I love getting a lot done with a little effort. This strategy relies heavily on automation and these days, its becoming more and more commonplace. So much so that we can now automate our home lights, thermostats, and even our door locks. But what about automating your writing? Would it be possible to automatically generate the common phrases, sentences, emails, and other messages you write over and over again each week? It is absolutely possible with TextExpander by Smile Software.
TextExpander for Mac is an essential app for anyone who finds themselves typing the same things over and over again. For example, you might repeatedly send directions on how to get to your house. As another example, every month I send out schedules to a group of people with the same message. If you’re learning a new language you can use TextExpander to replace a few English words with the foreign phrase. I’m learning Chinese, so I like to do this for phrases I use over and over again when contacting Chinese friends.
Once inside TextExpander (or from the convenient menu bar icon), you’ll begin by creating snippets. This refers to the text you want the app to type for you. And you’ll choose and abbreviation to trigger that snippet. In my workflow the abbreviation “apc” triggers the snippet “AppChasers.com”. That’s a simple example, but TextExpander is much more powerful than that. When creating a snippet, the app allows for macros. That means you can decide that at a certain point within the snippet text, it can prompt you to fill-in a word. You can predefine a pop-up menu with selections to choose from. Or it can automatically paste whatever you last copied. Date/time macros are available too. So, among other options, you can type “ddate” and it will expand to the current date. Lastly, you can have TextExpander run a snippet within a snippet which makes the possibilities nearly limitless.
All your snippets can be grouped and synced via Dropbox across all your devices. Yes, TextExander is also available on iOS devices, although it doesn’t work with Apple’s native Mail or Messages apps at present. But there are a ton of apps that it does work with (please see this list). I use the amazing Drafts app and Fantastical on iOS, and TextExpander is integrated flawlessly. Now you might be wondering how TextExpander differs from the built-in Mac and iOS keyboard shortcuts feature. There is a big difference! While the keyboard shortcuts feature allows for a single line of un-formatted text, TextExpander supports snippets of formatted (style,font,color) multi-line text and even images.
TextExpander is a must-have Mac app for anyone looking to gain more typing efficiency and save time throughout their day. If you already use TextExpander for Mac or iOS in your daily routine, we’d love to hear how in the comments below.