How to use a text-expander for faster podcasting


A text-expander lets you type a few characters and then expands out to full text. Here are ten ways to use TextExpander for OS X or PhraseExpress for Windows to podcast faster.

Top text-expansion apps and tools

  1. TextExpander for OS X
  2. PhraseExpress for Windows
  3. TextExpander for iOS (will probably have great integration with iOS 8) or Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts
  4. PhraseExpress for Android
  5. Text Expander for Chrome
  6. Drafts for iPhone or Drafts for iPad

Click here to get my favorite TextExpander snippets

1. Addresses

You may not have a problem remembering some addresses and typing them may be second nature. But text-expansion can save keystrokes and enter the address much faster.

  • Email addresses: d@djd >
  • Feedback information
  • Mailing address
  • Web addresses: tap.url >

2. “Canned” messages

Whenever you need to say the same thing more than once, it would make for a great text-expansion snippet. These can include more customization, like using a person's name throughout the message.

  • Tweets
  • Form letters (including an email subject line)
  • Email replies
  • Common responses
  • Email signatures
  • Personal bio or podcast “about”

3. Special characters

Some special characters are just a Shift-key away, but others are more complicated. Some are completely impossible to type on certain platforms.

  • En (–) and em (—) dashes
  • Legal symbols (©, ®, and ™)
  • Multiply/dimension (×)—usually impossible to type anywhere
  • Backtick (`) or tilde (~)—especially useful on mobile devices

4. Dynamic information

Text-expansion can commonly take existing, dynamic information and enter it for you.

  • Current date in any format
  • Current time in any format
  • Date/time math (adding or subtracting an amount of time from current)
  • Clipboard contents

5. URL-processing

Besides plainly pasting URLs or even allowing you to partially populate a URL, text-expansion can sometimes do cool things with your URLs, depending on the tool.

  • Shortened links—such as converting something to a or short URL
  • Affiliate URL conversion—like taking an existing Amazon affiliate URL and inserting it with your affiliate code
  • Google Analytics campaign tracking—add all of the “utm_…” parameters to a URL, and include or exclude optional parameters

6. HTML ot CSS

HTML doesn't have to be for advanced users! Text-expansion can save you from having to look up or remember HTML.

  • HTML tag wrap—easily wrap your clipboard text with an HTML tag for bold, italics, a hyperlink, div, or more
  • SEO-friendly hyperlinks—a smart, HTML link to your site with all of the right stuff set for a good SEO backlink
  • Browser-prefixed CSS—imagine only have to type “border-radius” once and automatically filling in all of the other prefixes!
  • Banner code

7. Form-filling

Most desktop text-expansion tools let you include keystrokes, like a tab. This can make it quick to fill in a form. But your results may very, because not all forms are tabbed alike.

  • Address
  • Podcast information
  • Not passwords—most text-expansion tools can't or won't fill-in secure password fields

8. Preformatted text and images

Text-expansion isn't limited to plain text! You can often use rich-text formatting and more!

  • Show notes template
  • Signature image
  • Podcast cover art
  • Pre-hyperlinked text
  • Lists

9. Advanced tasks and operations

Again, this doesn't have to be limited to advanced users. Sometimes, you just need to find someone else who did what you need and use their snippet!

  • Terminal/SSH commands—I can never remember the proper syntax for certain SSH commands on my servers, but I don't have to with text-expansion!
  • Shell, AppleScript, and other programming scripts—some text-expanders can incorporate programming languages, which make your possibilities almost limitless
  • Open webpage in another browser
  • Open multiple webpages at a time—I use this for changing the same plugin on all eleven of my Network websites
  • Character-encode URLs—change stuff like spaces to %20 and other encodings for proper URLs

10. Any other text

Go crazy! Anything you can type can be abbreviated with a text-expander and then quickly inserted whenever or wherever you need it.

  • Abbreviations—instead of typing, “BTW,” you could make it change to “By the way,” and then look like you're less lazy than the rest of us.
  • Slow to type names or places
  • Repeated phrases—I actually have “WTHDL” expand to “What the Huey, Dewey, and Louie”
  • Common misspellings
  • WordPress shortcodes

Click here to get my favorite TextExpander snippets

Quick tips for any text-expander

Regardless of what tool you use, here are some things to make it easier for you.

