8/2/229:00 am Using Editing Substitutions On a Mac In the Edit menu under Substitutions you can control some automatic behavior that happens when you type on your Mac, such as two dashes being replaced by a long dash or quotes converting to curly quotes automatically. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let's take a look at editing substitutions on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So you may have noticed that sometimes when typing on your Mac some text you type is automatically replaced with different characters. For instance here in TextEdit if I were to type two dashes - -like that and then wait or press space notice how it converts to a longer em dash -- instead. Or if I type the quote " you can see how it converts to curly quotes like that. These are called Substitutions. You can find the controls for them in the Edit Menu in almost any app where you type text. So here under Edit, Substitutions we can see the various type of substitutions that TextEdit uses. The list here will change depending upon which app you're using. So let's start here in TextEdit. First you've got Smart Dashes which we saw in action when we typed two dashes and it converted it to an em dash. We also saw Smart Quotes. If we were to turn one of these Off it would no longer work. So I can type two dashes and wait or space and you can see it remains as two dashes. If we turn Off Smart Quotes we can type quote and you can see it remains straight up and down quote. You can still add curly quotes, by the way, if you want. The keys for that on the U.S. keyboard is Option and then the left square bracket and then Option Shift and the left square bracket. There are some other things here. For instance, let's turn On Smart Links. So now when we type something that looks like a URL we can see it changes it to a clickable URL. If we use Data Detectors then whenever we type something that looks like a phone number, an address, or date we'll get this Data Detector if we move over it. You can see how it is outlined there. I can click there and then it will bring up the contact or I can call. For an address I can click here and it will bring up the map location. For a date I can click here and it will allow me to add a new event. These are some examples of Data Detectors. It's not really changing the text here at all. It's kind of a different type of substitution. It almost can be separate from the rest of this. Now you may also notice that sometimes when you type something it's replaced by something else entirely. For instance if I were to type something and then parentheses © like that notice that it automatically changes to a copyright symbol. That's a Replacement. It actually comes from a list in System Preferences under Keyboard, Text. You can see these text replacements and you can add your own. I've done many videos on this in the past. Here's that one that replaces parentheses c with the copyright symbol ©. You can see some other ones here and, of course, add your own. If I were to go to Edit, Substitutions and turn Off Text Replacement that would no longer happen. Now what about this one? Substitutions, Smart Copy & Paste. So with that On if you were to Copy, say a word, and then paste it here notice how it automatically added a space between thing and another. If I Undo you'll see there was no space there. If I were to put it right before a word and Paste you can see it automatically adds a space there as well. Automatically adding those spaces is what is called Smart Copy Paste. If I turn that off you can see it doesn't do that. Now in TextEdit and may other apps if you go to Substitutions there is something called Show Substitutions.That will actually bring up a little window that has all these substitutions there and you can use checkboxes to control them instead of through the menu. In addition sometimes there are more options. For instance Smart Quotes you can choose the type of quotes. So here, for instance, I've got double quotes that are curved and single quotes. But I can change that to another style for another language for both double and single quotes. I could also turn these all On or Off. I can go right to System Preferences to the replacements here if I want and I have a Replace All and Replace in Selection. So let's say I have turned Off Text Replacement and Smart Dashes. I'll do two dashes there and I'll do a copyright symbol and it didn't convert them. Well, if I turn these back On and Select I can do Replace in Selection and you can see it will go back and look at all this text and add these substitutions in. Now there are ways to stop substitutions without having to change preferences. For instance, you can just Undo. I'll do two dashes here and space. You could see it changes to the em dash. But if I do Command Z to Undo it will undo that and have that selected. So now I can just use the Arrow Key, the right arrow key to go forward, and then I can type something and it won't change this back. The same thing here with a replacement like that. An Undo will give me back what I originally types and then I can continue on. Now let's take a look at some other apps because the menu is going to be different for other apps. There will be other options. Let's go into Notes for instance. In Notes, if you go under Edit, Substitutions we'll find some of the same ones and some new ones. You can see here that Smart List and Smart Tags are an option. So what is a Smart List? Well when you see that and you have that option you can do something like a bullet, I'm going to use Option 8 for a bullet, and type something like that. It's going to assume I want a List. So when I hit Return it changes the formatting of that line to a list and allows me to continue on another line. But I didn't have to remember that Option and 8 were the bullet. I could actually use Shift 8 for an asterisk and it will automatically convert that, you see, to a list like that. Other characters work as well. A dash and then type and you can see how it automatically made that into a list. Also, numbers. 