12/27/10
11:31 am

MacMost Now 495: Typing Shortcuts with Text Expander

You can use the application Text Expander and other programs like it. You assign shortcuts to longer pieces of text, so that when you type a few characters, those characters are replaced with the longer piece of text. It works in any Mac program. ;

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi. This is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at the typing shortcut program: text expander.
Sp text expander is a program that allows you to type just a few characters and then expands that to mean something else. Let me show you an example.
So here I am in text edit. I'm going to type MNVP and immediately see that's been replaced with the MacMost Now video podcast. So what happened is text expander which is running on my Mac basically listened for those four specific characters typed one after another and then replaced those with a longer piece of text. So if I run text expander I get a list of all of the abbreviations and the texts those replace. So there's a bunch of examples that are preinstalled, but I can select this first one which is one I added, and here is the text I want put in place of this abbreviation right here. And you can see it over here on the left.
I can easily add a new one by clicking on new snippet and then type whatever it is I want here on the right. And then, I can add in an abbreviation right here. And now when I go back to text edit, and I type the abbreviation, it gets replaced with the text. This works with any program at all in the MAC. But you can also specify it to only work in specific programs or to work in every program except for some programs.
You can also do some pretty cool things. You can see in the examples here how some of them have things like an address on several lines there. Other have things like the time or date. For instance, if I type over here Ttime, it replaces it with the current time and Ddate, it replaces it with the current date.
You can specify some more things like that using this menu here at the bottom. There's a whole bunch of things including adding math, adding references to other snippets as well, adding special keys, all sorts of different functionality. You can even have it paste in bits of rich text which can include font information, style information and images. There's a large set of preferences which is exactly how you want text expander to work, different options for it to helping you to correct things like capitalization. It appears as an item in the menu bar here as well. You can see just under me there. You can also have it sync with either drop box or MobileMe so you can buy the family pack and have the same text expander snippets across all of your MACS. There are also a lot of hot keys that you can set and updates and backups that you can set in the preferences as well.
So you can get text expander from Smile on my MAC. There are a lot of other programs that do this as well. Two of them are typinator which you can get here. And another one is typeitforme. You can find out more about that one back in episode number 202.
So each of those have different features and is a different price. So might want to check them all out and see which is best for you. In addition to that, if you take a look at episode 289, there's some very basic text replacement functionality in Mac OS X that you can also use.
So I find text expander is very useful when you're a writer like myself and you've got long names or passages that you always have to retype in your writing. It's also very useful if you're a programmer and you've got long function names or bits of code that you want to be able to type easily.
Now, most of these have free trials, so you might just want to download them and give them a whirl.
Hope you like this look a text expander and programs like it. Till next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.