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TextExpander

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TextExpander is an incredibly useful utility, especially if you prefer to keep your hands on the keyboard and leave the mouse alone. It works by watching your keystrokes and taking action whenever you type a code you’ve set up. For example, I type xmmlink in a text editor and the letters are instantly converted to <a href=”http://murphymac.com”>Murphy Mac</a>.

It works across applications, so you don’t need to set up your codes over and over. TextExpander takes stuff I’ve been doing the easy way and makes it easier.  You can use TextExpander to drop a long path into Terminal, to create tinyurls, or even to run Applescripts.  TextExpander can assign text “snippets” or Applescripts or even pictures to a code, which you define.

TextExpander will convert your code as soon as you type it, unless you prefer to use a delimiter like the tab key or the space bar.  The utility is always watching as you type, so even if you’re in iTunes and enter xomm (x open murphy mac) you’ll be whisked away to the Murphy Mac site in whatever browser you prefer.  Assuming you’ve set a definition for xomm in TextExpander to run an Applescript.  You can also set hotkeys to disable TextExpander if it’s getting in your way.

Coming up with a good code system might be half the fun.  Devise a sound naming strategy and TextExpander shouldn’t get in your way under most circumstances.  The examples I used above start with x.  Some users might use z or q – letters found in few actual words – so the chances of invoking TextExpander by accident are smaller.

The screencast shows some basic examples of what you can do with TextExpander.  I’ll post again soon and show some of the tricky stuff, like creating short URLs and entering date offsets with simple codes.

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3 comments to “TextExpander”

  1. Interesting topic and screencast. Looking forward to more Applescript tips with TextExpander.

    Thanks

  2. Great to have you back with screencasts!

    And I also like the new layout.

  3. I use TextExpander at least 50 times every day. It is an incredibly helpful tool and works without your involvement once you have it set up. Looking forward to how I can use ApplesScript with it.

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