TextExpander, Communicate Smarter!

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Thanks to TextExpander for sponsoring BrettTerpstra.com this week!

FYI: I usually require that my advertisers write their own posts for these, but I’m going to break from the norm this week and write some of my own tricks into this sponsored post. I’m a huge fan of TextExpander and I’d use it every day even if Smile weren’t a sponsor of so many of the things I do.

TextExpander helps you communicate smarter, faster, and more consistently. These posts often mention the ways that TextExpander can help teams and businesses, but it’s just as amazing for personal use.

Anything you type (or copy and paste) all the time is something TextExpander could be saving you time on. For example, you probably type one or more of your own email addresses all the time, right? Add a snippet for each email address and assign shortcuts like @@ and @@@ to each one to instantly insert your address with just a couple of keystrokes. Trust me, it saves a ton of time, from filling in login screens to sharing your email in DMs.

While you’re at it, add a few for your various email signoffs and signatures. For example, I use -=1 to insert “- Brett” (my standard signoff). --= inserts a more business-like signature with my contact info. And variants like “-tx” inserts “Thanks! Brett,” and so on.2

You can even use built-in date tools to insert the current date, or the date in 3 days, or any version of it in any format you need in a snippet.

You can also use it to fill in longer text that you end up copy/pasting a lot:

  • directions
  • reference requests
  • proposals
  • answers to common questions you get

As a personal example, I use it every time I schedule a guest on Systematic to share show details and requirements via email, and again to insert a show notes outline in nvALT when I start recording, complete with fill-ins for episode number, guest name, sponsor info, and other variables.

Summon these snippets in any app on Mac, Windows, iPhone, and iPad using an abbreviation. Once you have a lot of snippets, you’ll appreciate tools like the hotkey search with shortcuts for inserting results, and friendly reminders when you type something you could have (should have) used an existing snippet for.

Personalize your responses using fill-in fields like “Dear [name]”. When you trigger the snippet, it will ask you to fill in the name, making each snippet flexible and personalized.

If you are in a group environment, you can power up your whole team by sharing snippets with everyone.

Check out some great examples on the TextExpander site for things like article frameworks for writers, cover letters and job applications for job-hunters, and how Smile themselves use TextExpander to improve customer support.

Visit TextExpander.com/podcast for 20% off your first year.

  1. TextExpander also lets you exclude applications from expansion, so when I’m working in Sublime or Xcode, -= remains an assignment operator :).

  2. Typing “-=⌃⌘D” has become so second nature that if I ever send you an email from someone else’s computer, it will likely end with “-=” instead of my name.