3/9/209:00 am 10 Ways To Use Text Replacements On Your Mac Text Replacements are one of the most useful productivity features on your Mac. But even people that use them don't always use them to their fullest potential. Here are 10 examples of things you can do with Text Replacement on your Mac. Check out 10 Ways To Use Text Replacements On Your Mac at YouTube for closed captioning and more options. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you how to use text replacements on your Mac with ten useful examples. MacMost is supported by more than 500 viewers just like you. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. Text replacements are probably one of the most powerful productivity tools on your Mac and every Mac user should be using them as much as possible. So here's how you get to Text Replacements. Go to System Preferences and then Keyboard and then click on Text. Here you'll see a list of Replace and With. On the Replace side you've got what you would type. Then on the With side you have what replaces what you typed. So there are usually some defaults there. For instance if you typed parenthesis c parenthesis gets replaced with the copyright symbol. Let's try that out in TextEdit. Parenthesis c parenthesis. Nothing happens right away but you can see the suggestion made underneath. I can click x here to dismiss that and keep exactly what I've typed. If I hit the spacebar to go to the next word it replaces the text. To create a new text replacement just hit the Plus button here and then type the replaced text and the with text. As my first example let's do something really simple. Let's say your name. My name is 14 characters, 15 with the space. So it could be useful to type that a little more quickly. Now you want to make sure when creating a text replacement that it's not a word that you would normally type. For instance just having my first name and having that replaced with my full name that wouldn't be a good idea. Or using name. That wouldn't be a good idea either because then I would have trouble typing the word name. Instead you could do something simple. My initials work out to be something you wouldn't normally type. Other people might have initials that actually makeup a two letter word. Sometimes it's useful to actually use something with the letter x at the end because there are really no words that end with x. So I could use gx for instance. I'll hit the tab key and say what to replace it with. I'll type the text for that, Gary Rosenzweig. Then I'll hit Return for to accept. Now go over here and look what happens when I type gx and you could see it shows it there. I hit space and it replaces the two characters with my name. With just two letters I can type 15 characters. Another good example would be an email address. Sometimes email addresses are long and you have to type them in various places. You wouldn't want to use email or something like that because then it would be hard to type the word email. I've seen people do two @@ like that. But then you would have to hold the Shift down and maybe it could be a little simpler. You could do something like mx may make a little more sense. You could choose whatever you want. Then you could type the full email address here. That's 19 characters. I'll hit Return. Then when I type that it types my email address. Now I know Safari makes it easy to add an email address to a form. But sometimes you're typing you're email address out in the middle of other text in a message to someone and it could be a lot easier to do it this way. What makes even more sense is a physical address. That will be even longer. So something like px or pox for post office or maybe you have multiple addresses like home and work. So you could do a number. Rarely do people type things that end in numbers like that. So p1 could be your home address. Then you could type it all out here. That's a lot of characters there but now I can get it by just typing p1 and then space. If you needed to include a return in there you can. Obviously if you go to a spot where you want to return and you hit Return is just accepts what you've typed and it doesn't actually add a return to the text. But if you hold the Option key down and hit Return it actually puts a return in there. It's hard to see it here. I can use the arrow keys to move between the lines. But I could only see one line at a time here. But now it does work. So when I hit p1and hit return you can see the Return character is included there. What's sometimes easier to do is type out the text in TextEdit, or some other app like this, Select it, Copy it, and go in here and Paste it in. That way you could see exactly what you're typing and not just one line at a time. Here's some other examples. Sometimes you may have an account number that you need to fill in. Something to do with work and you always need to include a special account number in certain forms or text or letters or things like that. So another thing you could do is have some characters that represent an account number there and then you could have a long series that's difficult to type but now gets typed just with those characters. You also may want to do signatures in it. So something like maybe sig1 or sigwork and have that type out something that you would use to sign something. Like, for instance, maybe I have lots of these for different situations. So I can copy this and paste it into here and now when I type this, sigwork, it adds it in there. Now why