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)