Monday 8 April 2013

Save time online with Roboform

If you are a comper, you probably fill in a LOT of online forms. Typing in your information every time can really eat into your precious comping time. And on top of that there are all those passwords to remember! Even if you don't enter competitions, the number of passwords you need to remember these days can get totally bewildering - and it really isn't safe to use the same one for everything, or  once a hacker has got into one account they can get into all of them.

One of the best time savers I have come across is RoboForm. It is a programme that you download that will remember whatever details you tell it to and fill in your forms with a single click. I started comping online in 1999 and downloaded the free trial version almost immediately. And I've been a loyal user of the programme ever since. I wouldn't like to add up all the hours it has saved me - in fact when anybody asks me how I manage to enter as many competitions as I do, my reply is often "It's all thanks to RoboForm!"

But it's not just about saving time, it's also about accuracy. Are you always absolutely correct that you have typed your details into that form correctly? I've occasionally been unable to contact winners of competitions that I've run because their email addresses didn't work - one tiny little typo can destroy your chance of a win. After all, a postman can usually read and understand your address even if there's a speeling mistook in it, whereas a computer will blindly try to do what it's told and then give up when it doesn't work. But if you fill in the form with RoboForm, you won't make any silly little mistakes and your details will go through clearly.

And if you live in fear of having your computer infected by a keystroke logger, that can report back to the hacker who sent it everything you type, like bank account log ins and credit card details - well, they aren't going to be able to report anything if you filled the form in with RoboForm!

After using the free trial version of RoboForm for a little while, I decided about 10 years ago to upgrade to the full, paid-for version. This has lots of advantages, the main ones for a comper being
  • you can set up several different identities - as many as you like - so the whole family can use it
  • you can set up an unlimited number of "passcards" for the sites you visit so that your log ins for all the different ones are remembered
  • if there is a regular competition, for instance one you enter every day with the same code or answer, you can save the form as a passcard and fill everything in with just one click
  • if you are working on a quiz, you can save the answers as a passcard, overwriting the old one every time you find another answer, so you don't need to fill them in fresh every time you come back to work on it or scribble them down on one of those pieces of paper piled up on top of the printer (Don't try looking innocent, I KNOW you have junk piled up on top of the printer. Everybody does)
My paid version of RoboForm was some years old and I kept meaning to upgrade to the newest version, but you know how it is..... as well as finding the time to do it, there's a lot of comfort in the familiar and I've been using the same version for a long time now.

However last week RoboForm offered me a year's subscription to RoboForm Everywhere in exchange for writing a review of it and WOW! I am very impressed! On top of all the great features I've already described, I now have RoboForm on both the web browsers I use and on my iPad. I tend not to use my phone for web browsing but if I did, I could have it there too, and if I need to use somebody else's computer I can transfer all my log ins to a USB stick and use them there too.

I can use a RoboForm home page to take me to my most frequently used sites, I can set it to automatically open and log in to a fixed group of pages (I'll no doubt be setting this up to open Facebook, Twitter, my Blogger page and my Grape Vine email account  - all the first pages I visit each morning) and I can create a list of bookmarks so that pages I've bookmarked on the PC will be there for me on the iPad too.  RoboForm has always saved me a lot of time - now it's going to save me more than ever.

One thing hasn't changed though - as with any technology, it's a good idea not to depend on it without checking for yourself. Just as a satnav can occasionally try to make you drive the wrong way up a one way street, a web form that is slightly inaccurate can make RoboForm put the wrong thing in the wrong space, so always glance through a form before hitting that submit button!

RoboForm Everywhere costs just $19.95 - that's around £13 - a year. If you reckon your time as being worth no more than the National Minimum Wage, that means you would need to save just two hours in a year to make it pay for itself. But I think you'll soon be saving much more than two hours in a WEEK, let alone a year. But the good news is that at the moment you can get your first year for half price. And the best news of all is that later this week I will be launching a competition where FIVE of you can WIN a year's subscription!


  1. I've often heard of Roboform but never ventured near it. I'm going to have a good gander at it later as I think its a good service to a comper.

  2. You can get the full version free for a month before you commit these days, in the 'olden days' you could use a limited version - 30 sites I think - indefinitely but a comper soon exceeds that.

    I use it too, one annoyance is the insistence in putting a 0 prefix in front of your phone number which you have to alter every time you relog.

  3. I often wonder if it works on iPads, Kindles and other mobile devices as this is where I enter most comps from - I will go and have a look to check!

    Another useful article, thanks Jane

  4. thanks i actually pay for mine as i only use it for logins and entering comps with my details, i really need to sit down and check it all out as am sure i am missing out on lots lol


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