Over five years of using TextExpander I’ve saved myself typing whooping 400,000 characters (a medium-size PhD dissertation). Yet, there are always new ways to use this amazing software. Here are three recent examples I’ve introduced into my workflows:
1. Names with accented characters
I work with people whose names contain accented characters (å, ö, č, etc.). I agree with this argument that correct spelling of names is very important, but disagree that Microsoft Word’s Autocorrect is the best solution. Neither do I want to change the Keyboard layout just for one character or to search for that character in Apple’s Character Viewer. Instead, I use TextExpander to automatically change “Hakan” to “Håkan”, “Jorn” to “Jörn” etc. Then I don’t need to lift my fingers from the keyboard to keep my colleagues pleased with seeing their names correctly spelled.
More so, the place I live in is called Bosjökloster and it is in town of Höör. Guess what my snippets [,,bos] and [,,hh] refer to! These two I use at least several times a week filling in various forms.
2. The URL of a publication
I have recently published an Open Access article and I want to spread the word. Unfortunately the URL for that article (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421514004960) is not so easy to remember. But I have a memorable Text Expander snippet generating this URL every time I type [,,4as] (the article is about the four As).
3. A standard OmniFocus task
When I receive an email with a flight booking I always create an OmniFocus task to check-in online the day before the trip. When I check in I need to have the booking number at hand. Here is my workflow for this.
- Select the booking number in the email message
- Press the OmniFocus’ clipping shortcut (e.g. ⌥⌘X)
- Type the TextExpander abbreviation for a checking-in reminder (e.g. ,,chk)
TextExpander the task a title and fills in the necessary OmniFocus information: project (“Travel“), context (“Desk:Mac“) and the relevant dates which it asks me to specify. (It also adds text @simple to the title of the task which I use in my OmniFocus perspectives to filter simple, medium and major tasks.). The check-in open date becomes the OmniFocus’ Defer until date and the flight date becomes the OmniFocus’ Due by date. I do not even need to specify the actual dates because OmniFocus would also understand “mon” (next Monday) or “+1w” (a week from today). Then it just to press ↩ and I have my OmniFocus task with a link to the original email enclosed as the note. Here is the snippet:
check-in online @simple %key:tab%Travel%key:tab%Desk:Mac%key:tab%% filltext:name=Check-in opens:default=15/1/1%%key:tab%%filltext:nam e=Flight date:default=15/1/1%
If you don’t use Apple Mail you can slightly modify this workflow. First, copy the booking code to the clipboard. Then press ^Space to start a new OmniFocus task, then fire the slightly different snippet below. It inserts the content of the Clipboard into the title of the task. The rest is the same.
Check-in online for %clipboard @simple %key:tab%Travel%key:tab%Des k:Mac%key:tab%%filltext:name=Check-in opens:default=15/1/1%%key:ta b%%filltext:name=Flight date:default=15/1/1%