life without textexpander…oh the horror!

July 2, 2009

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.

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