TextExpander

Fri Aug 28 13:39:41 2009 EST (-0500 GMT)

I’m a big fan of TextExpander. I’ve been using it since before it was purchased by Smile on My Mac Software and was called Textpander.

The basic concept is that you can type short key-commands on your Apple, like “ddate” which is automatically replaced with something like Friday; August 28, 2009. In that case saving 18 key-strokes and some thinking, but in other cases it can save thousands of words if you work with a lot boilerplate or things like code samples – another snippet I user a lot is my “hhtml” key-command that inserts a basic HTML web page, including a comment with the date. I also have a “llorem” key-command that gives be a bunch of lorem ipsum paragraphs.

It’s a great way to save time with boilerplate, pre-fill things, or even allow it to auto correct thoes typos that you make all teh time.
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I know in my job I get the same question from different people very often and TextExapnder allows me to both offer myself as a contact for questions that range from the obvious to the very complex, but not be worn out by a monotony of remedial questions. TextExapander lets me respond quickly and move on to the real puzzles that I enjoy answering.

I resisted paying for the (previously about ten dollars more, now) $14.98 copy of TextExpander. What convinced me was the ability to subscribe to groups of snippets. I subscribe to Smile on My Mac’s typos group and I’ve also created my own group I maintain here. This keeps my Apple computers in sync, and recently, my iPhone!

The main reason I made this post was to alert you about TextExpander touch, the iPod Touch/iPhone version of TextExapnder. You can use all those same key-commands to compose messages in TextExapnder touch’s compose app and then copy it into your mail message, tweet, Facebook, etc. That’s relatively useful, but what makes it worth the $1.99 is the ability to subscribe to groups. So if you export your groups and post them on the web like I do TextExapnder touch you can take advantage of your full-sized keyboard and pre-compose some of the things you might not want to touch type on your iPod Touch/iPhone.

If you’re interested, here’s an example of TextExapnder at work:


Update Wednesday September 29, 2010: Turns out Phraseexpress at www.phraseexpress.com/ can import TextExpander snippets as is.

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