Use TextExpander to Simplify Your Work

Updated 2018-08-08 …

Are you tired of typing the same phrases over and over in your email messages or in documents that you are creating?

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Sincerely yours, [your name]
  • Links to a website
  • Common phrases that you use often
  • Standard paragraphs
  • and more …

Do you often make common spelling mistakes like “acheive” rather than “achieve” or “accomodate” rather than “accommodate?”

If so, then you might be interested in a program called TextExpander from Smile Software.

TextExpander is an application which enables you to type strings of words or sentences with just a few letters and a keystroke. What it does is create snippets (shortcuts) for longer pieces of text. It can also automatically correct for common spelling errors. Once you have installed TextExpander it runs quietly in the background giving you access to a library of snippets that can be personalized and used anytime you are writing an email or creating a document.

The program comes with a number of built-in snippet groups and, more importantly, you can create your own snippets. These can be abbreviations for words and phrases, boiler-plate paragraphs, email signatures, or images. TextExpander is also for the  iPad and iPhone from the AppStore 2. If you want to give it a test drive you can download a trial version of the Mac app 3.

Creating a Snippet

  1. You can open the TextExpander editor and create a snippet from scratch.
  2. You can select some text and use a keyboard shortcut to send it to the editor where you can decide on the shortcut code to use.
  3. You can save text to the clipboard and send it to TextExpander as a new snippet.

For instance, if you have an email signature, just save that signature as ‘,es’ and you will only type ‘,es’ instead of ‘ John Doe, jdoe@somewhere.com, (555) 555–5555 ‘ from now on! Your shortcut can be anything you want, but you should use combinations of keys that don’t normally appear. Instead of ‘,es’ you could have used ‘/es’, ‘es,,’ or any other uncommon key combination that is easy to type.

Creating a snippet is easy. With the app running, you can select a piece of text and create a snippet from this selection and save it to the snippet library. If you save your snippet library in a Dropbox folder, it will be available for use on your other computers and on your iPad.

Be creative! Think of forms you fill in multiple times or of text that you write a lot.

Snippet Examples

  • /tx = Thanks for your email.
  • wwbr = With best regards [my signature] (use a scanned image of your sig)
  • /ph = [phone number]
  • /em = my email address
  • /addr = street address
  • ddate = today’s date
  • ttime = current time
  • acheive = achieve (correct common spelling mistakes)
  • /cmd = ⌘
  • ,,heart = ♥

Next Steps

  • Download the trial version of TextExpander.
  • View the tutorials.
  • Create snippets from selected text using this shortcut ( ⌥ ⌘ T).
  • Try creating your own snippets.