  • Look for anything you have to type more than a couple times. Turn it into an expansion snippet the next time you type it.
  • Make patterns to keep similar snippets together and memorable. For example, all abbreviations for The Audacity to Podcast start with “tap” and then something unique and understandable, like “tapurl” or “tapitunes.”
  • Avoid capitalization or special characters. Anything that requires a key-combination, or isn't easily available on your touch keyboard will just slow you down. I'm converting all of my abbreviations like “tap.url” to “tapurl” because the period isn't accessible on iOS.
  • Like new habit designed to help you, give it at least a month of legitimately trying to use it, even if it initially slows you down.
  • Download my favorite TextExpander snippets that you can adapt and use for your podcast!


  • Episode 200 is coming up and will feature a hard-questions interview with John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire. Send the direct questions you would like me to ask!
  • The National Podcast Day website just launched. Help the world learn about podcasts and celebrate on September 30!

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This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.
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Erik Marshall
8 years ago

Excellent advice! I use Phrase Express, but nowhere near as comprehensively as this. Time to expand.

Terry Jachimiak
8 years ago

These are wonderful tips. I’m going to look at using them in the future. I currently run 2 podcasts and a youtube site, and this would speed up my workflow immensely.

Steve Wilkinson • cgWerks

Thanks Daniel! I’ve been using it on iOS, but your podcast finally convinced me it’s time to use it on the Mac as well to do a lot more. Thanks so much for the discount and very generous examples.

8 years ago

Daniel — Great content in this episode! You’ve inspired me to try text expansion in my daily activities and I look forward to adding it to and easing the work flow of producing my podcast!

I’ll be trying the Chrome browser extension – Text Expander.

8 years ago

I just got finished listening to this episode and I really enjoyed it.I do believe that PhraseExpress also offers up a free version for personal use on the PC.

Ben Avery
Ben Avery
8 years ago

So I listened to this episode of TAP, and then found myself typing S.H.I.E.L.D. a whole bunch of times for Welcome to Level Seven and, well, decided this would a good use of my time and money. 🙂 Thanks!

Ben Avery
Ben Avery
8 years ago

Right now, I’m doing like you said. I’m keeping it open and ready for those things that I come across that need expanding.

Ben Avery
Ben Avery
8 years ago

One drawback for TextExpander — apparently, if you use Safari, anytime you put in a password it disables TextExpander until the Safari app gets closed. That’s a bit frustrating. Have you had this problem?

Scott Couchman
Scott Couchman
8 years ago

Downloaded PhraseExpress and am trying it now. I’ve used AutoHotKey for many, many years, and while it is extremely powerful, it is also incredibly manual. It has kind of evolved into a full blown scripting language. I don’t have the time to program anymore, so hoping PhraseExpress will be more useful.

On a side note, do you know of any good Macro-ing software that will essentially “text expand” mouse clicks too? Example, an add on program I use adds a bunch of junk to a PowerPoint slide every time I save from it. I have to click the four elements that it adds in the slide and delete them every time I make a change (so Click, Delete, Click, Delete, etc). If I could hit Alt.d or something and it auto clicks the items and deletes them, it would save me insane amounts of time.

Scott Couchman
Scott Couchman
8 years ago

Looks like PhraseExpress will do mouse-ing and other macro type things. The more I look at it today, the more it does remind me of AutoHotKey with a more user friendly front end. 🙂 Thanks Daniel!


[…] Listen to my previous episode about the power of text-expansion for more tips. I’ll also be sharing some of my special, advanced TextExpander snippets inside Podcasters’ Society. […]


[…] Listen to my previous episode about the power of text-expansion for more tips. I’ll also be sharing some of my special, advanced TextExpander snippets inside Podcasters’ Society. […]


[…] Listen to my previous episode about the power of text-expansion for more tips. I’ll also be sharing some of my special, advanced TextExpander snippets inside Podcasters’ Society. […]

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