There’s nothing like spending a week to learn a new Mac app just so I can shave one minute off a project.
That’s what we Mac users do. We’re advancing the art of productivity and efficiency and we’re doing it a dozen different ways. One of those must-have apps on my Mac is one that’s been around a few years. It types for me what I’m too lazy or too smart to type myself.
Speed Up Your Typing Speed
All too often we type the same thing over and over again. The same salutation or signature. The same phrases get used again and again. Coders write the same code over and again.
Wouldn’t it be great if your Mac knew what you really wanted to type and did so when asked?
That’s what TextExpander does. It’s a power user wannabe app that can make you and your Mac powerful, productive, and efficient.
Think of an app that fills out a phrase, sentence, even a paragraph when it recognizes what you want when you enter a few unique keystrokes. That’s TextExpander.
Start off by creating simple snippets of text and assigning each to an abbreviation. When you’re typing along and hit the abbreviation, TextExpander fills in the assigned text automatically. That speeds up your typing.
Considering all the work that’s going on behind the scenes, TextExpander can be set up in minutes. The Toolbar is mostly self explanatory. Create a new snippet, add the abbreviation, and you’re done.
Snippets can be stored in groups (folders) making them easy to find when you need to edit or change an abbreviation. Likewise, Preferences are straightforward and can be customized to match your needs.
My preferences include a little background sound when text expands, but another useful option is to have TextExpander use the clipboard to insert the snippet of text.
TextExpander comes with a bunch of built-in text snippets to use. It even fills in forms with name, address, email, and phone numbers.
After awhile, your personalized snippet library becomes a library of value. It’s a good way to eliminate common typos (Mac OS X Lion has a similar feature built-in, but it’s not customizable).
TextExpander can be synced Mac to Mac using MobileMe or Dropbox. It even drops in completely formatted text and images.
What’s wrong with TextExpander? Not much. It’s the kind of app that pays for itself the first month you use it. The only thing I’ve run into that’s negative is my own inability to remember which abbreviations or hotkeys I’ve assigned to what text string. There’s a limit to how many abbreviations and hotkey assignments I can remember.