I’m an old Mac user so I figure my life has only so many point and clicks left before my analog power supply runs out. That means I need to be as efficient as possible on the keyboard.
You never know when that big red light will come on for good and the human warranty ends. One of my favorite tools of productivity is the keystroke saver. A couple of keyboard clicks gets me a sentence, or a paragraph, or something I usually type over and over.
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The Mac has plenty of keyboard shortcut apps and I’ve tried them all and use a few. The problem I have with keyboard shortcut apps is the same problem I have with speed dial—remembering the keyboard shortcuts.
Maybe I could use an app that remembers the shortcuts.
My favorite keyboard shortcut app is TextExpander and it doesn’t just do shortcuts—it drops long strings of text in an instant. Sentences. Paragraphs. Snippets. Code. Signatures.
Any text that you type over and over again is a candidate to be dropped into TextExpander. You control all the snippets of text from a Preference Pane.
You create a snippets library of frequently used text. Then assign a keystroke combo, an abbreviation, to insert the snippet into your text as you type.
Think about how much time you could save. Instead of typing in addresses, phone or fax numbers, or lines of code, or any kind of repeating text, just enter a keystroke and TextExpander expands and inserts the text.
You set the whole thing up in the preference pane.
TextExpander comes with a couple of unexpected additions. The first is auto correcting. Set up a few common typos as triggers, and when TextExpander sees the typo, it auto expands what you type to the correct spelling.
There’s also a built-in HTML and CSS snippet group for web page designers.
Thousands of keystrokes can be reduced to a simple abbreviation, and you control the abbreviation which makes it easier to remember. TextExpander snippets can contain fully formatted text and images.
Your snippets library can be organized in groups and synced between Macs user MobileMe or Dropbox.
Geeky Mac users will like the ability to use different code templates per editor, and the capability to invoke specific shell scripts or AppleScripts at any time. TextExpander isn’t a keyboard shortcut in the traditional sense—type the keys and something happens. It expands text. Type an abbreviation keystroke and the snippet attached to the abbreviation expands.
This app is perfect for any Mac user who types the same things again and again and wants an easy way to save time and effort (and reduce spelling errors). I see value in TextExpander for writers, customer service representatives, programmers, and any Mac user who knows time is money and typing the same thing again and again won’t extend your life.