Smile On My Mac is well known for their TextExpander application for Mac OS X, and now they've brought some of that same snippet expanding magic to the iPhone and iPod touch. The app may not be quite as full featured as it's Mac-based brother, but it's still a handy utility that's sure to save you many keystrokes, or maybe thumb taps.
TextExpander touch is designed to do one job: watch for specific abbreviations and expand them into full words or phrases -- also known as snippets. It includes a list of pre-made snippets, and you can add your own by coming up with unique combinations of letters, numbers and punctuation and then linking them to words or phrases that you use on a regular basis.
TextExpander touch snippets
Adding new snippets is an easy task since the application interface is straight forward and simple to use. Once a snippet has been added, it appears in the Snippets list where it can be selected and copied, or send directly to TextExpander touch-aware applications.
Users of the Mac OS X version of TextExpander can synchronize their Desktop snippet libraries with their iPhone and iPod touch. That makes it much easier to build bigger snippet groups without having to rely on their handheld's on screen keyboard. Changes you make to your snippets on your iPhone or iPod touch sync back to your Mac, too.
You can also share snippet groups with other TextExpander touch users over local Wi-Fi networks, which is a quick way to get new snippets from your friends or push commonly used phrases to coworkers.
TextExpander touch lets you share snippets over local networks.
The downside to TextExpander touch is that it needs to be the active application before you can take advantage of your Snippets. That's a limitation imposed by Apple thanks to a ban on applications running in the background.
Smile On My Mac is a step ahead of the game, however, and released an SDK so other iPhone app developers can build TextExpander support into their products. Once that happens, typing TextExpander touch shortcuts in supported applications will automatically enter the associated word or phrase. Right now, users can select a snippet in TextExpander touch and send it to Mail, the clipboard, or Tweetie, Twitterific, Twitterlator Pro or Birdfeed.
The composer lets you write and copy messages.
The application also includes a text entry view that recognizes snippet abbreviations, so you can compose longer messages or notes, and send them directly to a new Mail message or copy them to the clipboard for use in other applications.
The Bottom Line
TextExpander touch is a great little app that can save you tons of typing time and cut down on errors for those things you seem to type over and over. Support in other iPhone and iPod touch applications may be limited right now, but once other developers start rolling support into their apps, it will become even more useful.
TextExpander touch is one of those few apps that earned a coveted spot on my iPhone home screen.