It is my pleasure to again welcome Smile back as this week's sponsor here at TMO. They've been making great software for over a decade now, and I don't suspect they'll stop that any time soon!
This week I get to talk about TextExpander, which makes this even better because it's something I use constantly. In fact, I'll probably use it in the crafting of this post to add a link or some formatting or somesuch. You see, TextExpander is a utility that runs in the background on your Mac, waiting for you to type an abbreviation you've previously defined. As soon as you do, it springs into action and replaces your abbreviation with whatever much longer text you've set. Since examples are the best way to grok this kind of thing, I'll include three of my favorites here:
- Email Signatures. I have ,sigtmo ,sigbbm and ,sigall defined to replace themselves with my full email signatures for The Mac Observer (TMO), BackBeat Media (BBM), and, well, one that combines both. Not only does it save me from typing all that extra stuff, it saves me from typos, too. I have most of my shortcuts start with a comma, as Smile recommends, because it's pretty rare that I'd otherwise type a comma followed by anything other than a space.
- Mailing Address. I am often asked for my mailing address from folks who send along stuff for us to evaluate and review. For this I've assigned ,dhadd to be my shortcut, and it pastes my address, complete with line breaks where I want them. I even have used TextExpander 4's fill-ins, which let me decide whether or not to add my phone number and, if so, decide which one (office or cell).
- Auto link formatting. When we record our Mac Geek Gab podcast, we regularly talk about products and services. When we do, we like to link to those in our shownotes so listeners can easily find them. Trouble is, we're doing this on-the-fly and (a) don't have time to manually build links and (b) don't want to screw up the HTML. This is a perfect job for TextExpander's auto-clipboard insertion. I simply copy the URL to my clipboard and type ,sn (short for 'show notes') — that invokes TextExpander to place the text I've put on my clipboard in the right spot inside the link and then pastes out the correctly-formatted link. It even auto-positions my cursor in the right spot for me to type the title. It's almost like magic, except I know it's not because I built the link myself. But I love it just the same as if it were magic.
I obviously make great use of TextExpander each and every day, and couldn't imagine using a Mac without it installed. The best part is that they have an iOS app, TextExpander touch, that works on the iPhone and iPad. It integrates with many different 3rd party apps, and you can even build text inside it to paste into other iOS apps that don't natively support it there. TextExpander Touch 2.0 even adds supporte for formatted text and fill-ins, making your iPhone and/or iPad even more feature-rich.
Do yourself a favor and check it out. Smile even offers a free trial download so you can convince yourself it's time to buy. And hey, do us a favor, too, and use the link here (or tell them where you heard about it). We and Smile appreciate that!