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Do More While Typing Less with “Take Control of TextExpander”

Typing the same things repeatedly — directions, instructions, URLs, or requests for information — in email messages or other documents is, as George Harrison in “A Hard Day’s Night” memorably put it, “A drag. A well-known drag.” However, there is a way to avoid this physical and mental repetitive stress: TextExpander from Smile. No news there, but what is new is Michael E. Cohen’s “Take Control of TextExpander,” a $10 companion ebook for TextExpander that both explains the many things the software can do and shows you how to do them.

Michael begins by explaining the basics: how you can use TextExpander 3 in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to create text “snippets” (such as your mailing address) that can be inserted into text in nearly any application by typing a short abbreviation (for example, addd). Then, once you’re comfortable with TextExpander’s basic controls and options, Michael describes TextExpander’s sophisticated options for creating, inserting, and working with snippets, including how to use them on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with Smile’s TextExpander touch app.

For example, you’ll learn how to do the following:

  • Include the clipboard contents in a TextExpander snippet expansion.
  • Place the insertion point where you want it after a snippet expands.
  • Make a TextExpander abbreviation that expands into a fill-in form.
  • Work with formatted text and pictures in snippets.
  • Create snippets that do date and time math.
  • Share snippets among multiple Macs using MobileMe or Dropbox.
  • Download and use special snippet groups created by Smile and others to insert special characters, auto-correct misspelled text, insert HTML and CSS tags, and more.

Even experienced TextExpander users will learn about features they may have forgotten or overlooked, such as:

  • Syncing snippets to the TextExpander touch app on your iOS device.
  • Finding seldom used TextExpander snippets quickly.
  • Disabling and re-enabling TextExpander with a keystroke.
  • Making snippets adapt their capitalization based on context.
  • Modifying an existing snippet and creating new ones on the fly.
  • Making snippets that contain other snippets.
  • Constructing snippets that run AppleScripts and Unix commands.

The book was created in partnership with Smile, the company that makes TextExpander, enabling Michael to receive quick answers to his technical questions and to get insider insight into typical questions asked by TextExpander users.

Although we’ve used text expansion software in simple ways for years, working on this ebook has helped everyone involved with the project learn to type more efficiently, thanks to expansions of editing comments, book titles, URLs, and more. If you routinely tap out the same chunks of text, whether short names or longer stretches of content, we think you’ll be delighted with how much TextExpander can help you speed up your writing and how “Take Control of TextExpander” can help you make the most of TextExpander.


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Comments about Do More While Typing Less with “Take Control of TextExpander”
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Spell Catcher X has been doing this type of thing, and more, since System 7. Why all the hoopla for TextExpander?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-06-04 14:19
It's not that TextExpander is the only program to do text expansion, or even the first program to do it, just that it does a good job of the task and provides a lot of interface niceties and subtle features that make it extremely useful. For instance, being able to make a snippet from the selection, or from the clipboard contents, and to be able to edit the last used snippet quickly, and things like that...