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5 Ways to Use TextExpander to Save Time and Be More Efficient

5 Ways to Use TextExpander to Save Time and Be More Efficient


Is there anything that you find yourself typing out regularly?

TextExpander (Mac*) can help! Here’s what it promises:

“Save time and effort with TextExpander! Whether it’s a simple email signature or several paragraphs of a standard response, you’ll love how easy it is to use TextExpander to avoid typing the same thing over and over.”

How does TextExpander work?

  1. You create a snippet – any text that you regularly type out. I’ve included some examples below.
  2. You create a trigger a keyboard shortcut. Again, I’ve included some examples below. This can be anything you like.
  3. Your snippet expands when you type the trigger – in your email, Evernote, Asana – or whatever application you’re using.

I’ve been using TextExpander for years. It’s $34.95, but in my opinion, is worth every dollar.

Here are 5 ways you can use TextExpander.

1. Create snippets for often-used words and phrases

I am often typing out ‘BASECAMP’ and ‘Katoomba Easter Convention‘ – 2 events I am organising this year. With TextExpander I can automate this process. Instead of typing out each word in full, I simply type:

  • bc – which expands automatically to BASECAMP, and
  • kec – which expands automatically to ‘Katoomba Easter Convention’.

Given how often I am typing these out, it’s a real time saver.

You could set this up for your church or ministry. For example: instead of typing out ‘Church of Christ Rockwood City’, you could have these words expand when you type ‘ccrc’.

2. Create snippets for answers to commonly asked questions

You could do the same with commonly asked questions.

For example, if people often email you to ask for the church’s bank account details so they can give, you could set up a trigger called ‘bankd’ (for example) – so that whenever you type ‘bankd’, this information expands.

For example:

Dear [NAME]

Thank you for you desire to give electronically to our church. Below are the details for electronic giving:

Account Name: XXX

Account Number: XXX


Please let me know if you have any questions.

All available just by typing ‘bankd’ – or whatever you set up the trigger to be!

Imagine the time you would save in no longer needing to look up this information every time someone asks!

Don’t type out the same emails over and over. Save time and energy with TextExpander!

This could even be used for responding to emails about service times!

3. Create snippets for frequently sent emails

This is a huge time saver. Have a think about the relatively standardised emails you regularly send. Perhaps:

  • Asking people to confirm their availability for rosters,
  • Welcoming a newcomer to church,
  • Thanking someone for serving,
  • Sending an email of acknowledgement (e.g. their donation has been received).

Whatever your role, there will be emails that you send more than once, and TextExpander can streamline this for you. You can create snippets for each of these scenarios, that will open up your pro forma response, allowing you to add the extra details and send.

Here’s an example for thanking a donor:


Using TextExpander doesn’t mean you need to send a robotic response – you can personalise it however you like each time. But, having a foundation to start from is much more efficient than starting from scratch for each email.

4. Automate your meeting preparation

You can create a snippet in TextExpander that can be used when scheduling a meeting. Here’s a great example from SimplicityBliss:


5. Streamline meeting notes

David Sparks has a useful post that’s worth checking out – ‘Taking better meeting notes with TextExpander‘. SimplicityBliss goes into even more detail.

This is a great way to set up and use a regular template for your meetings. For example:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Attendees
  • Discussion
  • Actions

The applications of TextExpander are limited only by your imagination. If you use a Mac, I encourage you to download the free trial and give it a go.

Once you’ve got the basics under control, you need to check out the fill-in feature. It takes the time-saving to a whole new level! Here’s a video explaining how this works.

* I’m not familiar with Windows alternatives, but if you’re a Windows user, here’s some alternatives to consider.

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  1. cafedave

    January 20, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    When I’m using my macbook to live-tweet at a conference, I use textexpander with the trigger ## to include the hashtag of the current conference. Makes life a bit easier, as it tends to be in every tweet!

    (You might need to turn that one off if you’re doing headings in Markdown).

  2. Greg Dietrich

    January 21, 2015 at 2:40 am

    I’ve also been using TextExpander for a while. I love that is syncs through Dropbox. I don’t know how far my stats go back, but I’ve expanded 2,687 snippets, saving 950,000 characters, which has saved me over 45 hours of typing. Those are crazy numbers to me!

  3. Steven Kryger

    January 22, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Good to hear from you Greg – I love that it tells you how much time you’ve saved!

  4. Steven Kryger

    January 22, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    That’s a great example Dave, thanks for sharing! Hadn’t thought of using it like that before, but again, a great time-saver.

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