Top text-expansion apps and tools
- TextExpander for OS X
- PhraseExpress for Windows
- TextExpander for iOS (will probably have great integration with iOS 8) or Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts
- PhraseExpress for Android
- Text Expander for Chrome
- Drafts for iPhone or Drafts for iPad
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 > Daniel@DJosephDesign.com
- Feedback information
- Mailing address
- Web addresses: tap.url > https://theaudacitytopodcast.com/
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.
- 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
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 bit.ly or j.mp 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
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.
- 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
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 Noodle.mx Network websites
- Character-encode URLs—change stuff like spaces to
%20and 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
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!
Need personalized podcasting help?
Ask your questions or share your feedback
- Comment on the shownotes
- Leave a voicemail at (903) 231-2221
- Email feedback@TheAudacitytoPodcast.com (audio files welcome)
Connect with me
- Subscribe to The Audacity to Podcast on Apple Podcasts or on Android.
- Join the Facebook Page and watch live podcasting Q&A on Mondays at 2pm (ET)
- Subscribe on YouTube for video reviews, Q&A, and more
- Follow @theDanielJLewis
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.