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Materiality: A Quick Premier

The files, folders, and applications for Materiality and the Materiality Efficiency Framework (MEF) can all be set up relatively quickly. Just follow the steps below:

1. Download the compressed Materiality folder and extract the app to the location of your choosing (in this case, I will be extracting to the Documents folder).

Right Click Menu of Materiality Folder With The "Extract" Option Highlighted.
The Materiality Folder Being Extracted To The "Documents" Directory.

2. To run the materiality desktop app, go into the extracted materiality folder, and click on the “main” executable file. I would also strongly recommended creating a shortcut for the executable, and placing the shortcut both on your home desktop, and your Startup folder. Placing a shortcut in the Startup directory will enable the app to be auto-launched on log-in.

An Image Of The Parent Directory Of The Materiality App. The "main" executable file is highlighted.
An Image Showing How To Find The "Startup" folder from the Windows Taskbar. A shortcut to the main executable inside the "Startup" folder is also shown.

3. If you wish for the app to only launch in the taskbar, go into the Preferences menu of Materiality, and de-select “Show On Startup”.

A Screenshot Of The Materiality "Preferences" menu. Meant to show the user how to select/de-select the "Show on Startup" option.

4. For a more detailed overview of each hotkey, simply mouse-over the text label of that hotkey, and a brief description should pop-up, indicating the purpose of that hotkey/feature.

A screenshot of the "General" menu scope within the Materiality app. The text label description for  hotkey 20 is shown.

5. To utilize the Companion Excel Macro workbook, first navigate to the XLSTART folder. This folder can most easily be found by simply searching for it from your Windows taskbar.

The XLSTART folder as displayed in the Windows Search Taskbar.

6. If the XLSTART folder does not appear when searched from the taskbar, the file path to the folder is typically as follows:

This PC>Windows(C:)>Users>{Your Username}>AppData>Roaming>Microsoft>Excel>XLSTART

Note that in order to see the “AppData” folder in your File Explorer, it may be necessary to go into the “View” setting of the File Explorer, and select for hidden items to be shown. I would also strongly recommend pinning the “XLSTART” directory to your QuickAccess menu—just in case you ever need to find it again in the future.

The "View Menu" of the Windows File Explorer is being utilized to show Hidden Items.

7. Now, simply copy/paste the Companion Personal Macro Workbook into the XLSTART folder.

The Companion Excel Workbook inside the XLSTART folder.

8. Also, in order to make full use of the Companion macros with Materiality, it is necessary to set up your Excel Quick Access Toolbar like so (only the first 7 Excel functionalities starting from the top need to be in this precise order).

A Screenshot of The Excel Quick Access Toolbar With The Appropriate Materiality Settings.

9. One last thing I should mention is that if you intend to utilize Adobe Acrobat Pro with Materiality, Single Key Accelerators must be turned-on in the Preferences menu of Adobe Acrobat.

Screenshot of How The Adobe Acrobat General Preferences Should Be Configured.

10. For the full guide on how to utilize the MEF, I would strongly recommended reading Part I of Breaking The Chains. I go into far greater detail in the book than I do here. Also, see the "MEF_Shortcuts" Excel Workbook that comes pre-packaged with the app. Some modifier keys (such as the "Tab" and "~" keys) have their original functionality re-mapped by Materiality to alternate hotkey combinations: these new combinations are highlighted in orange on the "MEF_Shortcuts" Excel Workbook. For example, the paragraph indent functionality typically associated with pressing the "Tab" key can now be accessed by simply pressing "Tab & Q".


A quick note on handling potential bugs/issues: if certain keys on your keyboard start behaving in an unexpected manner when using Materiality, simply press/hold-down the WinKey on your keyboard. This should fix any glitchy behavior that might be occurring.


If you believe that you can help on improving this project, please, by all means, feel free to check out the Materiality GitHub repo. I am sure you can already tell that I always appreciate the opportunity to collaborate and network with others.

A Partial Screenshot of a standard QWERTY keyboard with the WinKey highlighted.
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