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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 53: Reduce Repetitive Typing with TextExpander for Mac

Level Medium

Platform Mac OS X

Cost $34.95

In the same vein as Hack 51, “Command Your Mac from the Keyboard,” Mac users can save thousands of keystrokes daily using the text-substitution application TextExpander. Everyone has phrases, information, or misspellings they type every day. With the TextExpander typing utility, you can automatically replace abbreviations such as imo with the phrase in my opinion or end email messages with two characters — say, bt, which magically turn into Best, Tom. Here’s how.

Configure TextExpander Snippets

Start using TextExpander Snippets by following these instructions:

1. Download TextExpander (available at http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/) and install it on your Mac. An individual license costs $34.95, but you can try TextExpander for free.

2. In System Preferences, launch the TextExpander pane, which is listed under Other. Here you can set up a set of text snippets, or abbreviations, that TextExpander replaces with text you define.

Adding New Snippets

To create a new expanding snippet, perform the following:

1. Click the plus sign on the bottom left of the TextExpander panel and choose New Snippet (or simply press Cmd+N).

2. On the right side of the panel, enter the expanded content — by the way, in this example — and at the bottom of the panel, in the Abbreviation field, type the snippet btw, as shown in Figure 6-11.

Your expanded content can be formatted as text and pictures ...

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