would you need that in Mail because the Mail app allows you to choose different signatures. But sometimes you're not actually in Mail. Sometimes you send email by filling out a form on the web or in some other app. So it could be useful to use text replacements for this. Then you could use your signature in Mail, in different web forms, in email on web forms like if you're at the gmail website or something like that and even when creating documents in Pages or Word. Now another use for Text Replacements is to spell correct something that's not in the dictionary. It could be something that you normally mistype. You could add a misspelling of weird and put the correct spelling in there and that way it automatically corrects a mistake that you might make all the time. But most of those are going to be caught by autocorrect and spellcheck anyway. But if it's a first or last name, for instance, then it could help you avoid that in the future. So far all my examples have been pretty short. But you could have very long things in text replacements. So, for instance, you could have an entire sentence or two that you could easily into emails and messages and letters and things like that. For instance if you have to refer people to company customer support you could do that with a few sentences and have a text replacement to type it easily. So here I have a whole sentence that is replaced by just typing support1. Notice that more things besides the spacebar trigger the replacements. For instance I can hit Return and it will type the entire thing. I can also hit period and it will do it. In this case I probably should have left the period off the end of this so that I wouldn't have two periods. Other punctuation works as well like a comma. Now you can also use this for special characters and emoji. So I can add something here and do smilex and have that give me an emoji. I just use Control Command Space here, just like I would anywhere else, and it brings up the emoji and Special Characters Viewer. So I can choose my own special emoji right there and I get that when I type this like that. I need to use the character that represents the Command key on the Mac keyboard a lot. But that's a hard one to find here. I've got it here in Frequently Used but it's called place of interest. So I could add it there and now I just type commandkey, all one word, and then I get the character. It's also good for ASCIImoji. That's when there's a whole set of special characters that kind of represent something visual. Like, for instance, I could do shrugx with an x after it and have this set of characters there. Typing that is really difficult. Nobody types it. You look for it and copy and paste it. But now I can get it by just typing shrugx. Finally, you could use this for really really long things like entire form letters that you send back to people. So for instance I have support1 just give me a sentence. But I can create say support2 and that could be an entire paragraph. The best way to do that is to type it out here in TextEdit. I can select it all, Copy it, and then Paste it all in here. Now when I type support2 and hit Return the entire thing is inserted. I can use that in a web form, in an email response, in a text message, all sorts of different ways. You can even, if you like, add some blanks in here that you could this inserted as a text replacement. Then go back up and easily select words or a bunch of underscores that you've added and replace it with some different text or include lots of information and then go back and before you send the message delete the parts that don't apply. Text Replacements work across almost all apps although some third party apps don't support them and in some places they are not supported like in password fields. Some apps like Pages even have their own set of text replacements that you could find in Pages Preferences. But I prefer to use them in System Preferences so I could use them across different apps like Mail, Pages, Messages, and so on. If you've used Text Replacements before in a creative way that I didn't mention here let me know in the Comments below.Related Subjects: System Preferences (87 videos) Related Video Tutorials: 10 Creative Ways To Use Text Transitions In Keynote ― 2 Ways To Quickly Switch Between Light And Dark Mode On Your Mac ― Create Reusable Text With Text Clippings ― 4 Ways To Type Fractions On a Mac Comments: 26 Responses to “10 Ways To Use Text Replacements On Your Mac” john Clark 9 months ago I worked in a major health care provider and used an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. It had a great feature similar to Apple’s text replacement. It was used for the physician notes. The user could type a shortcut and then an expanded standard note would appear. That note could be a sentence or multiple paragraphs. Each user had their own customizable library of shortcut/text replacements. To prevent accidental replacement the user would be taught to start their shortcut with a “.” john Clark 9 months ago If a person has multiple Apple products and synch’s on iCloud the text replacements will work across all their devices. Tony Rosner 9 months ago Hi Gary Can I synchronise Text replacement across the cloud? Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Tony: Yes. It does this automatically. Try it. See https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/back-up-and-share-text-replacements-on-mac-mchl2a7bd795/mac bruce stasiuk 9 months ago When I enter (c) the copyright symbol doesn’t come up Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago bruce: Do you see that as one of your Text Replacements in the list? Are you pressing a space after it? Which app? Sherry 9 months ago Are you able to make the font a different color? Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Sherry: No, this works on pure text and not styles, fonts or other text attributes. Riley Willcox 9 months ago Is there a way to prevent a space being added to the end of the pasted text? Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Riley: What’s the use case? Normally there would be some sort of character separating the replacement and what you type next. I think punctuation works too. Alan Oliver 9 months ago When I enter the text replacement into an email or pages document it appears as Uppercase and not as it appears in the Keyboard Window. Is there a setting somewhere that causes this. Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Alan: I can’t imagine what would cause that. It isn’t uppercase when you type letters normally? Does it happen with all text replacements? Try to make some new ones and see. Tim A. 9 months ago Saw this elsewhere and have adopted it: use a “!” as a lead character for the text abbreviation. John Stires 9 months ago Often times (a growing trend) a space after an email is not accepted in the window requesting it, occasionally accompanied with a phrase stating “not a correct email format”, etc. The only way to prevent the space (I’ve found) is to click on the suggestion instead of hitting the space bar. “teh”=”the” happens so frequently I’ve forgotten it’s there. Great subject! Julie Wasmus 9 months ago When I used a PC, there was a ‘snipit’ tool which allowed me to copy any part of a screen and the after pasting it, I could draw on it, circling important notes, write on it etc. Is there any think for Mac that will do this? I like the clipboards, but am looking for one that I can also edit. Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Julie: You can do that natively on a Mac. The built-in screenshot function can be set to take it right to the clipboard, or it can go to the markup tool so you can add things. See https://macmost.com/the-complete-guide-to-taking-screenshots-on-a-mac.html Marilyn 9 months ago Is there a way to “find-replace”? For example, if I have a list of people’s addresses and some say Box, some P.O.Box, and some say POBox, is there a way to find the offending ones (one at a time, of course) and replace with the standard designation that I want to use? Thanks. Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Marilyn: See https://macmost.com/using-find-and-replace-in-textedit-and-other-apps.html Gerry t. 9 months ago What’s the problem with being offered an unwanted text replacement? It’s only inserted if you use the space key immediately, and if there’s an imminent clash just reject the offer. Like, if i don’t reject the offered “trigger” word, cd, and insert a space (a tacit acceptance) i get my replacement, ⌘. There’s much overlap between a good ( more flexible ) clipboard manager and the much quicker Text Replacement,imho. Text/symbol replacement is even more valuable on iPhone, Gerry t. 9 months ago What’s the problem with being offered an unwanted text replacement? Gary’s example of a form-letter could have been triggered by the word “the”; to accept the replacement he hits the space bar, to write “them” he simply continues typing, to write “the” he rejects the replacement offer then hits the space bar, and “the” is written. If I want “azalea” that’s what i type, a +z +space gets me . To write cd I must choose to reject the replacement ⌘. A good clipboard manager will do it more slowly. Lance 9 months ago Gary: Excellent post(s), lots of good ideas. I’m adding test replacement to my Mac. Not sure why but when I use this feature with my Mac mail program it works in the To: section and Subject: section but not in the general text area. Am I doing something wrong? Again, great info each week, thanks. Gary Rosenzweig 9 months ago Lance: Not sure why it isn’t working for you there. Are you remembering to hit space or return after typing the phrase? Teodor 8 months ago Is there a way to replace letters within words as i type? For example when i type “1@teodor” i need to replace @ (as i am typing) to $, so the result would be “1$teodor”. Also if i type “123123@” to be “123123$”. Not sure if you can understand what i am saying… Gary Rosenzweig 8 months ago Teodor: I don’t understand. Why not type $ if you want a $? Jesse the K 8 months ago Text replacements are even better on iPad, where typing is more challenging. I use double commas as my unusual prefix, since the comma key appears on default iPad keyboard without shifting. For example: ,,b Expands to <strong> </strong> I use this on my old-fashioned blog that requires HTML. The replacement has a space so it’s easier to move the cursor in to type my bold word. Roddy 7 months ago I have the exact same issue as Lance. I have to select the checkmarks in Mail’s menu: Edit>Substitutions and make sure “Text Replacement” is checked. You just can’t get the “preview bubble” when you type, but it does enter it once you press the spacebar or return key. As stated, the Subject line does behave normally. Every other app on my iMac previews the replacement text before committing it, as well. I did reach out to an Apple Advisor today and they confirmed it is an issue. Comments Closed.