As a writer, I love to write. I love to take individual words and put them together into something that someone wants to read. But I hate typing the same thing over and over again. You probably recognize this.
But if you don’t, let me ask you: how many times did you write your email address in the last 7 days? And how many times your phone number? Last question: how many times did you write anything like ‘Kind regards, [yourname]‘?
Alright. Good to have that settled. You are probably wondering to yourself already if there isn’t a better way to do this. And there actually is: TextExpander.
TextExpander: Type without Typing
TextExpander is a Mac application (Windows: TypePilot) which enables you to type strings of words or sentences with just a few letters and a keystroke. What it does is create snippets (shortcuts) for longer pieces of text. According to their website:
TextExpander saves you countless keystrokes with customized abbreviations for your frequently-used text strings and images.
Awesome? Most definitely.
You can create your own abbreviations for words and add them to TextExpander. For instance, if you have an email signature, just save that signature as ‘kr/’ and you will only type ‘kr/’ instead of ‘Kind regards, [Yourname]‘ from now on!
Creating such a snippet is really easy. When you have the app running, you can just select a piece of text and create a snippet from this selection. With a couple of clicks this should be done, so the moment you have the app running you can start automating your text flow more and more.
Some Great Abbreviations
To get you started, here are a few good text snippets to start with. Note that these are my abbreviations, so if you wish to adopt them, you should create them yourself!
- tve/ = Thanks for your email.
- kr/ = Kind regards, Stefan Knapen. I have this one with multiple email signatures, as I run a couple of other websites.
- lit/ = http://www.lostintechnology.com
- phone/ = [phone number]
- em/ = email address
- addr/ = street address
- coffee/ = I would love to drink coffee with you sometime. If I may be so free to suggest a place, I love [Coffee restaurant], which you can find over here: [Google Maps link]
You can create all kinds of things. I have a lot of snippets for longer words and for sentences I write more often. For instance, if somebody sends in a request for a guest post, I can easily respond with ‘guestpost/’.
Be creative! Think of things you fill in multiple times (credit card number) or of things you are saying more often (I had a great time yesterday).
Couple of Neat Tricks
- Try the trial version. I actually never bought the license, I am still in trial. Somehow it still works (after two months!).
- Create a shortcut to create snippets. In this way, you don’t have to do this with your mouse all the time. I just select the text, hit alt+ctrl+s, and I can create a snippet.
- Use TextExpander to memorize things. I cannot remember all my account names for every website I am on, so I just have snippets like ‘loginnamesite/’ and it will paste my login name!
If you want to save time, this is something to check out! Share the best snippets you come up with in the comments so we can learn from you!