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Ivan's picture

Save on typing with TextExpander

TextExpander animationIf you have to type the same pieces of text over and over every day, it is worth taking a look at an application that accelerates your typing by expanding short abbreviations to full text. Dreamweaver can do it on code and Textmate is a text-editor that have such functionality. But, if you want a system wide solution that is extremely easy to set-up try out TextExpander.

It's a system preference and it is really easy to setup. You just need to create pairs of abbreviations and full text entries. Once TextExpander is enabled every time you type the abbreviation it automatically expands it to full text.

TextExpander animationBy default the cursor will be placed after the expanded text so you can keep typing, but if you have a piece of code and you need to type within the open and close tags, you can even set where you want the cursor to be positioned. You simply need to add the characters %| in the place you want the cursor to appear.

Other shortcuts include automatic date and time inclusion in any format you require. These are already setup in the application by default. You can even include an image in case you want to create an email signature with a scanned image of your real sig.

Some uses I found very practical:

  • HTML and CSS code, especially for links and images.
  • Email signatures
  • My postal address
  • Default email replies
  • Long terms and phrases

If you have many abbreviations setup, you may forget or confuse them over time. Try to use the first three letters of the long text as the abbreviation, therefore you will not need to memorize the abbreviations and typing them will come naturally. You will hear a satisfying voice feedback when an abbreviation is expanded, so you will immediately know that you can continue typing the next word on your mind.

While you need to setup all the abbreviations in the System Preferences panel TextExpander has a menubar icon that shows you all the available items. You can even select them as a menu item to type up the selected item.

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gcoghill's picture
22 pencils

This is a great piece of software, even if you only use a few snippets to expand. I also use it to expand email addresses.

And you forgot to mention the cool "insert Clipboard content" feature. Handy stuff.

Other cool uses:

- HTML links to your website (as you mentioned) and also UBB links to the same for forum posts.

- You can import & share snippet files with other users, and they offer downloadable snippet files for HTML codes & AutoCorrect for spelling:

http://www.smileonmymac.com/textexpander/autocorrect.html

Good stuff.

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