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Do Less Typing with “Take Control of TextExpander”

If you’re anything like us, you can think of what you want to say far more quickly than your fingers can tap it out on your keyboard. That’s doubly true in iOS. You undoubtedly know about Smile’s TextExpander, which helps to, for example, expand short abbreviations such as “tctext” into the properly formatted title of our latest book, Michael Cohen’s $10 “Take Control of TextExpander, Second Edition”. Type 6 characters, get 46, with no typos or finger fumbling. Even better, TextExpander can automatically fix common mistakes and misspellings, replacing “inclduing” with “including”, for instance, or correcting the capitalization of “Filemaker” to “FileMaker”.

(Hope you like our spiffy new Take Control Web site design — no more yellow! We’ll write more about the redesign shortly; we’re still tweaking little things and rooting out subtle bugs.)

This just-released second edition covers the new TextExpander 5 for the Mac, along with TextExpander touch 3 for iOS. It describes TextExpander’s options for creating, inserting, and working with these abbreviation/expansion snippets, including how to use them on an iPad or iPhone with TextExpander touch, which sports its own iOS keyboard that works in any app.

Although many people begin using TextExpander for just a few key text expansions, there’s no reason to stop there. Michael explains how to insert a variety of special items with a snippet, including graphics, formatted text, emoji, date and time math/macros, fill-in forms, other snippets, and clipboard contents. You’ll even find directions for setting up snippets that execute Unix commands and AppleScripts.

The book also explains these important TextExpander techniques:

  • Working with TextExpander from a menu or window, depending on your needs

  • Making snippets adapt their capitalization based on context

  • Quickly modifying an existing snippet

  • Syncing and sharing snippets via a variety of approaches

  • Using special, downloadable snippet groups that can insert special characters, autocorrect misspelled text, insert HTML and CSS codes, and more

And, you’ll learn about the features that are new to TextExpander 5:

  • Getting the Suggestions feature to help you create needed new snippets quickly
  • Invoking the nifty inline snippet search panel directly adjacent to your insertion point

  • Integrating JavaScript into TextExpander snippets

TextExpander has helped Tonya and me avoid typing about 750,000 characters (4–5 books’ worth!) over the past few years, a fact revealed by its Statistics window. TextExpander enables uses both mundane (insert your email address, or the current date) and creative (insert an email signature that includes your email address and company logo, and calculates the number of days remaining in your deadline), and even those that lean toward pranks (insert a picture of a wombat and tell iTunes to start playing “Tales of Girls, Boys, and Marsupials” by The Wombats). While we can’t condone any further gratuitous wombat references, we do hope that readers of this 117-page book will find many practical and enjoyable ways to use TextExpander.

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