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Type an em-dash on an iPhone

Typography and punctuation geeks rejoice! It's easy to type an em-dash on the iPhone's or iPod touch's virtual keyboard. To do so, tap the .?123 key to switch to the numeric keypad. Then touch and hold on the Hyphen key to reveal a pop-up strip showing an em-dash. Slide to the em-dash and release your finger.

Note that this basic trick works with many other keys on the virtual keyboard.

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TextExpander 4.0

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Smile has released TextExpander 4.0, a major update to its typing shortcut utility with several new features for automating longer texts such as form letters. Aside from new features, however, the new release is also notable for the fact that Smile won’t be releasing this latest version of TextExpander via the Mac App Store due to Apple’s sandboxing requirements (which, in this case, would prevent TextExpander from working inside other apps, which is its raison d’etre). TextExpander 4.0 is available only from the Smile Web site for $34.95 new and $15 for an upgrade from a previous version (though you can get a free upgrade if you purchased TextExpander after 15 January 2012). Additionally, TextExpander 4.0 now requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and later (version 3.4.2 remains available in the Mac App Store for 10.6 Snow Leopard users).

As for new features, the release adds new “fill-in-the-blank” snippet options that enable you to create a template that can be personalized with names and dates as well as custom links or HTML tags with variable attributes. It also offers fill-in capabilities for multi-line text fields, pop-up menus for multiple choices, and optional text blocks that can be triggered as needed. For those new to TextExpander, the app now includes a Snippet Creation Assistant that provides step-by-step guidance on creating new snippets, and the interface has been tweaked to create fill-in snippets via a pop-up menu. Other enhancements include default values for text fields and pop-up menus, snippet expansion when filling out a text field, and the addition of French and German AutoCorrect snippet groups. ($34.95 new with a 20-percent discount for TidBITS members, $15 upgrade (free for purchases after 15 January 2012), 8.5 MB, release notes)

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

Put more effort into creative thought and less into repetitive typing with TextExpander 4, the award-winning text expansion utility from Smile. Whether you want to type faster or you already use TextExpander but want to harness its power more fully, let author Michael Cohen help you save time and lead you to typing nirvana.

 

New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as "Tx" for "TextExpander". With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <http://smle.us/tetouch3-tb>
 

Comments about TextExpander 4.0
(Comments are closed.)

Michael Scriven   An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-06-26 09:33
I've been using Typinator for years, but trying to upgrade it, I lost the huge file of my abbreviations. Since Text Expander keeps this as a separate file, I thought I'd switch, but have found no guide to starting up, and so wasted the money and went back to reconstructing Typinator, which does have the best user support in the software business, in my experience.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-06-26 09:49
Well, there is a full book about it: "Take Control of TextExpander." And a number of videos:

http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/screencast/

I can't say anything bad about Ergonis (since they're great folks too), but the people at Smile are also top notch.