life without textexpander…oh the horror!

July 2, 2009 | 11 Comments

Last week, my TextExpander preferences got wiped out. (If you’re not sure what TextExpander is, hang on…you’re going to find out.) I think I can blame MobileMe sync. The good news is that Time Machine came to the rescue. The bad news is that I was on a trip and I had to live without TextExpander for about four days. It was awful..awful, I say.

TextExpander is a handy little program that let’s you assign abbreviations to longer pieces of text. When you type the abbreviation, no matter what program you are in, it expands it out to the longer text.

The first time I saw TextExpander, it looked pretty doggone neat. But I couldn’t bring myself to spend $30 on it. I was so naive. Somewhere along the way, I got it at a discount — like the one at the bottom of this post! But after being reminded of what life without TextExpander was like, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $30 on it now. (I say that only as a happy customer — I wasn’t asked to make that statement and I’m receiving nothing in return.)

As a celebration of recovering my TextExpander preferences, I thought I’d share my favorite uses for TextExpander with you:

  • Email address: For one reason or another, I have to type my email address every day. A simple snippet like ‘eemail’ means that I can make sure I type it accurately and quickly everytime.
  • Email signatures: I have a few different email signatures I use, depending on the context of the email. Each has a 5-6 letter snippet that will drop in my name and other appropriate information like an email address or URL.
  • Amazon links: That Amazon associates program has helped provide a number of books for my library…and a few diapers for our changing table as well. All I need to do is copy the ASIN from an Amazon product, and then type a snippet, and as associates link is dropped in place in my blog post, email, etc.
  • TinyURL: TextExpander can also activate an AppleScript. With the snippet describe here, I can copy a long URL and have TextExpander automatically convert it to a TinyURL for me.
  • Footnotes/References: I don’t need this one so much anymore, but it was fantastic when writing papers in grad school. Because TextExpander can remember text styles, I had a default format for footnotes or reference pages with appropriate punctuation, etc. I could just type ffoot and it would drop the format in. I just then needed to place the author, title, etc in the appropriate place.

I have a number of others, but these are the snippets I’ve found most useful. For other TextExpander users out there, how have you put it to use?

If you are interested in purchasing TextExpander, here’s a coupon code you can use for 20% off a single license or family pack: CREATE0709. The code is good through the entire month of July. (And a special thanks to SmileOnMyMac who agreed to make this offer available after I told them I was going to run this post.)

Update: SmileOnMyMac also directed me to this post on their blog that shows how to sync TextExpander preferences using DropBox instead of MobileMe. Beautiful.

  • looks awesome. going to give it a try. thanks for the info

  • JackM

    Thanks….I just bought the software today. The coupon code worked and provided the $8.99 discount. I will have a beer today in your honor (a good one too!).

  • I can relate. On those rare occasions TextExpander goes down on me, I panic. It is also good for little snippets of html and code.

  • Thanks a bunch. I had heard about TextExpander, but never got around to trying it out.

    Have downloaded it and am simply loving it. Will use the coupon code that you and SmileOnMyMac have kindly made available.

  • I moved my textexpander file to dropbox…too important to my workflow to trust anything else!

  • Dude. You’re awesome. Every time I am interested in something I wander through a Google Search and wind up here. (Twyla, Shovebox, and now TextExpander)

    Thanks for being wicked awesome.

  • Love it, just used your code to register a family plan.

    …Lately I’ve been wishing I had TextExpander on my iPhone!

  • Warren

    Thanks for the code, for doing this for us.. love it!

  • Lamike

    Great article; agree with everything you say.

    A comment about TextExpander and MobileMe.
    I don’t enable MobileMe. Instead, I use DropBox. See my comment on SmileOnMyMac site to blog post about TextExpander & DropBox about way to do it via a symbolic link. Credit to this goes to Don McAllister, publisher of ScreenCastsOnLine.

  • John

    Thanks for the comment and the tip. Smile On My Mac sent me that same link after my blog post and I switched to DropBox sync. Works great.

  • Can you copy functioning links w/ TextExpander? I’d love to use it for email signatures, but I can’t figure out how to write/code it so that it copies the visible text and the embedded link. (I use Thunderbird to send html formatted emails, so I’m used to having a simple looking signature, but with links to my various web sites hidden.)