 4 click the “Try” button on this page to register a trial. Download and license activation instructions are provided by email. Check here for what’s new in version 4.


ActiveWords Version 3 and 4 co-exist as separate installations but cannot be run at the same time. Be sure to set ActiveWords 3 to NOT start with Windows (see the “Services” tab of the ActiveWords 3 Options dialog). Once you decide to use Version 4 exclusively, you can uninstall Version 3.


ActiveWords 3 Personal License customers can request a FREE ActiveWords 4 license that will work on up to four installations for the duration of their then current annual license. ActiveWords 3 Enterprise License customers can request a FREE ActiveWords 4 license for the number of seats and for the duration of their current Version 3 annual license.


The first time ActiveWords 4 is run any ActiveWords 3 data is automatically imported. Version 3 “Group” ActiveWords will be converted to Version 4 Tags, associating the matching Actions.


Import may take several minutes and you should not exit ActiveWords 4 until the import and icon update processes complete. Click on the ActiveWords Icon to open the list view and you should see “Importing…” in the lower left corner, followed by “Refreshing icons.” Windows 10 users will receive a notification when the import is complete. You can also manually import ActiveWords 3 data files.


After importing ActiveWords 3 data, ActiveWords 4 will look for and associate icons with File, Folder, Program, and URL Actions. The process of looking up icons may take several minutes after initial import of ActiveWords 3 data.


Most ActiveWords 3 Actions that use the command will be imported and converted to ActiveWords 4 format. Other scripted ActiveWords 3 Actions are not imported as ActiveWords 4 required development of a new scripting language.


You will need to edit the Description field of RTF and HTML substitutions imported from ActiveWords 3 to get them to substitute RTF and HTML instead of plain text. The edit can be as simple as just adding a space to the Description field. (Long story, but we can’t do anything about this. New RTF and HTML substitutions should work fine.)


To upgrade an ActiveWords Version 1 or Version 2 data file to Version 4 you need to upgrade progressively to Version 3. That is, if you are still running ActiveWords Version 1.x, upgrade to Version 2, then to Version 3. When you then install ActiveWords 4 the version 3 data should automatically upgrade, or you can then Import your Version 3 “MyProfile.awb” into ActiveWords 4.

You can move ActiveWords windows between monitors (List View, Add/Edit, Options, etc). When any window is moved to another monitor all windows will appear in that monitor, while the ActiveWords Icon and Text Monitor are bounded within the primary monitor as defined in Windows Settings.


This allows you to display the List View in one monitor for quick reference while working in another monitor.

It is highly unlikely your ActiveWords data will become unusable but abrupt power interruptions and system crashes may result in database problems.


If you need to recover your data file please follow these instructions.


  • Turn on “Advanced Options” by checking the box next to “Show advanced tools and options” in the Preferences tab of the Options dialog.

  • Right click on the ActiveWords Icon and select “Advanced>Restore.”

  • The file browser will appear set to the ActiveWords data backup folder.

  • Select the most recent data backup file and press “Enter.”

  • Click “OK” on the “Restore ActiveWords Backup” dialog.


If you believe ActiveWords Sync is not properly synchronizing, first make sure all installations have the same build number (check “About” on the Icon right click menu).


If you still have issues, set Sync to “None” in the “Sync” tab of ActiveWord Options for EACH installation. Then set Sync back to the desired cloud service for EACH installation, one at a time.


This will re-establish the database file in the “ActiveWords Sync” folder on each PC.


ActiveWords 4 is designed for use with Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 10 with all Windows Updates.


ActiveWords 4 is not supported on Windows 8.1.


ActiveWords is not compatible with Windows RT or Windows Phone operating systems.

ActiveWords work everywhere, even at the Windows Desktop and in other contexts where there is no active text cursor.

Windows and some programs don’t expect this and play a default sound when you try to type where there is no cursor input.


To turn this sound off (it can be really annoying!):


  • On Windows 10 search Settings for “Change System Sounds.” On Windows 7 open the Sound Control Panel.

  • Scroll to and select “Default Beep” in the Program Events section.

  • Click the “Sounds:” pull down arrow, scroll to the top, and select “(None).”

  • Click “OK.”


ActiveWords users wishing to continue to use version 3 can renew their annual licenses and receive unlocking keys. We will eventually phase out all support for version 3 and encourage all customers to migrate to ActiveWords 4 to receive product support and to assure compatibility with Windows going forward.


Click here to download ActiveWords 3.


Click here to renew ActiveWords 3 Annual Licenses.


Click here to look up your current ActiveWords 3 Annual License Key.


Click here for the ActiveWords 3 Support page.


Please note that we cannot provide support for ActiveWords 3 beyond facilitating continued license renewals for pre-existing customers.

Triggered Words may not be removed in some older software or in Win32 and Universal Apps that do not comply with Microsoft’s UI Automation API requirements.


In some instances we can create exceptions. If you use an application where your Words are not removed when triggered let us know and we will try to address your issue.

ActiveWords is designed to protect your data.


  • ActiveWords does its work by monitoring keystrokes. ActiveWords does NOT log or transmit keystrokes.

  • The ActiveWords database is strongly encrypted.

  • ActiveWords uses an internal buffer in memory to know when you are triggering an Action. This buffer is securely cleared every time you:

    1. Press the Enter key or any other key that causes the text insertion point to change (arrow keys, esc, etc.).

    2. Trigger an Action.

    3. Right click the mouse.

  • The only internet network traffic to/from ActiveWords is to validate the license or to check for a new version of the software. This is all done over secure https.

  • For support purposes you may turn on verbose logging which records each keystroke in a plain text log file. This log is stored only on your device and is only provided to us voluntarily to assist with product support.

  • ActiveWords detects when keyboard input is in a password field, and by default disables text monitoring.

  • ActiveWords sometimes uses the Windows Clipboard. If you have Windows 10 Clipboard History turned on, Actions using the clipboard will not update Windows 10 Clipboard History.


Also, see the ActiveWords Privacy Policy.


If you have any questions or concerns please file a support request.


Please review/search this page and the Learn page for your issue before contacting ActiveWords Support.