1 and then a period and then you could see now it is a numbered list. Now for Smart Tags you may already be using these. If I do a hashtag and then I type a tag name, you could see it automatically converts it to a tag and adds it here. But if I were to turn that Off you can see that it will no longer do that. I can still create a tag there by Control clicking it, two-finger click on a trackpad, right click on a mouse and Convert to Tag. If you find you need to use hashtags, maybe mention hashtags from another system or you just like to use this for other purposes, then you may want to turn that Off knowing you can still create tags. Also notice that sometimes things don't always work perfectly. There is a lot of inconsistency between apps. For instance here in Notes I can make sure that Smart Copy & Paste is On. But if I Copy this word and then Paste it, notice it didn't add an extra space and it won't do that before. So it seems that doesn't work very well in Notes. If we look in the Mail App, when you're composing a new message, you'll find Substitutions here as well and you'll find a shorter list of them. In Safari when you're filling out a form you can use these as well and you could see the standard ones there. Notice how the settings here are per app. So if you find Smart Quotes is not useful in Safari, because you want to use straight quotes a lot of the time, you would have Off here but it would still be on in other apps. If you go to Pages and look at Substitutions you'll find some different ones here. There are Smart Quotes and Smart Dashes but you're also going to find Smart Web and Email Links. So it's going to include email in addition to regular URL's and also Smart Phone Number Links and you'll find one for Text Replacement here but it works a little different in Pages. So in Pages if I were to use something like the copyright substitution in there you can see it works. But Pages has its own set of Text Replacements. If I go into Preferences, Auto Correction, then I'll see down here Replacements just for Pages. So this is separate and you could see there's the copyright symbol there and there are a few others. If we look in System Preferences and Keyboard Text we'll see these replacements here. So notice, for example, I have E7 is an email address. It's a custom one that I've added. So if I type E7 space you could see it replaces it with that from System Preferences. In Pages, Preferences that's not here. Now if I turn this Off, Symbol and Text Substitution, then I'll see that it is also Off here. But, the System one still works. It doesn't seem like you can turn them Off In Pages because the setting actually refers to Pages own text replacements. So one thing to look out for with those checkmarks in Edit, Substitutions is that they don't always work a 100% of the time. I've already shown you in Notes and in Pages two examples of where they don't work quite as you would expect. Also another odd thing is if you go into System Preferences and then Keyboard and back to Text here you'll find some other things here on the right. First you'll find Use Smart Quotes & Dashes.This is a universal setting that doesn't change how individual apps work. So you can assume that this only works in apps that don't have any Smart Quotes & Dashes set anywhere. Sometimes it is really hard to figure out if this does anything for an app that you are using. Always go with the Edit Menu first and use that to customize it instead of here. There's also really useful substitution right here that is not part of the Edit Menu in any app. Add a Period with a Double Space. So instead of typing a period just do Space Space and you can see it puts a period and space there. An ability to capitalize words automatically and correct spelling automatically they are also here but they may have settings in individual apps that override them. You would find those under Spelling & Grammar. You've got Correct Spelling automatically right here. So whether you've learned something here that you want to start using or this explains some previous behavior that now you want to shut off I hope you found this useful. Thanks for watching. Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 2 Responses to “Using Editing Substitutions On a Mac” Jasper 2 years ago I use a System Preferences substitution to fill my email address in, which adds a space after the email address. This causes some web sites (not Macmost.com) to think that it’s not an email address. You need to manually delete the space. So it’s like the Smart Copy/Paste behaviour in an app, but it happens universally. Is there a way to stop that happening? Seems odd that it works that way because you could add the space in System Preferences if you did want it there. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Jasper: Why use text replacements for this at all? Just use Safari AutoFill to put in your email address. That's what it is for. I suppose a text replacement would come in handy for poorly-designed sites that don't work with AutoFill though. In those cases, just remember to remove that last space. Comments Closed.