Last week I read an article about Mac software that saves time and helps you make money. Right. Uh huh. Sure.
Photoshop design gurus already know that. Ditto for Excel users. That is software that can save time and make money. What about the rest of us?
On the list of time saving and money making software was a Mac utility from a company called SmileOnMyMac. Oh? Them? I have a couple of their utilities already, specifically PageSender and DiscLabel. Decent software, but money making? Please.
The software in question is a nifty utility recently purchased and updated by SmileOnMyMac. It’s called TextExpander. Trying saying that real fast five times. TextExpander is a somewhat unique macro-like utility.
Macros have been around on Macs and PCs for a long, long time. Basically a macro utility records a bunch of keystrokes, like a lengthy address, or a full paragraph, and dumps the whole thing into your text with just a couple of short keystrokes. If you remember RoseSoft and their macro utility for DOS then you’re my age. I feel for you.
Anyway, let’s say you have a boilerplate paragraph that needs to go at the bottom of every document you create.
Hit the right key strokes and TextExpander dumps all the text into your document instantly.
Yes, Virginia, that saves time, and time is money, therefore… you see where that’s going, right? Well, TextExpander does that but not in the typical macro-recording way.
TextExpander contains a library of text snippets which you can edit and add to, then assign specific keyboard shortcuts to make them work. Hit the right keyboard shortcut and all the text assigned to that snippet shows up in your document. Trust me, that saves time.
TextExpander can be used to fill out forms, insert code into documents, auto insert the current date and time, set up and insert different email signatures, specific paragraphs, and any text that gets used over and over. Each snippet is assign a keyboard stroke combo.
But that’s not all. One of the things I like about the Mac’s built-in dictionary is that it highlights misspellings. That little squiggly red line under a misspelled word is handy. Except it doesn’t save time or make money (remember, time is money).
When you misspell a word you’re still required to stop, back up, spell the word correctly or look it up in the dictionary for the correct spelling (which is one of the larger paradoxes of life—if you don’t know how to spell it, how can you look it up?).
Wouldn’t it be nice if your Mac had an auto correct function that automatically corrected such misspellings, notified you (just in case you really wanted the word misspelled or need to modify the word for some reason), and counted how much time it saved your bottom from the humiliation of a misspelled word?
Yes, a thousand times yes. Well, TextExpander comes with an Auto Correct Snippet file of over 100 common misspellings. TextExpander lets you set up and run multiple snippet groups so you can customize them for your needs. It’s .Mac sync capable, and can even handle HTML and AppleScript snippets for the nerdy reader.
Like DefaultFolder, another of my favorite behind-the-scenes Mac utilities, TextExpander just sits in the background and quietly does the job of correcting, speeding up text inserts, and, when I want to know, it’ll tell me how many snippets have been expanded, how many characters have been saved (what TextExpander did vs. what I would have had to type myself), and how many hours have been saved at 400 characters per minute.
It adds up. TextExpander pays for itself, saves time, and since time is money, probably makes money for many Mac users.